Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wanderlust be slaked, Resumes be damned!

First of all, my most sincere apologies for my last post written in a sleep-deprived haze. Moving on...

While the winter months were dragging on, full of cold misery, drafty windows and a lack of daylight, spring seems to be the polar opposite. (Save for the cold misery which is still here. Y'know spring, you gave me like 70 degrees for a week, and then went back to cold rain. You're a tease. I take back all the nice things I said about you. Now, please come back... you're pretty!)
Spring is far from dragging on. April begins tomorrow. I was in Charlottesville last weekend, have made the last-minute decision (was peer pressured...) into driving to Charleston, SC to visit my brother this weekend, and next weekend I'm heading to my alma mater for Relay for Life. Just thinking about it exhausts me. After that, I'm staying put in the 'Noke. After that, it's May. And in May, I am three months from being done with VISTA. In May, I must job hunt.

Wait, what?
Job hunt?
Didn't I just go through this?

And so begins. I have a folder on my computer called "Job Hunt 2010!" and soon another shall be joining its ranks, aptly named "Job Hunt 2011!" Unlike the previous job hunt, I have a better idea of what it is I want to do. However, much like last year's hunt, I still have no idea where I want to go.

I haven't updated my resume since last June. This is a process I truly abhor. For now, I shall just flee all responsibility and spend my weekend in sunny South Carolina. Adieu, Roanoke.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogging Past My Bedtime

I apologize for my apparent leave of absence. I wasn't aware one was really being taken until I realized just how long it'd been since I sat down in front of Maccy. Somehow, it is almost midnight between Wednesday and Thursday, and I find myself wondering where on earth this week went.

My workshop in Charlottesville was incredible; it was exactly what I needed. I had been getting frustrated with myself for not winning grants, and not knowing what to do about it. I now not only have suggestions on where to look for grants, but how to properly construct a proposal, along with all the other fantastic nuances that go with them. Overall, a very useful, very productive two day workshop.

Seeing my friend from college was excellent. However, since I have morphed into an old lady since coming to Roanoke, I am still feeling the repercussions of staying up past 11pm. Socializing and going out, however, I found to be things I genuinely miss. I miss moderately large groups of people my age... socializing. It's such a seemingly basic request, and yet Roanoke has trouble delivering.

It's too late for proper posting. I promise something better in the near future. Maybe something about networking, or the upcoming job hunt. Get excited! I'm going to say goodnight before the incoherence does more damage.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome, Splendid Sunshiney Spring!

My favorite part of any season is its initial arrival. I love the beginning of summer when the pools open and you see kids everywhere because school is finally out. I adore when fall rolls in and you grab a scarf on your way out the door, and can't help but notice the tops of trees changing to yellows and reds. The first snowfall of winter is always something to behold.

But today, today I would like to embrace the arrival of springtime. I thought it was coming a few weeks ago when I saw some daffodils fighting their way out of the earth, but this weekend Spring decided to come on out in all of its glory. I broke out the flip flops, I wore a dress (pale legs be damned!), and I cherished every single bud on the trees. Roanoke is blossoming, and it's gorgeous. Downtown is covered in dogwoods, lilacs cheer up the cemetery across the street, daffodils recline in front yards, welcoming the extended daylight hours.

In order to properly celebrate this weather, I've gotten myself outside. I went running last week, and had decided that I wanted to conquer McAfee Knob on Saturday. OfficeMate being an adventurous soul, decided to join me. So off we went, ready to brave the gazillion other hikers that were no doubt going to be out on this gorgeous March afternoon to the most photographed location on the Appalachian Trail. The parking lot was packed, but I refused to be deterred. Being overzealous, I blazed ahead without bothering to read any signs. We stopped after about 3/4 of a mile for a scenic overlook, but I wanted to continue on to the overlook - the one people travel to Roanoke for. So we kept on trucking.

Two hours later, we had seen practically no one, which was odd considering the amount of people in the parking lot. We smartphoned it up to discover we were in fact on the Appalachian Trail, but had hiked about four miles south... not north. Whoops. It was still a beautiful day and I'm thankful I was able to get such a solid hike in, even if it wasn't to McAfee Knob. Just another hike for another weekend. Plus, that first overlook wasn't so shabby.
But goodness, I need to start researching my hikes more to avoid more directional catastrophes.

Cooking (of course)
The kitchen has been ablaze (not literally, knock on wood) with activity. Along with Pi Day, last week was also St. Patrick's Day. Now, it bears mentioning that I don't have an ounce of Irish blood in me. There's plenty of Latin blood and a hint of Scottish, but no Irish. Ergo, when I attempted to make corned beef and cabbage, I over-analyzed a simple recipe and it didn't come out quite like I had envisioned. It was rather... tough. I also had no beer in the apartment (there is almost never beer in this apartment), so instead, I had a nice Spanish wine from Galicia. That was the least disastrous part of that St. Patrick's Day meal. I'll leave Irish food to the Irish from here on out.

Luckily, my breakfast food is still reliable. When I moved to this apartment in October, I decided to start brushing up on my breakfast food skills. Other than Eggo waffles and cereal, I had never really been up for cooking in the AM hours. Now, either on a Saturday or Sunday morning(ish), I'll cook up some solid amounts of brunch. French toast, pancakes, eggs, homefries, sausage, bacon, eggs in a basket.... I've done it all. I'm actually quite proud of my homefries, which have taken months of practice to get to their current level of tastiness. Should you ever eat them, do yourself a favor and don't ask me how much butter is in them.

This week, I leave for a two-day training with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Charlottesville. I'm hoping to learn the techniques behind identifying proper funding sources for various nonprofit areas of interest ranging from early childhood education to health and wellness. Something I've struggled with has been getting various rejections for grants I've applied for. After a little bit of trial and error, I deduced that it wasn't so much that my proposals were poorly written or the programming wasn't desirable, but that the who was all wrong. I was asking any old foundation for funding, focusing on getting out a request, rather than finding the foundations who wanted to fund my exact program. So, hopefully, I'll come back from Charlottesville with some more ideas and a better plan of attack for the office and our clients.

Coincidentally, a dear friend of mine from college is celebrating her 24th birthday in Charlottesville this weekend, so I'll be there cheering her on this Saturday as she runs the Charlottesville Ten-Miler. It shall be grand.

Here's to a productive week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi(e), Sunshine and Bowling

First off, I would like to wish each and every one of you the happiest of Pi Days. Today, March 14th, is also 3.14. In honor of Pi Day, I convinced OfficeMate that we needed to stop at Kroger so I could procure the necessary ingredients to make chicken pot pie. I have made one other pot pie since moving to this apartment; it was a Kraft recipe and I am not proud of it. Why Kraft feels that cream cheese is an acceptable substitute for a rue is beyond me. This time, I went the legit route with butter and flour. ...and premade pie crusts. Don't judge. I'm still lazy.

Hello, lovely! Thanks for letting me celebrate a punny day!Second of all, Sunday was Daylight Savings - that thing we love in the fall and hate in the Spring. I went into it all optimistic yesterday (the 70 degrees helped) being all, "Hooray for sunshine!" I even went for a run! I know, I know!!

It was this morning when my alarm went off that I automatically subtracted that hour that had been stolen from my life and cursed Eastern Standard Time with all my being.

That being said, I welcome the sunshine. It is 7:20p and the sun is just now setting. I no longer feel the need to eat dinner at 5:45p with the old folks. I can come home and go for a run (ha) in the sunlight as opposed to telling myself, "Let's make this a short run because it's getting dark (and you're tired because it's been a whole five minutes)." With the sunshine comes warmth, green, life, flowers, and allergies. I bought Claritan the other day, but keep forgetting to take it.

Also, I have a ridiculous sneeze.
...It sucks to be my coworkers.

This past Saturday one of our clients, Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWVA, whom I made a shameless plug for here, had their annual Bowl For Kids Sake. Essentially, many teams go, bowl, and raise money for BBBS. All the folks at the office decided to get together and form a team, some even luring their spouses under what I can only assume were false pretenses. Many thanks to my gracious parents who donated $10 to my team. I, not being gifted with much athletic prowess, bowled an impressive 123 my first game (my second game's score isn't important). I also won a door prize, which is impressive if you know my family's lack of skill when it comes to winning prizes (for more information, ask my poor parents about years and years of Catholic Schools Week bingo). So, now I have $10 to a seafood restaurant located about 40 minutes away. Is it tasteless to use it at the bar? Maybe I can take OfficeMate and myself out to a dinner of an appetizer. Fancy!

That's neither here nor there. Here is our lovely team; photocred goes to the BBBS staff who was taking team photos. Except, the man in the red shirt wasn't on our team. He just wanted to be within a decent radius of us in an attempt to absorb some of our awesomeness.For more information on a great organization, check out their national site here. Hooray for shameless nonprofit plugs!

Also, a final aside, I assure you. I am over halfway through my AmeriCorps term. That is surreal. 'Tis all.

Enjoy the sunshine and pie, folks.

Friday, March 11, 2011

All Hail Apple Products

Last weekend, I went to the land of Northern Virginia to visit my family and assist in the celebration of my mother's birthday. (Read as: bake her birthday cake, take drink orders for guests, slice the cake after my mother sliced the ceremonious first slice, and other joyous tasks.) Fear not, family, I jest.. only slightly. Of course I am more than happy to do these things for the woman that birthed and raised me.

I drove home Sunday night in what started as torrential downpours, and the further west I got, the more quickly it became a blizzard. Nothing spells fun like I81 Southbound with trucks in a blizzard going 40 mph.

When I finally arrived to Apartment Sweet Apartment ready to collapse, OfficeMate informed me that he had some bad news. It appears that, with all the rain, our old building was not fully equipped to... how shall I put this... keep a roof over our heads? A leak had formed in the fixture over our dining room table, which is also where we keep our computers. For all my complaints about my 5 year-old MacBook, Maccy, I was devastated. Somehow OfficeMate's computer had successfully avoided the ceiling pee, but mine was taken as the victim. I like to think Maccy offered himself in lieu of OfficeMate's Dell - Maccy's a gentleman. To the right, you can see Maccy post-leak, with the bowl of gross water on the floor.

He was fried. OfficeMate, who is quite good with computers, said he had tried to revive him, to no avail. I can admit with no shame whatsoever that I cried tears for the death of my trusty MacBook; his death, and the realization that I don't remotely have the funds for a new computer.

I took out his battery and left him to dry, with the naive hope that he might work again. For days, he sat on my Old Lady Chair, upside down, drying, in a computer-like coma.

Yesterday, I decided to give him another shot. With OfficeMate nearby for technical and emotional support, I put in his battery, plugged him in and pressed the power button. After a few moments of silence, Maccy dinged his glorious start up noise. My little computer was back. In the words of OfficeMate, "I'd say Maccy's back and better than ever, but he's probably going to run about the same as before."

Now, he's not in pristine condition. His battery fell victim to the leak. Where once a picture of a battery glowed with the percentage charged in the top right corner, there is now a battery with a big 'ol X in it. However, if that's the price I have to pay, I'm okay with it. Now he just gets to live plugged into the wall 24/7. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for allowing me to own a computer that can come back from the most dire of situations.

I'm really just pumped I don't have to job hunt from my phone. I suppose the first thing I'm doing when I get a salaried job is buying a new computer. It's time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Dear Internet,

Please excuse this temporary blog hiatus, brought to you by a leak in my ceiling. Hopefully I shall return within another week or so. That lovely photo to the left is the oh-so-modern light fixture in the dining room, filled with water. The leak took some household victims.

Stay dry, all.