Note to my (hopefully) new employer

I have been pretty amiss when it comes to writing lately. Besides a bit of laziness, one of the major reasons is because I’m job hunting; which can not only be time consuming but exhausting. In the midst of sending resumes and stalking job posts, I’ve been stressing about the interview process. I can be pretty shy so meeting and talking to strangers is always difficult. I always hoped that I could express myself to my employers in a different way, a more personal way than a resume or cover letter. Maybe a letter like:

Dear Future Employer,

My name is Stephanie and I read your recent job posting and knew instantly this job was for me. Trust me on this I’m awesome!

You’re Welcome,


Or a possible employer could stalk me on Facebook and see all my witty status’ and how skilled I am on Candy Crush. Either way the extreme stress I have about the interview process is dampening the job hunting experience for me (though is it every really positive  for anyone??)

I will do better with my blogging though! I already have some great ideas 😀 Wish me luck fellow bloggers!!


Fun Camp, Gabe Durham

Thinking of summer… 😀

Books, j'adore

There is definitely something distressing about reading a book about sleep-away camp in the dead of winter. The very quality of sunlight mocks the idea. Summer? Ha! There is no summer here, and it will be months before those dark, bitter mornings and soul-suckingly short afternoons begin to fade into the soft melody of spring. And yet Fun Camp is the book I chose halfway through January  – or as I like to call it, the longest month of the year.

What can I say? Amazon knows me too well. It’s like I’d already told it about all those summers I spent hundreds of miles from home, subsisting on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the care packages all the nice parents (mine included) sent. One year, of course, was bad (I believe it was just after seventh grade, but it may have been just after eighth – thankfully, all those…

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Carlton’s Magical Train: Saving Christmas

Image Carlton was getting worried. It was two days before what would have been Christmas and what usually was a lively town filled with holiday spirit was just barren and cold. Carlton wracked his brain the day Josie made him realize that no one knew what Christmas was; what could he have possibly done to have ruined the holidays. Many sleepless nights made him realize it must have been the train and he didn’t know how but he was going to fix it.

Which is why Carlton was staring at his train hours after his shift was over expecting it to do something.

“Come on” he muttered for the umpteenth time wondering if he was just losing his mind.

“I was wrong about Christmas. The holidays are special, I shouldn’t take them for granted. Please do something.” he shouted at the train but nothing. All the things that he complained about before, he missed now; the carolers, the wreaths. Carlton sighed. 

 “Hey Carlton, what are you still doing here?” Carlton’s boss, Neil Thompson said as he stepped out of his office.

“Nothing Neil, just about to head home.” Carlton was about to walk out when he heard Neil call his name.

“Carlton, while you’re still here, can you move your train to the yard? Sorry about the last minute notice but we’re getting some extra deliveries for the end of the month.” Neil said and threw Carlton the keys.

Carlton sighed as he climbed into the cab of his train, it wasn’t like he had anything else going on. Carlton slowly pulled the train into the yard thinking about past holiday seasons. Carlton lingered in the yard for a minute before jumping out of the cab and heading back to the station. It was as he was walking up to the platform that he noticed something, twinkling lights.

“What the..”

“Oh Carlton, come give me a hand” Carlton jumped as he noticed Doris Acer, his sweet senior citizen neighbor on a ladder near the station sign.

“Of course, but what are you doing?” Carlton said as held the ladder as Doris climbed down.

“Well, what do you think, silly? I have to put these decorations up for Christmas.”

“Christmas? You know about Christmas?!” Carlton exclaimed growing excited.

Doris looked at him strangely. “What do you mean ‘I know about Christmas’, are you feeling ok?”

Carlton laughed, he’s gotten used to people looking at him strangely, but somehow he did it; he got Christmas back. Carlton looked back at his train, he wondered what else his train could do?

Tis The Season…

When Thanksgiving came around I was finally able to give into my favorite part of the holidays (expect for the family and loved ones of course) Christmas music!! My car luckily has Sirius radio which means a 24/7 Christmas music channel. I’ve heard some great songs this year and decided to create a list of my Top Ten Christmas Songs. Disclaimer: I hate sad Christmas songs so I didn’t include any. Feel free to comment any songs you think I missed!

10. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus- Jackson 5

Though Jackson 5 has a great Christmas album, ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ is my favorite. It showcases a young, playful Michael earnestly getting his brothers to believe he saw their mother kissing Santa. If Michael’s voice isn’t enough the playful banter between brothers is pretty adorable and makes it a must-hear for me. 

9.Dominick the Donkey- Lou Monte
Though not exactly a traditional song, ‘Dominick the Donkey’ is a catchy tune about Santa’s Italian helper. It’s a fun song with ‘get stuck in your head’ type lyrics and great Italian phrases. It definitely makes you want to catch a sight of the famous Christmas donkey!
8. O Holy Night- Josh Groban
One of my favorite songs that I discovered this year was Josh Groban’s version of ‘ O Holy Night’. For those who enjoy the more traditional Christmas songs, this song is beautifully sung by Josh Groban.  
7. All I want for Christmas is You- Mariah Carey
No Christmas is complete until you hear Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’. Mariah’s classic is the perfect way to put you in the Christmas spirit. 
6. Oh Santa- Mariah Carey
Even better, in my opinion, than ‘All I Want for Christmas is You” is Mariah’s newer original song “Oh Santa”. Though not the best Christmas message, it’s upbeat tempo will definitely get you ready for Christmas with the one you love. 
5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside- Dean Martin
Of the gazillion versions of this song, I believe nothing tops Dean Martin. His smooth, silky voice makes this song made for him. There are tons of versions with different female counterparts and I haven’t heard a bad one yet! 
4. Celebrate Me Home- Kenny Loggins
This song wins the ‘Most Emotional’ award for me. Besides Kenny Loggins amazing vocals, the message of appreciating home and family and friends gets me every time. 
3. Christmas Time- Christina Aguilera and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays- N’SYNC
For the #3 song there’s a tie. I love these two songs for the same reason, nostalgia. The 90’s kid in me couldn’t have a list of favorite Christmas songs with out my two favorite musical acts as a kid, Christina Aguilera and N’SYNC. I remember getting their Christmas cds and falling in love with them all over again. ‘Christmas Time’ and “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays’ were my favorite songs on their Christmas cds. 
2. This Christmas- Donny Hathaway
This is another classic song that when it comes on it shouts “Christmas”. ‘This Christmas’ is the perfect example of how everyone wants their Christmas to be which I believe is what makes it so great. It’s the perfect song to get you out of a holiday slump if you find yourself in one. 
1. Step into Christmas- Elton John
My all time favorite Christmas song (though I am a little biased because I love Elton John) is ‘Step into Christmas’. I love everything about this song, his voice, the lyrics and the catchy tune. You can’t help but to sing along with him!
Those are some of my favorites. If you can think of any more let me know!

The Origins of Chicken Scratchh

I love a good origin story. From how the world was created to why we wear shoes it always fascinated me. I decided while I was still writing my next installment of ‘Carlton’s Magical Train’ I’ll write the origin story for how I started the blog ’Chicken Scratchh’.

My boyfriend is amazing and extremely supportive. It is his positive spirit that attracts me most about him. After a long day at work though I was feeling grumpy and stressed.

“Work sucks, lets run away.” I joked as I dropped my stuff to the table.

Carl laughs as he closes his laptop. “You’re not doing what you love baby. What about your writing?”

I groaned, though I was an English major in college when I left college I took the first job that was offered to me and my writing stopped.

” I just don’t have any time or energy to write anything.” I whined.

” You just need to put some umph in it. Here, “he said as he slid a notebook across the table. “Write down the first things that comes to mind. I’m making dinner.”

As he headed to the kitchen, I stared at the blank page. What did I have to say?

I wrote for two hours before Carl pushed a plate in front of me.

“You need energy. So let me see this.” He grabbed the notebook. “what is this chicken scratch you have here.”

I grinned. “Just some random thoughts”

“Well good, I like it. So what are you going to do with this now?” He said as he slid the notebook back to me.

“What do you mean what am I going to do now?” I said.

“Start a blog, share your thoughts. Who knows you could be the next big thing.” He said as grabbed the laptop.

“Do it now.”

“Alright, alright.” I said. “I guess I’m typing this chicken scratch down for the world to see.”

“Don’t forget the extra h, for that extra umph.” He said as he kissed my forehead. And my blog was born.

Carlton’s Magical Train

This is just a little story I have been working on. Let me know what you think 🙂

Carlton’s Magical Train

Carlton had the holiday blues. The snow was slushy and grey on the ground. The sound of carolers was making him twitch. There was no two words about it, Carlton hated the holidays. As Carlton trudged to the train he cringed as he noticed the townspeople starting to hang decorations. ‘I wish I was in a place where Christmas didn’t exist’ he murmured to himself.

Carlton, though grumpy about many things that morning, was not grumpy about his job. Carlton was a train operator for Port Bayonne and drove trains up the Richard-Valley line. Carlton loved his job and for the most part loved his town though during Christmas season they did go decoration crazy.

Carlton eventually got to his train and got ready for his first shift. As he started the train, he noticed a fog rolling in. As he headed to the Port Bayonne platform he noticed the fog was getting worse. By the time he reached the platform the fog was so thick that seeing through the window was almost impossible. Carlton jumped out of the cab on the platform to see if he could get a weather report from one of the locals. Carlton stopped short as he looked around. The platform didn’t look the one he had seen since the first of December. There was no wreaths hanging on the fence or garland hanging on the ‘Port Bayonne’ sign, no loud Christmas music blaring over the loud speakers. As he looked around he realized all signs of Christmas were gone. As he looked around in disbelief he noticed Josie DeAlmeida, the local baker coming up the platform stairs with multiple packages. December was the busiest season for Josie so he was shocked to see her.

“Hey Josie. Need some help?” Carlton said as he reached her and grabbed some of her packages. “Where are you off too? I’m surprised you left the bakery this late in December.”

Josie looked confused. “I shut down the bakery for the winter, Carlton. You know how dead it gets here during the winter. I’m going to my mom’s until February”

Carlton was shocked, “What about Christmas and the holiday rush?”

Josie looked at Carlton in concern, “Carlton, are you feeling ok? What’s Christmas?”  

Carlton stopped short and looked at Josie. She was dead serious, she didn’t know what Christmas was. It looked like Carlton got his wish, now what was he going to do about it.

To be continued…