Being a Girl, By a Woman — Guest Blogger!

I’m at a point in my career where I’m actively working to establish myself as a professional. I work in a field largely dominated by [chauvinist] older men who think it’s perfectly appropriate to call me “sweetie” or speculate about my personal life or ask me to make some more coffee even though that definitely is not part of my job description. It makes me feel like I’m younger than I am. It makes me feel like “the girl who handles that” instead of the woman who is hoping to be the director of the department.

I want to be warm and approachable, but I don’t want to be talked down to. It’s a challenge. I’ve trained my speaking voice to sound deeper and more assertive. I use less exclamation points in emails. You know. I’m so grateful to have so many strong, independent female mentors in my life. At the end of the day, though, women are still paid less, respected less, and taken less seriously compared to our male counterparts. Continue reading “Being a Girl, By a Woman — Guest Blogger!”

Making it This Far

I am sad today.

Since I’ve moved to Tallahassee three months ago, I have made it to the “final round” of interviews for three mid-level Communication Specialist, Communication Coordinator, and Marketing Coordinator jobs. Each time, I have been called in for a second (or third) interview with the President/CEO. Each time, it has come down to 2-3 people, and they have told me at that final interview,

“First of all, Congratulations for making it this far” (…before going on about the number of qualified applicants and how much it means to be called in for another interview.)

Each time, I have come home feeling confident and excited, and each time I have received a follow-up phone call telling me that, unfortunately,

“We’ve decided to offer the job to another candidate.”

 …It has been an emotional and humbling experience. Continue reading “Making it This Far”


Why did I want to move to Tallahassee? Two reasons.

1. Bretski
2. Manatees

I love manatees more than your average vegetarian hippie animal lover. I LOVE them. And I never miss a chance to see them in captivity, but my dreamiest dream has been to visit them in the wild. As soon as I heard that you could get a glimpse of one of these babies down here near the gulf, I have been researching boat cruises like it’s my job.

In all my searching, I found the most perfect little piece of real life jungle cruise heaven: Wakula Springs. I love everything about this place beginning with the name, including the old time ice cream soda refreshment shoppe, and ending with this little token of hope:

So we signed up for this boat tour and I tried NOT to get my I’m-going-to-see-a-Manatee-today hopes up. I was content with the little turtles and gators and serene wildlife as pictured below:

But then.

It happened.

Manatee!…and…baby manatee!

Of all places, they were snuggled up next to my side of the boat and these perfect uninjured babies living safely and happily ever after in this majestic state park brought tears to my eyes. Literally.

Dream come true. I think I’m going to like living here.

The Granola Incident

On Sunday night I cut my heel. No big deal. I thought I stepped on a particularly pointy piece of granola since it’s the only thing I could find on the floor. I soaked my heel in hydrogen peroxide, rubbed some Neosporin, and put a little Hello Kitty band-aid on it. Healed? Basically.

It hurt pretty badly, so went to Simplicity Urgent Care after work, but they had a two hour wait, so I left. I just had a paper cut on my heel. From a piece of granola. It’s fine.

I usually bus, metro, and walk 10 minutes to work. I balanced on one foot on the metro and took the shuttle form the metro to my office this week to avoid excessive walking. I couldn’t really put any weight on my heel, but I assumed that’s because, you know, cuts are sensitive. I got dinner with a couple friends, trekked over to Yogi Berry, loaded my car up with some furniture.

Five days went by. I was still limping around. Still hydrogen peroxide-ing. Still oozing… oozing? Gross. Infection. Continue reading “The Granola Incident”

Prancer Sighting in Washington, DC

I have some exciting news!!!

Today, I discovered a portal between the Arlington Cemetery metro platform and THE NORTH POLE!!! Don’t believe me? Read on.

I was riding the metro to work. Unlike the lame tourist (and sensible professionals) who take a seat or hold on to the metro rails, I have learned how to stand still and balance like a surfer. I’m really proud of this and brag about it frequently. Important to note: balancing usually causes me to look out the side windows instead of keeping my glance straight ahead. Continue reading “Prancer Sighting in Washington, DC”

The Natural Bridge Rocks

When I was a prospective JMU student back in 2004, I remember driving by The Natural Bridge and thinking, “that sounds like an enjoyable day trip.”

In 2005, as a JMU freshmen, I expressed this desire to my family. My parents frequently drove my sister and me to Skyline Drive, so they said that The Natural Bridge would be a good trip for us to take in the near future. I knew I would be at JMU for a few years so “the near future” was a good enough answer for me.

Over the course of the next few years, whenever I passed signs for The Natural Bridge, I anticipated this trip. I didn’t know how many times I would have to pass advertisements before I actually got to visit, but I continued to look forward to my impending visit to the Natural Bridge: Continue reading “The Natural Bridge Rocks”


Happy March!

Well, so far 2011 has been more than I can handle. I’ve been in a dark place making some reckless decisions and I can not thank my friends enough for sticking by me. I don’t know what I would have done without shoulders to cry on and homemade dinners to feed me and faithful ears to listen to me even though – as my incredible friends who listened to me vent for a couple hours in a Charlottesville Wendy’s last night will tell you – most of what I have to say is a little nutty. The point is when things get bad, you can wallow for a bit, but then you have to pick yourself up and take control of your life. I’m holding on to that concept of starting resolutions at any point in your life, and trying to do some healthy things for myself starting March 1.

I started today with my 7AM yoga class that I’ve been skipping for, well, a couple months. As I was walking to yoga this morning, I had a lot of thoughts going through my head. I admired the sunrise and thought about how GOOD it feels to see the sky like that. I remembered how beautiful the sunset was last night and I felt lucky that I got to see the whole thing unfold all over the mountain skyline during my drive. I thought about how many times in the past 6 years I’d made this same early morning walk to the gym. And then remembered this encounter I had a few years ago during one of those walks…

So I want to tell you that story, but first, have you ever been to the gym before 7AM? Its usually not the most talkative place. No matter what your motivation, after trekking through the dark and freezing temperatures, most people aren’t in a talky mood. They’re still waking up or they’re on a mission to beat their personal best 5K time and, yeah, people tend to keep to themselves. I’m a morning person. And a people person. I know more GOOD MORNING songs than you’ve ever heard of (thank you 4-H, color guard, and pre-school). =

So, back to my story, I remembered this time I was walking to yoga a couple years ago. It was about 6:45AM and I ended up walking next to this athletic guy in his mid-twenties and instead of cruising by while plugged into his iPOD, he walked right next to me and said,

“Hey! Are you going to work out?”

I was so excited that someone else wanted to have a pre-7AM conversation that I practically shouted YES but it was fine because he was all pumped about his workout, too! He told me he was a grad student (which seemed old at the time… oh man… anyway) and that he was just learning his way around JMU and he was so excited about this new Recreation Center. He had tons of questions so I told him everything about JMU that I could cram into our 5 minute walk together, and that conversation made my morning.

Back to real life time this morning, thinking about this conversation reminded me of all of these crazy wonderful interactions I’ve had with strangers. Remember my first blog entry about a man I’d never met buying my coffee at the gas station? Seriously WHO goes out of their way to buy ANYTHING for a stranger? An awesome stranger.

Some strangers are not awesome, but they are still worth talking to. I was riding in my car a few weeks ago with my friend, Kara, and this random lady pulled up next to me at a light and honked her horn and screamed at me to roll down my window. I was kind of intimidated, honestly, she seemed a little crazy. When I finally did roll down my window, she SCREAMED, “HI THANK YOU DO YOU KNOW WHERE A STARBUCKS IS?!” …I could not help but laugh hysterically. I mean if that isn’t a commercial for Starbucks, I don’t know what is. Fortunately, althoughI could not contain my laughter, Kara was able to direct this poor women to the closest Starbucks (which was pretty far away). Meanwhile the light was green and everyone behind us was ready to progress through the intersection. They didn’t honk, though, because this is Harrisonburg and people are nice here.

Okay, so that wasn’t a change-my-life kind of encounter, but its a story that I love telling. The point is, I love interacting with strangers. I understand why we tell kids not to talk to strangers and I know that Stranger Danger saves lives. I’m not advising anyone to get into a car with a stranger…unless the situation is definitely safe. Last year I was walking to class and I got caught behind a train. There was no way I was going to make it there in time, and the SWEETEST woman ever rolled down her car window and asked if I was going to school and if I wanted a ride. I said yes. She drove me. It saved my whole day. Also, one of my best JMU friends, Kristiff, (actually that’s two people but anyway) we did take a ride from a movie theater back to campus freshmen year, but our driver was a JMU senior who told us it was okay to get in the car because we reminded her of herself. Yeah.

The thing is, we’re all people. We’re all dealing with our own struggles and its easy to dismiss people you don’t know as people who don’t matter. They do matter. One positive interaction with someone who needs encouragement is a big, big deal. Be safe. Trust your instincts. Don’t make reckless decisions, but feel free to say hello to strangers. Talk to them. Let them make your day. OR make their day. You are a stranger, too, you know.

Some things I cry about

The last several weeks have been busy and while that’s no excuse for avoiding my blog… this is: I have a lot of negative thoughts going on. While many of these thoughts involve big life-altering dilemmas that lots of soon-to-be grads worry about, others are too raw and too personal to make a headline in a blogpost.

Which leaves me thinking… what topics are too private for a blog? None. I’m realizing it is not the topic but how comfortable the writer is associating herself with the topic that gives it permission to be shared. It’s only those thoughts that we’re afraid to admit that we deem too personal, and it’s not until you get a thought into words that it becomes an extension of yourself. Before it’s verbalized or written, it’s still inside of you. Safely.

Continue reading “Some things I cry about”

Would you like to feed a squirrel?

First, this title makes me think of the movie, Rat Race, and the YOU — SHOULD — HAVE — BOUGHT — A — SQUIRREL scene. That movie always makes me laugh.

Moving on.

I don’t know how many people my age are lucky enough to have senior citizens for neighbors, but it is truly a blessing. My next door neighbors are the most kind people I interact with in a typical day. He is pushing 75 and spends most of his time reading the paper, animal watching, people watching, and maintaining a beautiful house. She is 75 and still works long hours every single day. In addition to caring for his own lawn, he cuts my grass every week and knocks on my door if I leave my car lights on. She maintains a BEAUTIFUL beyond BEAUTIFUL garden and keeps offering to help me start one. I have a few plants started in pots but I’m hesitant to plant them. I really should just take her up on it. Both of them offer pleasant conversation and a break from my busy schedule whenever I need it. Continue reading “Would you like to feed a squirrel?”

You will never see me again, and you don’t owe me anything.

I gave up coffee for lent, and even though I slipped a couple times on those early mornings touring New York City and apartment-hunting in Boston, I (basically) lived for six weeks without it.
So, I start Easter morning with a medium cup of black coffee. Something you should know: I always drink straight, black coffee. Unless, of course, its 90 degrees outside and I’m craving an iced coffee. Anyway, I spend Easter Sunday driving all over Virginia with my boyfriend to visit my family and his family, and then we arrive back in Harrisonburg around 8pm on Sunday night. I feel exhausted and moderately overwhelmed with the amount of work I have left to do before Monday, so when we pull up to the gas pump, I run inside to buy a coffee to get me through the night, not expecting any life-changing events to occur.

Continue reading “You will never see me again, and you don’t owe me anything.”