The Art of Muddling Through

charles lindblom, art of muddling through, s.c. rhyne, the reporter and the girl, stuck in a rut

So for all of my political science, political theory, and governance fans; the title of this post is from a very popular article written in 1959, by Professor Emeritus Charles Lindblom of Yale University. I had the pleasure of reading the work this week, which was one of the earliest pieces on the theory of incrementalism in policy.

Obviously, this theory brought a lot of criticism; I mean who would want to think of key decision-makers in our government not really having a “big-picture or goal”, but rather taking “baby steps” decisions when needed.

Hence, this title could also refer to decision-makers literally buried waste-deep in problems, issues, concerns, and ‘fires’ that the bright light at the end of the tunnel is nonexistent; and thus one is waddling through this deep mud, with only the thoughts of staying afloat and not stepping on any sharp objects or mines.

This sounds familiar.

Mr. Muddle, Muddling through, S.C. Rhyne, Charles Lindblom, incrementalism, starting over, goals

I had a goal to “change things” and perhaps jump-start my career by attending university and working in Europe. However, I’m starting to think that my “goal” was really the beginning of the mud patch and now I’m not sure if I can see the bright light. I just see a lot of muckiness in each and every direction and I’m not sure which way to waddle.

Yesterday marked one month since arriving at London-Heathrow, and although I have taken a lot of baby steps, I have repeatedly questioned whether I am working efficiently or taking the right steps to secure permanent employment and housing.  Or if I am effectively balancing my school and social life, because I may be falling into the same habits I had in New York.

I may have hoped to “glide through” some things, but now it seems that I am in for a long muddling; and while I hope to be strategic and insightful with each step I take, knowing me, this process will be more of an “art of spontaneous feelings” than a careful “scientific deduction of reason”. Thus, as the comic suggests, my mind and heart may be looking in separate directions, and therefore working in separate directions.

One of the pitfalls of “muddling through” that Lindblom fails to mention, is that one can easily get “stuck in a rut”.  Especially, when the effort to take these baby steps seem futile and the motivation to push forward dissipates. And this is certainly not where I (or most folks) want to end up.

So, have you ever been in a stage of your life where you felt like you were muddling through day-in and day-out?

Did you get through it, how? If you’re still muddling, how are you making it through?

Tell me on Facebook or tweet me @ReporterandGirl




the british museum, syrian refugees, migrant crisis, eurropean migrants, cross, s.c. rhyne,

My eleventh day has passed in London, and I am not “counting the days” but nearing the end of my initial adjustment.

I know how to walk home from the two nearest “high streets” (what we would call main streets). I can ride the tubes and buses myself and understand the station stops or how to detour if there is service disruption, like what happened yesterday during my trip to the National British Museum:

Jubilee Line, Service Disruption, London Tube, S.C Rhyne, The Reporter and The Girl
No train home today!

I now know to check the website for weekend disruptions.

I wake up earlier in the mornings and jog most mornings on the high street or to a nearby park. Then I settle in and read or do more paperwork or research for permanent apartment, job, etc…I still feel like some of these things are happening waaayyy too slowly though.

My bank appointment is tomorrow, which was like the only appointment available in the London area of all January! So hopefully I can open an account, can’t believe it took so long!

I also finally figured out the difference between NI and NHS. I thought they were the same thing and have been going around telling folks that I paid for an NI number online and a card should be coming in the mail to me.

surprised horse, S.C Rhyne, The reporter and The girl
You paid how much?
OMG, isn’t that illegal?
You poor migrant!

These photos are a courtesy of

But then I actually called for it last week and applied for it, silly me.

Well, until my first seminar starts on Thursday, I decided to let my hair down just a little, and visit the British Museum. I have tons of photos that I will post separately, but wanted to share the featured image with you all first.

The makeshift wooden cross was the first piece I saw when I entered the museum. It was made from scraps of a boat that carried some Syrian refugees across the Mediterranean. Being a dangerous journey, its easy to see why someone would want a religious icon that would hopefully bring comfort and peace in the rough seas.

Even though I had a more comfortable trip to the U.K with “proper documents”; I’m reminded how lucky I am to be here and able to do this. I certainly did not choose my birthright and could have easily been born on an island in the Caribbean, if my parents weren’t fortunate or determine enough to come to the United States when immigration laws were different. My blue passport is the difference between waiting a couple of weeks for a visa, versus a couple of months, or maybe even a year.

Nonetheless, I feel some homesickness for the things I miss:

  • My YMCA back home, where I worked out everyday.
  • My normal sized car that always gave me a heart attack when the check engine light comes on.
  • My softball mitt.
  • My own bed. My own kitchen where I know where everything is, and can whip up a 5 course meal easy.

But then I remember why I decided to move abroad

  • Stuck in a rut with my job and career, I didn’t want to make a lateral move
  • I moved back home (’nuff said)
  • I needed something different, I have a routine there but nothing really keeping me here
  • No one keeping me here
  • I kept romanticizing the European lifestyle, I just had to see if I can come and live it out.

So in essence, we all come and go because of a dream or to live a better life. And by remembering these decisions, as well as the opportunity I have, it makes me feel determined again.

At least until I read the syllabus last night that contained 96 items that we are expected to read in the short 10 weeks of term.


I’m still fortunate.

Thank you to my readers and followers for sharing your ideas for places to visit and things to do, including solutions for jet lag!

So, have you ever been away from home for an extended period of time? How have you dealt with homesickness? Or even with friends and family members reaching out excessively or “upset” that you left?

Tweet me @ReporterandGirl

or tell me on Facebook or G+





Checking In, Before Checking Out


I hope everyone had a happy and (hopefully) stress-free holiday season! I had a full house on Christmas Friday, and thus spent most of the weekend resting and recuperating from being on my feet.

We are days away from the New Year, and for me — a week away from a transatlantic journey– this is the perfect time to think about upcoming goals and resolutions.

I started on some things for the New Year:

Being out of school for so long, I literally forgot how to study. So, for the past month I have been going to the library and printing papers related to the courses I will take. I also started an annotated bibliography so I can keep track of everything I have read.

I have also started saving my money…sort of. Well, let’s say I won’t be completely destitute on January 4th. I should still have enough for a commuter ticket when I arrive in London.

Although it is only two days away, there’s no reason to not start now on some of your goals! The sooner you embark on your journey, the sooner you get to where you’re going.

Trust me, especially for goal number two– I don’t know why I didn’t start in April!

Other than creating new goals, 2016 can also be a chance for a clean slate or a fresh start. Since last week, I have been saying my goodbyes, and telling friends and acquaintances of my upcoming departure date. One had remarked, “Its an excellent way to start the New Year!”

This semi-permanent move, which I have been thinking about for the better part of the year, has not been only about further education and career options. It has also been about pushing my independence, trying to make it on my own, and having a fresh start in a new place. A place where I will (initially) be anonymous and alone, and heck I’ll struggle.

This was really clear to me as I started packing and clearing out my drawers last night. I separated my clothing between the stuff I’d keep and what I will give away. Then I started organizing between the stuff I’d take and leave behind…and before I knew it, I was contemplating having boxes shipped to me since I couldn’t bring enough luggage (who can start over with only two bags?) on the plane and the anxiety started kicking in.


This is suppose to be a fresh start. Why do I want to bring so much baggage from my old life into my new one?

So I will only have two suitcases and a good excuse to go shopping in the Spring. Some people start a “new self” with a haircut or wardrobe, so I will be too.

Folks, what new journeys or goals will you be embarking on, in 2016? Tell me at:

Facebook or @ReporterandGirl or on G+

I’m also on Pinterest, follow me and I’ll follow your boards too! Please send me a message, so I can follow back!





Starting Over

starting over, the reporter and the girl, reset button

A long time ago, I decided it was time to start over. Single and jobless, it was a chance to sprout a new leaf after being burned –I had nothing left. And from the ground up, I did just that.

Two years later, I realized that despite starting a new job, new look, and after a few personal accomplishments (published author, successful blogger, lost weight, etc…) that I was on the right track. For a while I was, but I still felt stagnant.

I had explained why I quit my job and not being respected there. And despite my circle of family and friends, whom I love and I know love me, I don’t have a reason to stay in NYC.

Thus, with no one and nothing to convince me otherwise, I decided to leave. And it took me the better part of 2015 to figure out how, but as of January 2016, I will be a new resident in England.starting over, new life, the reporter and the girl, S.C Rhyne, interracial blog

This is one of my saddest goodbyes to everyone I know, it really wasn’t until Thanksgiving, my last holiday dinner here, that I realized there are many people I won’t see for a few years. Granted, I don’t see much of those folks everyday, but it will still feel hard not to be able to text them and make plans for a drink on a whim.

So, in 2016 as I did in 2014, I will be starting over again. I have no one nor do I know anyone in the UK, so it is a true start from scratch. Again, from the ground up.

Packing light, starting small, and hopefully I will make it big from there.

I will still blog weekly, and keep writing. However, the next few weeks, my postings may be sporadic as I have a month to “close out” my personal things in NY and pre-plan some things for the UK. For example, tomorrow I have my biometric appointment; as a “foreigner” I have to submit to finger printing and background checks, lol. Then I have more paperwork to submit for housing and loan applications. I decided to pursue a postgraduate degree as well…so lots of fun preparing for that too.

Everyone has to start over at some point, whether you’ve gotten out of a relationship, job, school, or town. However, for most of us — starting over wasn’t voluntarily. This move is voluntarily for me, but in a way I felt that it wasn’t because I sick and tired of being sick and tired. But today, after talking with a friend, who admired my “go-getter” spirit. I told her the plain truth:

Quitting and leaving is the hardest decision I made to date.  Yes, it sounded so cool that if I get a job, which would sponsor a visa etc…but I soon realized how hard that would be and if I wanted to make a change I had to take a risk.

So with a plan, but having more “hope” than a “solid yes” I quit, went two months without a paycheck, used my credit card liberally before finding work again, and just when I decided my dream was a waste and I should turn back and get a 9 to 5 job — I learned I was going.

These last six months have been tough, but like I told my friend, my only regret was not quitting my job sooner and starting the application to leave in September instead of January. But alas, it’s here now and I am gone.

So when have you had to start over? How did you make it through?

I’d like your advice or tips.

Tell me @ReporterandGirl or on Facebook, or G+. If you have a picture or inspirational meme on this subject, share them with me on pinterest!

Starting From Scratch

chocolate cake, flourless cake, cake from scratch, salted buttercream frosting, interracial relationships, heart break, comfort food, coconut ice cream

Hello World!

This summer had been unremarkable to say the least, well unremarkable at home; around the world the streets are still colored in blood and justice.

But nonetheless, the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about making a real effort to start over. See, in the last year — I’ve lost a lot, from a relationship to weight to a career; and I made headway in some departments, but I still feel bogged down in my new environment.

It probably has something to do with the fact that both the reporter and I were thinking the same thing for 2014, and decided to get new jobs in the same field.

wtf stamp, what the fuck, what the hell, the reporter and the girl,
Courtesy of

Hhhmmmm…Well that was surprising to say the least.

Anyways, new job, new bullshit, new goals; but really hard to argue that I’m making a fresh start when I bump into the same old faces or have to deal with same bullshit at work.

It’s like running in place.

Now I’d really like to change jobs, and even move somewhere…far. Like Europe.

Thus, I’m hoping some of my European readers can help me out and point me where to look. I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time, but I think the idea of moving and starting over there is plausible.

Like the yummy chocolate cake that I made last night, I like to do things from scratch. When I first saw “Jon” a few months ago, I didn’t say a word to him, and neither did he to me. Despite the fact that we were forced to sit next together during a public presentation (so obviously it would have been rude to kick him in the balls in front of a hundred people).

My friend says it was cold-hearted, but I’m hardcore when it comes to erasing the past and the ills it brought me. Even if it  means moving or running.

Listen, I’m sick and tired of taking the train and looking up at his old station where we used to meet up. I don’t even think I’ve been down to that part of Brooklyn in over a year.

So is it better to start from scratch? Or should I just scrape the charred pieces off and eat my cake?

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This is a dense and gooey chocolate cake. Very is to make and its gluten free (no flour!)

1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped          1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter                                                  3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar                                                  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I played around with the ingredients, taking away an egg, and adding a little more chocolate and less sugar. The result was a soft cake but with a stronger chocolate taste, almost to the point of having a slightly bitter aftertaste. This was fine as I paired it with salted buttercream frosting and coconut ice cream!

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease a cake pan, and dust with a little cocoa powder.
  2.  Melt chocolate and butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Slices can also be reheated for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Salted Buttercream Frosting

1 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar                          2 tablespoons milk or cream

1/2 cup butter (salted variety)                                        1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix together sugar and butter. Mix on slowly until well blended and then increase speed to beat for another 3 minutes.

2. Add vanilla and cream or milk and continue to whisk for s few minutes until you reach the desired consistency. You can add more cream or milk if needed.

3. Sprinkle with sea salt after spreading over cake.

Top 4 American Cities for Starting Over

fresh start, moving on, letting go, the reporter and the girl, s.c rhyne, interracial relationships blog, arrow pointing

Life is a journey, and for many of us our journey takes us to new and vibrant places for a handful of reasons across the span of our lifetime such as landing a dream job, starting a family, or moving on to the next chapter in life. For those who are looking for a fresh place to hang their hats, the following four American cities are wonderful places to start over.

Anchorage, Alaska

From its awe-inspiring scenic beauty and relatively low unemployment rate to its strong local economy, Anchorage is a top city to live and work. For people looking to elevate their careers, consider that over a quarter of the companies in Anchorage are planning on hiring new workers, with job prospects in the financial, construction, education, leisure and health service industries being especially strong, according to MSN. Job seekers who are looking for a new career and a promising job market are sure to do well with a move way up north. Forget the all-work no-play mentality—Anchorage is a great for location for outdoor enthusiasts to play—hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, and other outdoor adventures wait outside of your door each day if you move to this city.

I lived in Anchorage for a short period and have thought about going back to get away from things.

Johnson City, Tennessee

For people who have had enough of sky-high rents and astronomical grocery bills, The Volunteer State offers a very low cost of living. Tennessee has no income tax and is second to only Oklahoma for its budget-friendly living expenses, according to Business Insider. Known as Tennessee’s Green City, Johnson City has earned top honors, receiving the state’s first Green City Leadership award for its environmental efforts. Eco-conscious folks who relocate to Tennessee will find that the rent or mortgage on their new home is so reasonable, they will have plenty of wiggle room in the budget for home improvement projects, such as adding green features like energy efficient windows, new roofing, and custom doors to their new abode.

Phoenix, Arizona

Although the capital of Arizona was hit especially hard during the recent recession, the city is bouncing back to be better than ever. Many homes are now available at extremely reasonable prices and people ages 20-29 are flocking to this city. Phoenix is also home to a number of major corporations, including Intel, PetSmart, Motorola, and top employers include Bank of America and Wal-Mart. Granted, Phoenix gets pretty toasty in the summer with temperatures that easily top 110 degrees on some days, but as former Northeasterners who now call Phoenix home like to say, “You don’t have to shovel sunshine.” The weather is gorgeous for the majority of the year, the employment outlook is positive, and there’s a plethora of fantastic restaurants and a rich culture—all of these things help make Phoenix a great place for young people to reinvent themselves.

Bethesda, Maryland

Moms and dads who hold education in high regard and wouldn’t mind switching careers should consider Bethesda, Maryland. The area has an exceptionally low unemployment rate of around 5 percent, which is over 2 points lower than the national average, according to Forbes. In addition, the housing market is very strong, and the state is listed as number one in the entire country for its school systems. Boasting a great quality of life, Bethesda often appears on on lists ranking the livability of top cities, making this town an excellent place to live.