Monday, August 25, 2014

Shaky ground

I wonder if I will ever be out of the "what's next?" stage in my life. As I inch closer to my 26th year on this earth, I can't help thinking and over-thinking and worrying and dreaming and perseverating about the future. It's both terrifying and exciting.

I recently read this awesome list of quotes from the queen of television, Shonda Rhimes. She's the woman behind shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.

She gave a kick-ass commencement speech this summer at Dartmoth, and one particular piece stood out:
"You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day, so start writing. You don't have a job? Get one. Any job. Don't sit at home waiting for the magical opportunity. Who are you? Prince William? No. Get a job. Go to work. Do something until you can do something else."
Just do it.

Don't be an asshole. Don't be afraid of your dark side. Screw the haters. The list goes on.

These are all things I'm taking to heart as I look toward the future - even if what I'm seeing looks pretty fuzzy. It has been a tough few months as I struggle to stay true to myself and keep my spirits high among significant negativity. But at the same time I have been surrounded by incredible people and love.

So what has been going on this year? In March, Emily and I flew to San Francisco and met my little-no-so-little brother. He drove up from LA - his current homestead - and we stayed together at a hostel downtown. Tamer than our trip to Toronto years ago but still pretty solid. The toilets in our hostel even had sinks built into the water tanks; so, yeah, can't beat that.
Enjoying hostel bagel. Photo credit: The shameless Emily Lauten.
Of course visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and, well, spending time together were secondary concerns. We were focused on seeing our old friends Logan, Veronica, Piz, Weevil, Mac, Wallace, Dick...the list goes on. Yes, we did travel across the country to be together for the premier of the Veronica Mars movie. And it was so worth it. Not to worry, there was actual exploring:
Then we took a little turn down the Pacific Coast Highway. Saw some lazy, fat seals making out. Ate a giant breakfast with gut-busing pancakes. Drove more winding roads. And didn't get car sick. That's what I call winning. 

Fast forward. OHIO! April. 

Maggie and I celebrated Easter by rubbing each other's foreheads. It was magic. We also spent time at la casa de Grenell and ate delicious Easter things. My mom was there.

Also it appears we were really wrapped up for April. This a trend that will continue throughout one of the mildest summers that I've had the pleasure of living through in the swamp that is DC. 

I had a marathon of marathons this spring. Mastered the art of the spectator and spotting individual runners among thousands of similarly crazy dedicated people. It was a nice reminder to never sign myself up for a 5k/marathon/race ever. There are just some things my body was never meant to do.

Something a little more my speed was a ticket to Ford's Theater for Putnum County Spelling Bee! Still as hilarious as when I saw it years ago in Chicagoland. Speaking of things I did a long time ago and recently got to do again - the Washington Monument! That poor obelisk finally got its braces off and welcomed tourists, including myself and traitor Charlie Harris - my work neighbor who decided to leave me this summer for the great world of academia. All the way in freaking Indiana. With Rachel and their sassy pug-child Tuck. I no long have an excuse to visit the Lego convention. 

Generally May wasn't an awesome month due to certain work happenings. BUT there was a Leann Rimes concert at a Jewish Synagogue (girl still has chops). AND a pretty awesome wedding in Amish country Pennsylvania. AKA Intercourse, PA. No joke. I finally got to rent a car without paying an underage fee. It was actually a very nice trip with Miss Emily and a beautiful wedding. There's something about watching the Amish take their Sunday buggy rides that clears the mind and soul.

The Moms came to visit Emily and me in June. This provided the perfect opportunity for my mother to notice I still sleep with my mouth open and suggest I invest in nasal strips. A mother's advice is never far away and always life changing. Thankfully, separation from my mother was short lived as I planned to visit WI in July. 

Fun side story: Our apartment building fire alarm sounded for the first time this June. I was stepping out of the shower when a woman over the loud speakers told us nicely but firmly to immediately leave the building. So I found myself standing in front of our building in nothing but a robe eating grilled cheese (thanks roomie!). Apparently I was the ONLY one taking a shower that morning. Go figure.

So far, so crazy. Stay tuned for another post about July. Spoiler - there were fireworks.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I've been having words

My little brain-dump of a blog has been feeling neglected lately. I've been a bit busy typing away for other sites in the name of money (and pleasure of course): my full-time bread and butter and Knot the Groom my other side project.

Here are some of my writing highlights since we last chatted!

Words on poverty and development:

14 Inspiring women and the inspiring things they said
Rare beauty: Meet ONE Mom Nancy Sumari, former Miss Tanzania
World Radio Day: 5 Ways the radio is fighting poverty
Transform your skin, transform a community: The story behind Shea Yeleen 

Words on weddings:

Real Wedding Inspiration: Lauren and Brian Summer fun with our new color dipped canvas totes

I have been having fun expanding my writing repertoire, but I do miss the freedom this blog gives me to banter with that great void we call the internet. It's like sending signals out into space with the hope that there are sentient beings out there. Jury's still out on that one, in the case of the internet and the universe. Having been able to write for a site (cough ONE, cough) with a substantial readership and social media presence has been a blessing and a curse. I had to eventually come to a decision that I would not read comments. Who are these faceless beings that never read our content with good intentions? It's as though they seek out posts they know they will hate. Anyway, virtual haters are not new but they're still disgusting. 

And on that note...feel free to leave me a comment! I'd love to not read it. Just kidding. I probably will. I can't seem to help myself sometimes. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lotus Eaters

Last summer before I left for the Land of Oz...I mean, D.C....I went to watch a great new band perform in Milwaukee. And now the Lotus-Eaters have finally released some rough demos for my east coast enjoyment!  Ok, full disclosure, my friend Zach is a member of this "psych and garage band", but I honestly think they have a great sound and infectious energy. If you're in Milwaukee I highly recommend cracking open a PBR and letting your hair down at one of their rockin' live shows. In the meantime, enjoy a listening party on a couch nearest you.

Like what you hear? Check them out on Facebook and see them live!

Random but relevant...

The day of my own personal Lotus-Eaters listening party I also caught up with some books I had not seen in a while. That day in particular I was traversing the great American landscape in a camper with John Steinbeck and his dog Charley when a surprisingly relevant passage jumped out at me:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Lanky brunettes with wicked jaws"

I decided to explore the mysterious Waterfront metro stop this past weekend after reading about a fringe community of houseboat dwellers docked in a little-known D.C. marina. Since it has always been a fantasy of mine to live in a residence that moves depending on my mood I had to check it out.

Not many people talk about (or seem to visit) the D.C. waterfront except to say that it is "under developed." They are definitely not wrong. A mini shopping area of essentials like CVS and Starbucks greets crowds as they exist the metro. Beyond that, however, it's as though people have both put down roots while remaining stubbornly transient. Even the bank is in a mobile home. Past the sleepy houseboats, one lonely hotel, and a strange arena advertising "the event" there is the fish market...under a highway. There is also a HUGE all you can eat seafood buffet that I first thought was a casino from the way masses of people were rushing in with a look of grim determination on their faces. Apparently nothings gets people out in steamy 100 degree weather like endless plates of lobster. Of course I'm not one to talk; I went out with the small hope that I might get to watch the sun set over the Potomac. No luck.

My plan was to follow whatever pedestrian pathway I could find over the river to the Jefferson Memorial. When I reached the point where I needed to cross, I encountered a grizzly-looking gentleman who offered three options: ford the river now, caulk the wagon and float, or wait for the ferry. Ha...oh man. Wouldn't that be awesome. A little Oregon Trail moment. My actual choices were either a dark tunnel of doom or a game of highway dodgeball (if you couldn't guess, balls=cars). I started having flashbacks to several highway-trekking, traffic-dodging family vacation nightmares. So, I chose life and turned my little self around. Not my most successful adventure. I didn't even get to caulk a wagon.

Later that night I shared a few laughs and cocktails with Nick and Nora Charles. Ok, so I know that Nick and Nora are just characters; but if this were 1934 and movies were real and every murder was solved over dinners and martinis by a retired detective and his fabulously wealthy wife, I'm pretty sure Nick, Nora, and I would be best friends. Just saying. It's possible.

Anyway, turns out the E Street Cinema shows awesome classic movies at midnight. I'm in love.

I'll leave you today with ONE's 2012 Summer Music Playlist. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Big Girl Pants

Happy belated birthday America!  This great time of national celebration is an appropriate one for my much anticipated (cough) return to the blogosphere. Although that is not to say I have been completely absent from the world of blogging, tagging, keywords, SEO, etc. In fact, dear readers, I have been up to my boney little elbows in crinoline and tiaras, experimenting with specialty cocktails, and ogling delectable tiers of buttercream frosting. Enter my wedding-blogger alter ego

But enough about her. As I was saying, the magical day that is the 4th of July (yes, I know I'm a few days late getting this post sue me!) is a perfect day to return to logging my life and observations on Roundabout. After circling the drain like the cliché college graduate that I am, taking internship after internship with the distant hope of a job offer, I finally landed my first job in Washington, D.C., our nation's lovely capital!  It appears I'm a "grown up" now (hence the title of this post). So cheers to you America: you're getting older and you gave me a job when so many others are not as lucky. Also great news, my mom is no longer telling people I am homeless and unemployed. Little things. 

What did I do to celebrate über-America day? Went to a Nationals game of course! Baseball is so American--hotdogs, beer, Cracker Jacks...Dominicans. Ok, well that last one was more in reference to a new baseball documentary--Pelotero--coming out next week. I don't really even watch sports, but I love films about sports and athletes. Not sure what that's about. My first Nats game was definitely a success. I can say that because 1. I did not pass out from the heat, 2. I learned that players pick their own "up to bat" music (awesome!), 3. We won! and 4. The jokes on my Cracker Jack's prize actually made me laugh out loud.

Q: What kind of books to planets read? (Keep reading to find the answer!) 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Message from Our Sponsors

I break my temporary radio silence to bring you this important and terrifying message:

Jeggings have found their way to the U.S. That is all.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I finally got my "free" Milwaukee bus pass which means classes must be starting soon. Somehow this was the impetus for getting back to blogging. I'll admit I drastically "checked out" this summer after I set down on US soil June 30th. Weeks of mixed emotions to follow. And I can pretty much sum up the plan to transcribe my backpacking extravaganza in one word. Fail.

Oddly, this summer "up north" has been hot as [fill in blank; options: hell, balls, the inside of a furnace, Brad Pitt, or all of the above] with Singapore-like humidity. All I want to do is pass out in my swimming suit on top of the air conditioner and avoid my equally hot laptop at all costs. As much as I hate our sub zero winters, this heat is just ridiculous. I am too young for hot flashes.

I have to give a "speech" on studying abroad tomorrow to a room full of bored freshman and even more antsy faculty. Hopefully I can muster some pep and keep the nervous palm sweating to a minimum.

I promise my travels will be accounted for soon. My time in Ireland, Portugal and Germany seem like a dream so hopefully when its verified by social media the trip will seem more real. Until then...stay golden.