13 years ago…

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

It was my first full week of seventh grade. I remember the night before my family and I were at my Grandparent’s house and I was sitting on the porch steps making up my mind to fake sick the following day because I didn’t have the correct calculator to use in math class and I was still a loner with no close friends.

My family did not have cable so I only could get a small amount of channels in my bedroom. I would always sleep with the television on because I was afraid of the dark and to this day – afraid of the silence.

I had the television set to channel three – NBC. I woke up earlier in the morning to make my announcement to my mother,

“I don’t feel well today. My stomach hurts. Can I stay home?”

I scurried back up the stairs and plopped back into my bed pretty excited that I did not have to go to that dreaded horrible place that day!

I have always been obsessed with The Today Show, so naturally that was what was on while I laid in bed. I ended up dozing back to sleep hearing Matt Lauer’s voice,

“We just got word that a plane has hit one of the twin towers.”

I was in between dreams but I could still hear Matt’s voice. I opened my eyes to see a building engulfed in smoke playing on my TV. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Was this a movie trailer? Or am I still sleeping? Being a naive 12-year-old, I honestly had no clue what I was truly witnessing. I kept watching and saw the second plane hit the other tower and then I heard my Mother yell.

She was on the phone with my Aunt. I quietly walked to the top of the stairs to listen to her conversation. I made sure I was quiet because I didn’t want my cover to be blown. I was not sick but I had told my Mother I was.

“I cannot believe they hit the second tower. This is terrorist Mary. It has to be. I can’t believe this is happening!”

Terrorist? What is that? I silently made my way back to my bed and my eyes were glued to the glowing light of death. The tone in my Mom’s voice scared me. Even though I couldn’t understand what was happening, I knew whatever just happened changed everything.

I tried changing the channel to see if any cartoons were on but I had no luck. The same two smokey buildings were embedded on every channel. I decided to muster up some courage and make my way down to my Mother.

She explained to me what was going on even though I still could not believe that this was actually happening. All that my small brain could think of was the fact that people decided to be selfish and kill themselves by taking over an aircraft and crash it into a building which in result would murder thousands of people which then led to my small brain thinking the following:

What if someone got fired that day?
What if someone got hired that day?
What if someone was late?
What if someone missed their flight?
What if someone gained an earlier flight?
What if someone had an appointment and said they would be late to work that day?

My brain went on and on and would not stop. I was trapped with these horrible thoughts. I was trapped, and then I witnessed humans jumping from the buildings. Which led me to think more horrible confusing thoughts.

“Oh my God! People are jumping!” My Mother said.

We got word from the news reporters that there was a plane that hit the Pentagon and then one landed in a field in Pennsylvania. My Mother kept deciding whether or not to go get my Father from work. He was working on a roof that day only minutes away.

My Mother loaded us in the car and we were on our way to tell my Father what was happening. She knew my brother and sister were safe at school and should be home in a little while. On our way to my father, we heard over the radio that one of the towers collapsed.

“Oh my God. We are going to be at war!” She said.

We finally made it to my Father who was listening to music while standing on a ladder. The sun was hot for an early September day and he was glowing with sweat. My Mother spilled everything that was going on to him, only yo find out he had no clue.

“War? We are going to war?!” I began to think. War defined in my 12-year-old mind was similar to the images of the Civil War. I absolutely had no clue what war would consist of in 2001.

My Mother and I made our way back home to witness the second tower collapsing. My brother and sister came home from school and my Father from work and we were all glued to the television that night.

I had my TV on that night and to this day, it makes me extremely uncomfortable to hear sirens because that is all that I heard that night on TV  – sirens of ambulances trying to rescue anyone they could find.

I find it fascinating that we as humans are capable to remember a day paired with tragedy than any other ordinary day. I will forever remember this day as it was yesterday. I will forever be that 12-year-old confused little girl who truly did not know the extent of what was truly happening in the world. That 12-year-old girl falling to sleep to sirens with hope they find people alive.

Today marks the 13th anniversary of that day. Even though, I did not lose anyone that day, or lived in the places where tragedy hit – I was affected. We all were affected.

We should never forget or erase what happened on that Tuesday morning. We should always remember and embrace it.

So, hold the ones you love close – always. Tell the ones you love that you love them – always and live your life like it could be your last- everyday.

Do you remember where you were 13 years ago today? Share with us your day in the comments below.

@Sararosewheeler

Things to remember this school year

Welcome back students!

Whether you are heading into your freshmen year of high school or college, you are in for quite an adventure.

First day of Kindergarten for little Sara Rose circa 1994.

I know some of you High School students are just itching to get out and get into the “real world” but slow down. Enjoy being in the moment and being able to just wake up every day and go to school then go outside (you should be outside) to play as you wait for your Mother to tell you that dinner is ready.

Trust me – the real world is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Right now, you have no bills, no real responsibility but to go to school to learn. I mean, you youths truly have the life.

If given the opportunity, if I had the chance to go back to school, (mostly High School) I would not. Perhaps maybe Elementary School because let me tell you, you invest in those naps and you don’t fight them. You will thank me later in life.

It might be scary to start a new school or make new friends but it’s all worth it. The transition to High School from Middle School was especially rough for me. I felt like even though I had the same friends, they grew up and we grew a part. I was alone (or so I felt alone) and bullying did take place. As some of you might have read a piece I wrote awhile ago called Tongue Juice.

Do not listen to those bullies. Honestly, the people who bullied me in school didn’t really end up doing much. Those people may be “cool” in Middle School and High School but give them a couple years and you’ll see. Some grow up and some stay exactly the same and you’ll move on to be more than you thought you were when you were 16-years-old.

First day of my Senior year. Class of 2007.

First day of my Senior year. Class of 2007.

Some more advice – do not give in to peer pressure. I never liked going to parties – yet I did. I also to this day am not a fan of drinking and very very rarely do. The party scene was never for me. Alcohol, was never for me. To this day I constantly hear this when I mention it to people:

“I don’t understand why you don’t like to drink.”
“How do you handle a bad day of work?”
“I still don’t get why you don’t drink.”
“Did something happened where you just don’t drink anymore?”
“You should just have a drink and go out. It will be fun.”
“What do you even do for fun?”

No. No. No and No. Thanks for all the advice but I am sticking to my guns. Also, why do people care so much about another persons way of life?

I moved to Albany to go to college two years ago and I would overhear these kids (I was 23 when I moved) say to one friend they don’t drink and it is not in their beliefs to do so then immediately switch to a completely different person when a different friend would ask them to go drinking that weekend, “Yeah! I am always up for a drink.” They would say only ten short minutes after they claimed they didn’t drink.

It is not going to ruin your life to say No to someone. If Melody asks you to go out and party and you don’t like to do that, then say NO! Melody is not going to ruin your life and if she decides not to be your friend afterwards then Melody was truly not your friend to begin with. You move on and life moves on.

Focus on school and learning. Grades do matter despite what people say. Yes some employers might not bother looking but Colleges do. I would love to go back to High School for one reason and one reason only – to do better than I did the first time around. To be proud of myself and realize that I am capable of getting better grades than the effort I put forth.

Reminders:
Enjoy school. You are only that age for a short time.
Forget bullies. You are better than they will every be.
Do you, and only you. Forget what Melody says or even thinks you should do or not do.
Do not give in to peer pressure.
Stay true to yourself.
Do not be afraid to stickup for yourself.
It is OK to make mistakes. You learn from them. You really do.
Live in the moment. You will be a ‘grown up’ sooner than you think.

Have an amazing school year and make incredible memories!

Anything special you are looking forward to do this school year?
Comment below and share with us your first day of school photos!

@Sararosewheeler

We have finished.

Telling True Stories

We have finished. I have been slacking (not really just really busy with the end of the semester on top of working for 10 hours) and here are the last two chapters of this book. I wanted to mix them together because narrative, what makes a good book/writing and getting a job go together. Without narrative, you do not have a good story – in my eyes.

First off – you do not want your book to be boring. As I preached all semester long. You do not want to see your readers faces to look like:

But more so as:

You want your writing to be as delicious as an ice cream sundae where they want to keep scooping for more.

Do not use “I.” You want to tell/show your narrative where you are not  in the story. Let’s not be selfish. There are plenty of more opportunities for you to talk about you in a later piece.

Focus on your subject and roll with it. Add, smells, scenes, details, sounds anything and everything you can think of to place the reader in that exact scene.

After you have completed your masterpiece – you now want to look for someone that will take you in resulting in money – also known as a job.

Honey Boo Boo knows what is up!

Create an amazing resume – no typos – and send it off.

STAND OUT! Be creative. Be daring. Take a chance, a leap of faith (don’t jump elsewhere) and roll with it. TAKE A RISK! You don’t want life filled with regrets because you sent in a boring black and white piece of paper you call your Resume’. With the fancy signature.

Let me know if you have gotten that job. You can thank me later.

This may be the end of the book, semester my college career but, my writing as just begun.

Dry those eyes, I will still be on here.

Hire me – My Resume

Sara Wheeler
15 Maplewood Ave.
Colonie, New York 12205
315-271-3233 | sararosewheeler@gmail.com |

Accomplished journalist and marketing professional with experience developing and implementing marketing on both traditional and digital platforms, looking for advancement in career. Adept at managing multiple projects while maintaining efficiency and a sense of humor. Up-to-date on evolving social media platforms and technologies.

EDUCATION

University at Albany – Albany, NY
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism – 2014

Herkimer Community College – Herkimer, NY
Associates of Science, Communication Arts New Media – 2011

EXPERIENCE

Administrative Assistant, Adirondack Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Albany, NY – May 2013 – August 2014

- Writer, designer of the company wide monthly newsletter
– Handles patient’s financial disclosures by calling insurance companies
– Trains new staff by creating Power Point presentations and word documents
– Handles any billing questions patients might have
– Greets and checks in patient’s to the practice
– Works on monthly and weekly reports in Excel

Freelance Online College Blogger, Times Union, Albany, NY – March 2014 – Present

- Writes about anything and everything for the college blog

Freelance Online Blogger, Townsquare Media, Marcy, NY – September 2014 – Present

- Writes about anything and everything for the Central, NY market

Senior Solutions Specialist, Best Buy, New Hartford/Albany, NY – July 2008 – May 2013

- Managed the New Hartford store’s Facebook page
– Managed the New Hartford store’s Twitter page
– Created flyers and posters for sales and mid-night releases
– Handled and solved customer service issues
– Coached employees with new and informative information about the company
– Handled admin duties, including front-end office work
– Managed employee sales information on Microsoft Excel to monitor sales proficiency to hold accountability to better the sales team
– Opened and closed the store

Social Media/Marketing Manager, Eberle Real Estate Experts, Latham, NY – August 2012 – May 2013

- Created an individual marketing campaign for each home
– Created flyers for flyer boxes and to be on display in homes
– Various administrative duties, including filing paperwork, preparing paperwork for buyers and sellers
– Managed all social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and WordPress
– Actively engaged customers and potential clients via different social media platforms

SKILLS

- Proficient in different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram
– Proficient in different Microsoft applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Publisher
– Proficient in basic HTML & CSS coding
– Proficient in different Adobe applications such as Photoshop and InDesign
– Works well in a group and independently
– Great communication skills
– Continuing my coding education on Code Academy
– Extremely organized

SELECTED ACHIEVEMENTS

- Create and maintain content on all social media platforms, blog and website
– Received a badge for basic HTML & CSS on Code Academy

REFERENCES – BY REQUEST

Don’t let Red Skull bully you.

Editing…

When you sit down to begin your novel and or begin your article, after one thousand words when your editor only asked you for five hundred, reality check – you need to cut some of it out. Not everything you wrote is interesting or will have a huge impact on the reader.

Bam! Edit!

Almost like when you do a Facebook purge. What is a Facebook purge you ask? I shall tell you!

Facebook purging is when you decide that that boy you thought was cute in high school who is now a weirdo and you have not spoken to him in about 8 years. You click the little trash can and or icon that says ‘delete friend’ then you simply repeat until everyone that has no purpose in your life is off your Facebook timeline.

Red Skull bad. Captain America greeaaat!

 

HINT: You should probably just delete your Facebook all together. Just throwing my two cents out there.

Anyways, I apologize. I do not remember how we got here. EDITING

Yes, back to editing. I always read my work out loud (lies, I SOMETIMES do.) that way I can see if something sounds clunky and or does not fit. I will also read over and go over a piece a million times (well, it seems like that much.) until I feel it is absolutely perfect.

There is no such thing as perfect. There is a such thing as making your writing stand out and at the correct length. Editing is so important to anything you write. That novel you just finished, I am sure that author cut out and put back in and cut out again a lot of parts to make his or her book just right.

Once you are satisfied, then you know. Then you completed the editing page and ready to hand in that paper!

Congrats! You finished 7 hours before it was due when you knew about it all semester! Cheers!

Oh PS: Regardless if you are writing a paper, novel and or professional email, please PLEASE never use abbreviations. Just spell words out please.

For example:

“OMG I will work on that disclosure. LMK if you ladies need any help!”

What the f did that person just say?
NO CLUE. SPELL WORDS OUT!

Ok bye.

 

I work for the reader, not the police

When someone tells you something personal…

     Then finish it with, “But please do not tell anyone!” Do you go and tell?
I never know exactly what to do. I even have thought about writing a post about a situation with a close friend – but is it ethical?

What would you do?

Here is her story…

Love – oh love. It is such a toxic thing. When two hearts collide – BAM – you are stepping in dangerous territory.

“Driving away from the wreck of the day and I’m thinking ’bout calling on Jesus. ‘Cause love doesn’t hurt so I know I’m not falling in love. I’m just falling to pieces.”

A pretty young girl. A handsome young guy.

“I got this bruise from a workout.” She said.

Weeks go by…

“I was playing around. I am such a klutz.” She would say.

Until her clumsiness gets too extreme.

With tears streaming down here face — she admits the cold hard truth we all suspect.

The one she loves — hits her.

I didn’t want to put beat because that sounds extremely harsh. Was that ethical of me?

She continues to tell her story which is powerful and I get to know more about her and she opens up to me.

Me — out of every one. Me.

Why?

Though this was a long while ago — I thought about writing about it for the public.

How can we help others that are in the same situation?

Would that be ethical? To put my own thoughts and opinions in a subject too close to me?

The back and forth continues.

Her voice should be heard.

He should pay more than the six months of jail time he received.

The question continues.

I work for the reader, not the police.

You can call me Al

Courtesy of http://ultimateclassicrock.com Chevy Chase

“A man walks down the street…

He says, “Why am I soft in the middle now? Why am I soft in the middle? The rest of my life is so hard. I need a photo-opportunity. I want a shot at redemption. Don’t want to end up a cartoon. In a cartoon graveyard.” Oh Paul Simon, I will call you Al.

Character development is important in anything you write and in this case sing. You want to describe your characters in your stories whether they are boring, fun, fat, thin, stupid, etc. Create a character and stick to it. For instance, Mr. Simon continues with his character,

“A man walks down the street. He says, Why am I short of attention? Got a short little span of attention and wo my nights are so long. Where’s my wife and family? What if I die here? Who’ll be my role-model? Now that my role-model is Gone Gone.  He ducked back down the alley with some roly-poly little bat-faced girl. All along along. There were incidents and accidents. There were hints and allegations…”

 

Make your character stand out. Make them noticeable. Make them memorable, or catchy in P- Simon’s case.

Courtesy of http://www.moyma.co.uk Looked how bummed Paul looks then look how ridiculous Chevy looks. Pure Gold.

 

If you don’t create intriguing characters, then, your story will be a bust. No one wants to read about something boring (as I stated in previous posts) people want to read about interesting things. Such as, a character who has multiple personalities and or has the ability to clone his or herself such as the Michael Keaton hit, ‘Multiplicity.’ Its every Doug for himself!

In conclusion, create and or shine the light on your characters. Don’t half ass your story with a boring character.

You are welcome.

Bonus:

And So Your Story Begins…

Here
is how the scenario usually plays out.

You are given an assignment months in advanced. “Oh no worries!” You say to yourself. “I will get this done way before it is due!”

Cue to the night before your assignment is due where all hell is breaking because your ‘clever’ little mind decided that busting out a seven page paper was indeed doable the night before it was due.

Spoiler alert – it is not.

I never understood why teachers always wanted us to write a first draft. Honesty, when they still tell me to do it, I usually will write it and never write another one again. Horrible. I am aware. However – I do see the reason behind doing it – to make your work better!

Love me some April from the television show Parks and Recreation

If you are like me – besides amazing – you are not a social butterfly nor do you like to talk to people slash initiate conversations. First drafts give you a reason to talk to your classmates and they will let you know if your paper sucks or not. Hey, that’s a mystery in itself.

I just realized I was going off topic. ANYWAYS, first drafts – yes – please do them. You only learn more about your writing if you continue to write. Even if it is the same paper over and over again. Practice makes perfect and honestly feedback is key. Don’t think you are perfect because news flash Susie – no one is perfect.

Annnnnd that was my blog on first drafts brought to you by the book ‘Telling True Stories‘ sold on a website near you!

Look At This Photograph…

Hi - I'm not a creepy mannequin!

Hi – I’m not a creepy mannequin!

Pictures say a thousand words. Or so they say…


Personally, I think photos capture memories. I will be completely honesty – I cannot remember what I did five hours ago so to have photos available do make recalling memories easier.


A lot of the photos I take are in the moment. Maybe they are of a lot of cats, dogs, animals, mind your business! However – I capture moments I personally would like to remember. Wouldn’t you?


Here are some of my photos I have captured over the years.
Brought to you by my Nikon D3000!











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