Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Trying. Trying to exercise, learn the area, make friends, plot poo

I went running the other day.
Prior to leaving Roanoke, I made a list of goals I would like to accomplish while here. Some are of a more personal nature, some are plain dull, but if you know me at all, this next one is rather laughable.

I vowed to exercise at least thirty minutes a week.

Yes, the number is low. But I don't like exercising. I figure if I aim my sights low, I'll actually be able to achieve it and feel somewhat proud of myself. This brings us back to the fact that I went running the other day. I figured I'd be fine with Señor Ipod and Mr. Cell Phone, and headed out the door. I was speeding (read as: huffing) along, feeling unfathomably accomplished, when Señor Ipod failed me. Buena Vista Social Club was no longer blaring out of my headphones and I was forced to stop (read as: was grateful for the excuse to stop). I suddenly realized I had absolutely no idea where I was. There were some houses here and there, but the main thing I could see were mountains.... everywhere.
My train of thought at this moment:
I'M LOST! Wow, how did I run up this far? Good job, self! You ran up hills! It's gorgeous up here! Maybe I'll walk down this street. Oh, it's a dead end. Here's a trail! That's a creek - I don't want a creek. Where the hell am I? Damnit, I have to finish my run. I don't know how to get back. Ughh I am far too lazy to run back. I'll call someone.

My lovely friend from college came to my rescue, and Google-mapped me out of my disaster.

Lesson learned: perhaps I should keep my 30 minutes of exercise to places I know. A coworker wants to play tennis together soon, so assuming she doesn't want to keep score or thinks I have any ounce of skill in my body, we should be golden.

I also decided I should explore the area. Now, as my father’s daughter, I did this the proper way - the scenic way. I knew there was one massively long and winding road that went up the mountains, and I was determined to find it. So after church on Sunday, still in a dress and Cole Hahn sandals, I went off on my escapade. I drove up this mountain, windows down, and an old mix cd from high school playing. At one point, the road stopped going up, and I began to drive down a mountain. This is not what I had expected. I wanted to only go up , not down.

So I did what any, logical, GPS-less Banks would do. I pulled over to the side of a mountain, teetering on the edge, and unfolded my massive map. My massive map, however, was of no use. Why, you ask? Because I was on a long, winding road with a speed limit of 15, with no intersections. I had no idea where I was ON the road. I turned around, with impressive skill, and about sixteen-points.

On the drive down Mr. Massive Mountain, I pulled over again to take some photos. Photos turned into an impromptu hike, until I saw a car coming up the road and remembered that my windows were down, the car was unlocked, and just having my flashers on doesn’t legitimize a car being inconveniently located on a winding road. As I was walking back, some nice old couple asked me if I needed help with my car. “No, I’m just going for a walk, but thanks!” was my actual response.

I brought a friend home with me. A giant spider. Sadly, his unexpected presence on my foot while I was driving brought our friendship to an untimely end. RIP, buddy. Sorry about that.

Office Updates!
A few things have been going on at work. For one, I am realizing how much I need to learn before I can be legitimately useful. It’s a slow process because there’s so much to take in, but every day something clicks, and by the end of this, I am determined to have fundraising DOWN.

An exciting accomplishment at work is that my snack drawer is good to go! Loaf of bread, peanut butter, jelly, pretzels, hummus and veggies in the fridge. I'm set for the next few weeks, and can also feed my entire office in the incident of a massive lock down in this town of 8,000.

I’ve been compiling a list of businesses in the area which is currently over 600 entries long, and about fifteen times a day I find myself asking OfficeMate, “Do you know where ___ is?” Generally, he doesn’t, because they’re small towns, and I end up googling them. Well, I’ve begun to write down the best ones. This includes winners such as Rustburg, VA and Pittsville, VA. Low Moor, VA has something like 350 people.

Naturally, these places sound so off the beaten path that, again as my father’s daughter, I want to see them. I’m mentally preparing a road trip to do something dull in every single one of these locations. (Tie my shoe in Rustburg. Cough in Pittsville. You get the idea.) My travel companion will, most likely, be Planty, my beloved geranium. Why my plant? Because I have no friends here. And I probably never will, because I bring plants on road trips.

At our staff meeting this week, we discussed creative fundraising ideas. Someone mentioned “Cow-Plop Bingo.” This is, and I kid you not, when one plots out some land such as a football field into 100 squares or so. You charge people a chunk of change per square, and then you let a cow saunter around aforementioned field that has been plotted out. Then you wait for the cow to take a dump. Yes. You bet on where a cow poos. Whoever owns the square the cow has pooped on gets some percentage of the total, and the rest are your earnings.

Welcome to the South, self.

Office Sing-Alongs are now a regular occurrence. After a week of flamenco music, OfficeMate and I now rock out to Classic Rock on a regular basis. Thanks, Zepplin, Rolling Stones and an unhealthy amount of CCR for common musical ground! We have the cool office.

Such is life in the ‘Noke. Everyday, I drive through mountains listening to NPR tell legitimate news stories with a slight pull at my heartstrings (“They didn’t honor the Vietname vet until he had Alzheimer's?! FOR SHAME!”), I sit at a desk with the opportunity to learn so many great new things every day, I work with exceptional people, and then drive home through the same fantastic mountains blasting salsa music with the windows down, and I am convinced that no one has a better life than me. It’s a simple one, it still has various kinks to work out, but I am happy every. single. day. I have never regretted the decision to move out here, not even for a moment.


  1. Love the way you write!!!!!!VERY entertainig!!!!!you can make the most common things sound exciting!!!!I`m sure you will make MANY friends very soon.....You haven´t posted any photos......shame......I want to see those beautiful mountains!!!!!1

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  3. That poor poor spider....I mean, It's so wonderful to hear how you are doing. I am so happy that you have a daily blog!! Now i have a new way to cyber stalk my friend. and btw, cow-plop bingo sounds hilarious and i would so pitch in just to watch people staring at a grazing cow waiting for it to poop.

  4. Sounds so lovely down there. You should get a GPS though, it will help you find your way home so you can keep blogging about it ;) And don't worry, there are lots of people who will be your friend. It just take time and a positive attitude.

  5. I applaud you on your exercise. I cannot exercise without a device attached to myself.
    For some reason people don't understand that I hate exercise and am incredibly bored while doing so. Only by doing something mindless to make me forget I'm physically exerting myself (watching youtube while on the elliptical) is the only way I can stay sane.

    Also, this reminds me of the one time we played tennis and I remember I wasn't very good at actually being able to somewhat do something that remotely resembled tennis.

    Mountains! Mountains make me feel like I'm in the middle of nowhere.

    I too am GPS less. When I get lost around here, I just drive... and drive... until I hit something that looks vaguely familiar. This can take a while. I also do not have a paper map. When googlemaps doesn't work out here (it always places me in a location that I'm sure is 15 minutes away), I have to take my cellphone map and manually scroll around where I think I am until I can determine: a. Where I am or b. I should probably turn around and find a gas station.

    Also, for some reason, I have removed the first part of my name from google. Google now knows me as the last half of my name.