Women’s History Month Tour

1 May

In late March, 2016, I had a lovely tour of speaking gigs across upstate New York. I did 7 presentations at 5 campuses in 4 days and had the time of my life. I did my women’s empowerment workshop 3 times, did my creative writing workshop twice (once was totally spontaneous), debuted my invisible disabilities awareness presentation, and even custom-made a fun presentation to guest-teach a creative problem solving class.

2 Labrador Retrievers

First stop is dropping my dog off with the sitters. This is Alissa and Madison, who graciously care for my best friend when I adventure.


Lake Skaneateles, photographed by touring creative writing workshop presenter

Nearing my first destination, after a simple drive up from PA, I get my first glimpses of Lake Skaneateles, of the Finger Lakes, and stop at an overlook.


character development creative writing workshop

I settle into my hotel in Auburn, score a delicious Pop-Tart from the vending machine, and do some final tweaks to my creative writing workshop PowerPoint slides.


downtown Auburn New York, Finger Lakes region

The Pop-Tart was just an appetizer. I set out in quaint downtown Auburn in search for dinner.


community college creative writing workshop with guest teacher

Monday morning at Cayuga Community College – time for my creative writing workshop!


College speaker Christina Irene teaches a unique writing workshop

There I go looking all mighty and ready to teach.


Director of Student Activities at Cayuga Community College in Auburn gets a birthday surprise

Today is even more fun because his staff has a special birthday surprise for Director of Student Activities, Norm Lee.


Norm Lee's office filled wth balloons for his birthday

They did an amazing job with the surprise, and apparently Norm is hard to get one by. He’s so happy!


Norm Lee eats berry pie from Skaneateles Finger Lakes

Norm is an awesome guy. And he loves his birthday berry pie.


consent poster and inspirational phrases

And someone in the office has an awesome door with a great poster on consent and fabulous inspirational quotes and phrases. Had to get a pic of this.


creative writing presentation utilizing acting techniques

During my presentation, the creative writing professor popped in and mentioned how what I was teaching tied right into his current lessons. I said, “What time is your class?” And because my Tuesday speaking gig is in the evening, I’m able to spontaneously guest teach a Cayuga’s creative writing class Tuesday morning. Great fun!


downtown shops in Skaneateles, NY

I’m checked out of my hotel and have barely a half hour drive to my next gig, so I stick around near Auburn and spend the day in beautiful downtown Skaneateles.


Bluewater Grill Lake Skaneateles

For lunch, it’s back to the Bluewater Grill, literally *on* Lake Skaneateles. Norm introduced me to this fine place yesterday.


Skaneateles mansion

Skaneateles is filled with these beautiful mansions.


Skaneateles mansion

Here, have another.


Madman Across the Water

This is my favorite, first sighted across the water from my table with Norm at the Bluewater Grill. It makes me think of one of my favorite books, Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, which makes me think of one of my favorite songs, Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water.” So now I’m hearing Sir Elton.


Lake Skaneateles

Lake Skaneateles. And apparently to be a town around here, you *must* have a gazebo.


women's empowerment speaker and director of student activities at Onondaga Community College

I’ve arrived in Syracuse and meet the amazing Bridget O’Donnell, Student Activities Manager at Onondaga Community College. We chat about dogs and adventuring while I set up.


Women's Empowerment workshop by Christina Irene

Here I am guiding attendees through the booklet we complete together during my SuperPowerment! women’s empowerment workshop.


Christina Irene at Jefferson Community College

I make the night drive to Watertown, NY and arrive at Jefferson Community College Wednesday to find myself cafeteria famous!


Christina Irene dining with students after a women's empowerment workshop

Speaking of cafeterias, this place has great grub! Korie, Casey, and Cailey treat me to heaps of excellent food and wonderful company after my women’s empowerment workshop.


Christina Irene sad face at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, NY

And my face when I realize I spent all that time catching up with Student Activities Director and really really great guy, Frank Doldo, and I left Watertown without getting us a selfie!


classic Steven Seagal

It’s the final leg of my tour. I arrive in Batavia, NY and settle into my hotel. Tomorrow will be Genesee Community College. Tonight, I’ve found a delightful cheesy old Steven Seagal movie to keep me company while I do some prep for tomorrow’s 3 different presentations.


pizza delivery makes for a good road life

It’s freezing rain outside and I’m dragging a bit from all these miles, so I do something I haven’t done in years: I order pizza delivery to my hotel room! Domino’s has this lovely online pizza customization thing that’s probably old news, but it’s super exciting to me!


hotel room movies

While I devour my black-olive-pineapple-spinach-(because a little green makes it healthy?)-salami-double-garlic-sauce masterpiece, I happen upon another lovely classic! Right in the middle of the bean scene!!! Frrrrrrrp!


Christina Irene and Cliff Scutella at Genesee Community College in Batavia, NY

Last day! I’m at Genesee Community College in Batavia and get to catch up with this amazing man, Director of Student Activities, Cliff Scutella


Cliff Scutella is cool

The only thing cooler than Cliff’s museum is the man himself.


women's empowerment promotional cape

Within the museum, I find one of my original, handmade SuperPowerment promotional capes!


Christina Irene discusses chronic illness for awareness and coping

My first presentation of the day is my Invisible Disabilities Awareness presentation for the polysomnographic tech (sleep studies) class.


Christina Irene, female speaker, presents at Genesee Community College

Next up is my SuperPowerment! women’s empowerment workshop, which other campuses remote into. That’s why there’s so much of – or, so many of – me.


A clip:


speaker and presenter Christina Irene teaches creative problem solving

And then I rush off to Medina, NY (through my father’s home town, Elba!) to deliver an additional presentation at another Genesee Community College campus. Here I visit a creative problem solving class and share some blunders of my solo world travels, perfect context for problem solving and a discussion about the flaws in “expectations.”


dog lover's homecoming

I drive home this same night and happily retrieve my baby, Amica, from Alissa, Madisson, Mike, and Tyler (the latter 2 are the humans). She’s spreading out for snuggles and belly rubs.


home with my lab mix

We’re both finally home, and I present Amica with the bone I got for her in Skaneateles while I reunite with Mom’s Blue Bloods DVDs and unwind. Great week!!!



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