Exciting Things!!

We all have dreams, right? I mean we dream about what we want to be when we grow up? Well, I'm still not 100% exactly sure what I want to be when I grow up because there are so many things I want to be... in addition to what I am. I am interested in so many things that I haven't been able to confidently say I definitely want to be a(n) xxx.  (No, that xxx doesn't stand for porn star, that is not on the list). I'm interested in cosmetology (obviously), education, real estate, nutrition, the list goes on and on.

There has been, however, one constant. Since I was just a kid until this very day. In fact, to this absolute second... I've wanted to be a writer. I remember writing stories as a kid and reading them to my parents. Actually, if I remember correctly I'd hand the stories over and have them read to themselves because I didn't like to read my own stuff to people nor see other people read it in front of me. Still don't. I would write pages long stories in composition notebooks, the marble kind with the really thick lines, all through elementary and middle school. I wrote a lot of poetry in high school along with my short stories. A couple pieces were published in the school magazine and I thought it was a really big deal. In college, I took a few writing classes and they were always my favorite. My creative writing class was by far my favorite class hands down. And I was a psychology major...

I love every aspect of putting words on paper (err computer screen). I love hearing them drift through my head as the day goes by and I plan the direction whatever I'm working on is going to take. I love the development of my characters and seeing the story progress and come alive in my mind - even for nonfiction. I love a fresh page staring at me, the little "blinky line" waiting in anticipation. I love the feeling of my fingers pressing the letter keys and the click-click sound as I type... I know some people who are easily annoyed by my clicking, but it's one of the most calming sounds in the world to me. It means I'm in my place and I'm doing "my thang." I just really enjoy it, regardless of whether it will ever "turn into something," I just love to write. When I got married and started this blog, it wasn't supposed to be a big deal. It was a way to keep in contact with people as well as my own release and catharsis dealing with all the change that was happening. Marrying into the military, moving, pregnancy - you name it. It was easy to find my little corner of the interwebs and click away. As I've said in the past, I never would have expected what happened to this little ol' blog. After Jonny's death I received an outpouring of love and support. My writing suddenly was noticed.  I no longer was writing for myself or my close family and the circle of friends I had created, I was writing for a vast audience. I was affecting people with my words. It was pretty surreal. Actually, it still is. It is a humbling experience to see that the one thing you really love to do is actually something people appreciate and even look forward to. It's awesome.

I've never really told many people but one of my many and biggest dreams is to write a novel and have it turned into a film. Doesn't have to be a best seller or make me millions of dollars (while that would be an added bonus), I just have always thought it would be so amazing to see someone's visual interpretation of writing I had created.

About a year ago, I was contacted by Lew Holder, a film student at Ohio State University. He told me he had read my piece on the Washington Post's blog series Impact of War and was incredibly touched by it. So touched, in fact, that he wanted to turn my words into film. He wanted to put visual representation to what I had written. I was completely blown away, and honestly I still am today while writing this for you all to see. Of all the accolades and praise I've received over the years, this one is pretty high up there. To know I've inspired someone so much by one simple post they want to base a film off it? Well... it's cray! (That's all I've got folks!) I'll admit I was a little hesitant, wondering what the catch was, as I've been approached here and there for some things that seemed a little shady and have turned them down. I was waiting for some kind of "but" to come. It never came. Lew proved to be a really genuine guy out to make something based on a story that had inspired him and that story happened to have been mine.

A year later, I received a package in the mail. Ariana was most excited about the Ohio State t-shirt in her size (I have a few friends who will love seeing us in our matching Buckeyes shirts!) but I was pretty elated at the signed script cover page that said Unheard Promises A Lew Holder Film Based on the Writings of Rachel Porto.

Based on the writings of Rachel Porto?! WHAAAT! That's pretty awesome for an aspiring author whose dream is to see her work turned into film. Holy. Bagoly.

Lew had attached a really nice letter and in it he had talked about researching and reading my work and how much he had put into the project. I'll tell you all a secret. I cried just reading the letter and the cover page of the screen play. No joke. It might seem minor to you, but to little ol' me... this was so awesome. I'm always blown away when people say I've inspired them, heck I'm pretty blown away just when people say they like my writing, so you can imagine this was a big deal for me.

I watched the movie and of course I cried. It's based off my work but the characters were created for the project. There was something about the "Jonny" character (who wasn't called Jonny) who reminded me so much of my Jonny... man. It was much better and so much cooler than I could have anticipated.

So enough jabbering by me, I really want to share this with you all. I asked Lew if he wouldn't mind me blogging about it, and obviously he was cool with it (duh) and he even uploaded it to YouTube, so you, my lovely readers, can have a peek as well. He didn't make it to compete in a festival, or sell... he just made it. You guys, that's so stinking awesome. I am so touched and blown away and just... gosh... humbled by this whole thing. It's been so amazing. So now that I know my mom has at least seen it (didn't want to put it up here before she got a look) I am ready to share with you.

I present to you, Unheard Promises A Lew Holder Film based on the Writings of Rachel Porto.


I'm not saying I'm a great writer or that I'll even "make it." What I am saying it Thank you. Thank you to all of you who read and enjoy/find inspiration/laugh/show up for the party. Thank you to everyone who has followed our journey and cheered us along. Thank you for allowing me to have an audience here at my tiny corner of a vast internet. Thank you for letting me be inspired to continue you. And thank you Lew, for being inspired, for creating such a cool project, for doing our story justice. Thank you.

Reality TV Reality Love

Ready for Love. Anyone still watch it? Yes, it was cancelled but it actually stayed available on Hulu, NBC.com and onDemand (at least on comcast, anyway).

The finale came on yesterday and of course I watched it today because I do thangs my own way, ya know.

And of course, as with any reality tv show where choices are made and someone wins, I definitely had my picks. And (yet again) of course, the way I go with winning (bets, lottery, bingo, guessing winners of reality shows...), I was wrong and my choices were not picked. I did have a feeling that Tim was going to pick Jenna from the beginning. But I loved Sara who was a wiancee (that's widow term for person whose fiance died) and I think I just had that connection with her and so badly wanted to see her so happy. I knew it'd be Jenna though. Ben was a bit more complicated. I thought sure Allie had it in the bag at the home visit, but Angela came through in the end. I liked both choices, there was just something about Allie that seemed so real. And Ernesto made his decision the episode before, romantically climbing up to Shandi and telling her she was the only one for him. I called that one too, the night he kissed her before anyone else. So I guess I didn't do too bad at the guessing part, it's just the ones I was rooting for that didn't get chosen.

Anyway, watching it I kept thinking things like, "Allie is so much better. You even said how she fit with you, Ben!" and "Jenna looks crazy-similar to your ex-wife Tim, don't you think you should go a different path?! Sara would love you so much!" and then it kind of hit me. The way stupid things like reality TV usually do... I'm not there. I'm not them. I don't know what their hearts, minds, or other deciding parts are telling them. I don't even know them.

I've gotten so mad at people for the same thing toward me. I shouldn't have started dating when I did. I should be dating more. The people I dated were wrong. My methods of grief were wrong. Etc. etc. and here I was putting input in on these strangers the same way. Granted, they couldn't hear me - the only one who could was King - but still. What is it about us humans who think we have a right to put our opinions in so often about others' lives? And how does one change from a critic to merely an observer? And from that, is observing enough? How would one choose between when to only observe and when to add input?

Yeah, all that came from a stinkin' reality tv show. Clearly I really let my mind wander when I'm vegging out late in the evening. But seriously, where and how, as humans, do we draw the line? Something to ponder.

I also wanted to take a moment to talk about Sara, even though she'll most likely never see this in her life. But hey, maybe - stranger things have happened. So Sara. Even for reality tv, that woman handled herself so gracefully and I was just so impressed. From the get go, she let Tim know that she had lost her fiance to cancer, and even though their losses were different (he is divorced from his first wife) that she could understand loss and opening up to love again. Throughout the show she talked about opening up and actually being, as the title of the show states, Ready for Love. I think that was just such an admirable step. She not only made herself vulnerable to another person (so frickin scary after such a big loss) but to the entire nation on television. Then tonight, she continued to tell Tim how she felt right before he was going to break up with her. When he finally let it out that he was choosing Jenna, the way Sara held herself... Wow. She hugged Tim and told him that basically she just wanted to see him happy and she was glad for him that he had found that. She said how she'd learned and grown through the experience and knew she was ready for love as well and that she knew she would find that one person to make her happy like Tim had (I'm paraphrasing, obvi). It was just so graceful and respectful and honorable... What a lady.

 It's difficult to love again after the death of a significant other. It's scary to think of losing them again, if not to death, then to break up. Making yourself vulnerable again is terrifying. I often think I am ready for love. I want to be with someone, to share my life with someone, but then I wonder if I really am ready. Can I handle being vulnerable again? Can I handle loss again? I tried it once, and obviously it didn't work out. It's not a situation I'm really comfortable getting into here as it's extremely personal. But I do wonder if I really did make myself vulnerable then or if I kept just enough walls up to keep from really getting hurt. In the world of dating after loss, how do we find the difference between companionship and love?

That is certainly something I'm going to have to search within myself for. How (and if) I can be ready for actual love again and not just companionship. And then it's something that will have to, obviously, be found within the other person.

All is not fair in love and war. But indeed, onward we march.

Semper Fi,
Mrs. P

On Child Rearing

It's no secret that parenting is hard. I mean, think of it; as a parent you are responsible for the actions of another human being. A whole different person with their own set of ideas and thoughts and worst of all - free will. There's no absolute control of this tiny person who is "yours." And the quote that you aren't raising a child you are raising an adult is pretty true, too. Sure, I'm teaching A to share her toys and wipe her boogies with a tissue instead of her sleeve but one day she's going to be a grown-up and how she is as a grown-up will be due largely in part to how I am as a parent. Sure, some of it's society, some genetics, some peers, some other family members... yadda yadda yadda. I'm the parent and let's be real - I get the blame if/when something goes awry. Now that is scary!

Single parenting, on top of all that, is even harder. I don't have anyone to share that blame with! I don't have someone to bounce ideas off or make decisions with, I have an extra set of hands when I ask for it but not another set that holds the same responsibility as mine as "parent," and my only companionship on many days is only that of a 3 year old. I get lonely, I get frustrated, I get really really stinkin' tired.

It's a tough gig. But in all my stressing and griping the last week or so (it's been a tough week and I've been out of sorts), I came to realize the other day that it's my gig. This is my job. And even though it's tough, I do love it. Parenting... it might be the scariest job. It might be the hardest job. That's all up for interpretation. But I'm going to tell you, it's definitely the most rewarding.

My little baby isn't so little anymore. She's got such a quirky personality and I'm telling you she's such an excellent combination of Jonathan and I. It astounds me how much she is like her dad without them having ever spent physical time together. She keeps me laughing and she keeps me learning.

inspiring creativity

When I was little, I thought my mom was magic. She knew when I was up to something without turning her head (are there eyes under her hair?!), she had the fix to every problem, and words that could settle my always turning stomach and anxiety ridden head. My dad could fix everything, whether it be something actually broken or a broken heart fixed with a hug. Magic I tell you, pure magic.

Now, as a parent. My child is magical. She learns. Each and every day she learns! It's amazing. We're working on letters and as we go through the grocery she points out the letters after having only discussed them that morning. She is filled with wonder and curiosity. As she swiftly approaches the "Why" stage of her life, I find myself having to dig into my creativity reserves to give her an answer and an explanation for everything. She loves the little things in life. Tonight's dinner was hamburgers, salad, and nut thins (crackers, kind of like wheat thins but made out of nuts - don't judge my hippie side!) It was honestly a simple dinner that I threw together because I hadn't made a meal plan for today. My daughter declared mid-bite, "This is the best dinner ever!" There was no fancy silverware, no hard to pronounce foods, no culinary skills required at all... and I'd created the best dinner ever. When she thanks me, she thanks me so whole-heartedly. She stops to look at the ants walking on the sidewalks, smell and pick the flowers, and feel and throw the freshly cut grass. The world is still new to her, still exciting. That, my friends, is pure magic.
who knew the sheer thrill of throwing rocks from the water back into the water?

So amidst my stressful days and my to-do lists, I saw my job for the first time. I am molding a person. It will be me who either encourages or squashes that wonder. It will be me who teaches her how to treat others. It will be me who is her biggest influence in how she carries herself. Therefore, I need to be the best person I can be so that she will be the best person she can be. That's heavy stuff, but so very awesome!

living room sheet tent. the relief from all of life's stressors.

Being a parent is pretty difficult single or with help. I have been lucky enough to have my parents' help so very much, especially since returning to Maryland. While they've been away I've been letting the stress get to me and I've been overwhelmed. Instead of being overwhelmed I should be enjoying this with her. For, it is through our own children that we get to relive our childhood years! We get to revisit the wonder and curiosity. We get to play at the arcade again, visit the zoo, play in the creeks, run in the grass. It's hard, it's stressful, it's scary and it is so rewarding. I can't ever let myself forget that.

the ticket counting machine is thrilling for every age

Enjoy your kids. Enjoy your friend's kids or your sister's kids or the neighbor's kids. They're pretty neat, and I bet you can learn a whole lot from them that you weren't even expecting!

Semper Fi,
Mrs P


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