Monday, August 31, 2009

O Captain! My Captain!

Once upon a time, I was in college and worked for the college newspaper. I was assigned to write an article on a Captain in the Air Force ROTC, who had won an essay-writing contest. I interviewed him and wrote the article. His name was... well, let's call him Roy Robin, and he was the nicest man. The article appeared, and he thanked me with a note and a gift card so me and my roommate could go out to dinner.
Then, an Air Force ROTC class was offered to non-ROTC students. I took it, and Captain Roy Robin was the professor. I was immediately the teacher's pet. It was wonderful. I basically fell in love with him, even though he was married with four small children. Don't worry – nothing inappropriate happened. I had a boyfriend (who also took the class and SERIOUSLY tried to ride my coattails on the teacher's pet thing), and Captain Roy Robin was quite the family man. But, like I said, I was teacher's pet.
We had to go to Captain Roy Robin's office to pick up our textbooks. Unbeknownst to me, my boyfriend at the time had gone to get mine (and, not actually to be nice, but to prove to Captain Roy Robin that he knew me). I was preparing myself to go to my captain's office, by reading Walt Whitman's O Captain! My Captain! (which doesn't even make sense in this situation, but it didn't matter to me).
Trish, my awesome college roommate, was at that time harvesting her own unrequited love for a professor of hers (look, it just makes class more interesting, okay?), and suggested that before I go to office hours, I:
* Drink 2 shots of vodka
* Memorize the poem so I can recite it to him
Maybe I should explain something about Trish. She:
* Went to her love's office hours, after...
* Drinking 2 shots of vodka. Then she...
* Asked him many questions about his personal life, including where he lived, so that later she could....
* Drive to the town he lived in (IN A DIFFERENT STATE) and see his house. All of this is true and happened.
So, yeah. I didn't drink the 2 shots of vodka. In fact, I never went to his office, because, like I said, my boyfriend had already gotten my book. I wonder where Captain Roy Robin is today....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Am I Invisible?

For most of my adolescent years, I was a bit shy. I was overshadowed by my cute, outgoing sisters and I always just kind of faded into the background. As I entered into my adult years, I blossomed into an interesting, outgoing person as well. I am very social and I spend time with a variety of different types of people. However I still find, in some instances, that I become invisible. In certain social settings, it is as if people do not even realize I am present. When I break the situations down piece by piece, I realize that there are ONE constant: ME of course! I am the same in all settings. I pride myself on always being MYSELF. So why, in some settings , do I blossom? And in others I fade, once again, into the background? Many times it frustrates me because I love making new friends and meeting new people. I instantaneously revert back to middle school, when all that I wanted was for someone to WANT to be my friend. So why is this? Why the drastic difference?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Road Trip

I MADE IT! 9 days. 2 countries. 3 states. 1300 miles. PURE BLISS. As some of you know, I went on an all girls ROAD TRIP. On Saturday, August 15th at 3:45 AM We embarked on our journey. That's right 3:45 AM. We flew out of Charlotte on a 6:45AM, which enabled us to see some of the sights in Burlington, Vermont before we headed up to Montreal. Our first stop was Magic Hat Brewery a.k.a Magic in your mouth! What I loved about the Magic Hat Brewery was the fun, quirky nature of the employees and product. Also, you just walk up to a bar and they keep refilling your glass with whatever beer you choose. FOR FREE. We paid nothing for our tour/tasting. THEY. ARE. AWESOME. Also, our tour guide had dreadlocks—nuff said! After our beer tasting, we were all feeling pretty nice (except Mary Frances=Designated Driver). Our next task was to cross the US/Canadian Border, which we were all pretty sure we would breeze right through. Right? NOT. After waiting an hour, watching all the Quebecians (our term of endearment—which we later discovered is what they are actually called) smoke their cigarettes.
Our hold up at the border caused us to miss a Cidery tour, we planned on going to in Quebec. Of course, we all knew that they spoke french in Quebec, but we hadn't fully prepared ourselves. After entering the country, we realized our car did not have kilometers on the speed gauge. NOT GOOD! We frantically converted the kilometers to mph on our cellphone. After figuring out all of the french conversion/translations, we headed to Amelie's. My roommate Christen studied abroad with Amelie and she invited us all to stay with her. She was formerly a tour guide in the city, so she was the perfect person to show us around. Our first day in Montreal, we visited the Clock Tower and climbed all 182 stairs. Other sites included but were not limited to: the Biodome of Montreal, the Olympic Stadium, Mont Royal and L'Oratoire. We departed from Montreal on Tuesday and started our 8 hr trek to Maine. This was a gloomy day, fun—but frustrating to be in the car for that long. Luckily, we had stops along the way, so we could take a break from driving.
Maine is beautiful, but there would be stretches 50 miles with NO civilization. Make sure you have a full gas tank! The scenery was beautiful, it took all I had not to make the girls stop every 10 minutes so I could photograph. We drove through Mexico, Maine. Didn't even know it existed.
We were so excited to be in Maine, with the hopes that we would see a MOOOSE. No such luck :( We had high hopes and they were shattered. We did visit Acadia National Park. Highly recommend! We drove up to Cadillac Mountain at dusk. With the breeze in our hair and the water below, it was picturesque. Now our Maine excursion would not be complete without a casualty. Christen lost her Blackberry to a tide pool. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN PHOTOGRAPHING A SEA URCHIN WITH YOUR BLACKBERRY. So with one phone dead, we decided to move on to our next stop: Portsmouth, New Hampshire. History. Lighthouses. Beer. We visited Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's childhood home. Very interesting, our tour guide was amazing. We saw the most beautiful lighthouse in Portsmouth. PICTURE TIME! Portsmouth was very nice, although I don't think it was Christen and Amanda's favorite city. They had a little tooo much to drinky drinky :)
We concluded our trip in Burlington, Vermont. FIRST STOP: Ben and Jerry's Factory. As you can tell by their creative flavors, they are a HOOT. They have a flavor graveyard for all of their “discontinued” flavors. It was super cute. A little disappointed that the “taste testing” was only on ONE flavor. Come on Ben & Jerry—we need more than that! It was delicious nonetheless. We also stopped at Cabot. CHEESE, CHEESE, and MORE CHEESE. It was very good. Now they had every type of cheese you could ever, ever want to try. This was the conclusion to our trip. We flew home the next morning. Refreshed, renewed, EXHAUSTED! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where in the World is Jennie???

Question mark with the Earth as a dot
Those of you who follow us religiously - you know who you are (Anja ... Mom...), will have realized a noticeable lack of Jennie in recent days. That's because Jennie is on an adventure! Now, I'm not positive on the exact itinerary, but I can give you a good idea of what she's been doing. (It would really help me if as I described each destination you pictured a map and mentally put flags in the locations. Thanks.)
On Saturday, Jennie left from Charlotte Airport with friends (the nerve! having friends other than me.) and flew to Vermont, where they visited (among other things) the Magic Hat Brewery. Magic Hat Beer, if you don't know, is not only yummy yummy in my tummy, but it also gives really deep and thoughtful advice on the inside of the bottle cap. It's like a fortune cookie. Except beer.
From there, the group rented a car and entered the magic land of Canadia (or...Canada). They're spending most of the time in Montreal in the province of Quebec, or... Province de Qebec. Yep, that's what 5 years of French will get you, kids. Stay in school.
I can't wait to hear about Jennie's adventures! She's sure to have great stories, so Jennie - when you get back, we're waiting to hear all about it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Over-Reactor. Yep, that's me!

Time bomb with lit fuse
So, it only took about three different people to tell me within the past week that I overreact about things before I actually listened. I am that person who gets really riled up about something and runs around telling people why I'm mad, who my anger is directed at, and how something - SOMETHING! - must be done. And I'm just as angry the fifth time I tell the story as I am the first. Oh my gosh - I must be so annoying to be around!
I honestly don't think I'm being dramatic; I just really feel the anger. And as I talk (and especially if I'm talking while running with my sister), my feelings build and build. Each breath I take brings me new revelation of the injustice that I feel so deeply.
The latest unreasonable object of my fury was an article about hippies in today's culture. The focus of the article was on fashion (as opposed to lifestyle and beliefs) and, let me tell you, that was enough to put me over the edge. And why? If "journalists" want to waste their time (and ours) on such drivel, that's their problem (and ours). But seriously - I got way too crazy about it.
Anyway, it's probably not a good idea to tell me I'm overreacting in the heat of the moment. And please, please do not tell me to "calm down". But definitely wait for the rant to end, and feel free to calmly point out that maybe the issue at hand is not as bad as I'm making it out to be.
Seriously, though - hippies? Not a fashion statement. There, I said it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Rainy 5K

Glass raindrops
My sister and I ran our first 5K together last night. It was a different kind of 5K than I'm used to, and I honestly had a tougher time than I thought I would. Here's what happened.
I think the original sign-up email had the wrong time, because until the day of the race (when I picked up my packet and spoke to my sis about it), I was under the impression that it started at 6. It didn't. It started at 5:30. When we were lining up to start, I realized I was not alone in this mistaken belief. Others jumped on the back of the line, saying with wide eyes and trembling voices, "I thought we were starting at 6!" Nope.
My sister, a born athlete, took off at the beginning of the race and I didn't glimpse her again until I was about to cross the finish line. I had hoped we would stay together, but I would have held her back, so we separated. A light rain started to fall, which almost sounds refreshing, right? Wrong. It was prickly and aimed at my eyes! How does rain aim itself? Anyway, the rain didn't last long, and the humidity built up once again.
Did I mention the race was 5:30 in the evening? Yep, it was.
The course ended a bit of a distance from the start line, and we were to take trolleys back to the baseball stadium. I have to admit, a trolley ride is always fun, so I didn't mind that one bit.
As I was about to cross the finish line, my sister came back to cheer me on. She encouraged me to sprint to the end, and she held 2 cups of water in her hands. "Do you want me to throw it on your face?" she yelled. "YES!" I screamed back. And WHAM! water in the face, up the nose, in the eyes. Ha - I asked for it!
My sister is the best.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tweet this, Tweet that

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 14: Attendees mingle during a break at the first annual Chirp, Twitter Developer's Conference April 14, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Chirp, the Twitter Devloper's Conference is a two day event for developers who work with the popular social networking service. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
I joined Twitter not too long ago, and I'm really enjoying a lot of things about it. I follow some of my favorite bands (hear about upcoming shows), writers (learn what life is like when you're a full-time author ... it rocks!) and folks in the publishing industry (hear helpful hints and find out what everyone's saying about certain books/authors). I also follow friends and get to keep up on things that they think are important.
I like it so much, that I feel like the only problem with it is me. I never know what to tweet about, and when I do think of something, I second-guess my decision. I think, "No one cares what I'm doing this weekend, or what I think about so-and-so." But I guess that's what Twitter is all about. People DO care, which is why everyone's on it.
I read a blog (and follow on Twitter) the CEO of a publishing company who has very strong feelings about social media in the workplace and in our lives. He is quite adamant that Twitter is here to stay, and executives MUST learn how to utilize it for their companies. He has even blogged several times about how we can use Twitter effectively. And STILL, I just feel like I'm not doing it correctly.
Any ideas, friends? I don't want to end up writing things like "I'm eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich," so what are some ways to come up with insightful and interesting tweets? What are your tactics?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Anja, we can attend Culinary School together!

I will definitely have a career change sometime in somewhat near future. But until then, I can only dream! I felt inspired by a certain television show last night. ACE OF CAKES. If you have not seen the show, it follows the daily life of EXTREME cake decorators from Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, Maryland. The cake artists on that show are AMAZING, super talented!
On last nights episode, they made a guitar cake. With real strings. You could PLAY the guitar. No Joke. They also created a 10 ft tower in which they had to stand on a ladder to assemble. I felt very inspired by all of their endeavors and decided I want to be a cake decorator. Although, I feel like I would become a VERY, VERY large woman if I decided to chase that dream. But I might, I might decide one day to attend Culinary School. So Anja, when do we sign up?!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

music makes my heart sing!

Every year, the Clacks (of the ‘CANDY! HONEY! How many times have I told you?! You can’t get that color from a bottle!!' fame) go to this awesome Christian music festival, called Cornerstone. You may have heard of it. Or, if you're anything like the Clacks, you plan your summer around it and compose schedules with lists of bands and a complicated rating system to bring home to your friends. So yeah, they're serious about this.
This year, my good friend, who I'll call Clickety, saw about 57 bands with her brother and friends. They brought me back a list (yes, complete with intricate ratings) of their favorites and I just got through listening to online music from almost every band. Here are highlights from the list, along with my comments (the number after the band name is Clickety (&Co.) ratings... 10 would be best; rated on music, stage presence and something else):
Anchor & Braille-9
(Acoustic /Ambient /Americana)
project band for Anberlin's lead singer....ehhhh....more folksy than I like. But I dig Anberlin so I'm willing to give him another chance.

REALLY like these guys. Heavy piano. Love it. Love it love it. My favorite on the list, I think.

Zach Williams -8
pretty groovy. It's got some soul. Best for background music. Like, traveling music. Roadtrip music.

Photoside Café-8
(Acoustic /Progressive/Rock)
sounds like DMB. Very cool.

And Then There Were None-8
they're good. Fast beats. Signed to Tooth & Nail, which always surprises me, for some reason (but that's my issue, not theirs). Also, they update their purevolume page a lot, which is always nice. They covered Imogen Heap, which is kinda cool.

Secret and Whisper-8
pretty good stuff. I would def. like most songs they put out.

Belle Epoque-7
1A. The kid is trying to point a gun at me in the myspace picture. 1B. There is a glowing skull.
And yet, I quite like them. Yep. QUITE. Awesome voice and music. Why the gun, friend?

All the Day Holiday-7
oh yeah. I dig this. They are adorable! Sing about oceans and swings and sky and such! And have flowers in their pictures. Randomly, I feel like the songs should be in a French film. Adorable, I say!

So there you have it. Clickety always finds me a new favorite and this year she found several. Last year, she brought me some forever favorites, such as Seabird and Ocean is Theory. Please check them out, if you read this. They are amazing.