Friday, July 29, 2011

Eleven months later.

At my office, I have a plant on my windowsill.

This plant is unnamed. We jokingly refer to it around the office (okay, three of us do) as "Collaboration", because I got it at collaboration-themed luncheon for a different agency.

This plant and I have been through a lot together. I got it at the beginning of the year, maybe 2 months in to my time with PULSE/ELDI. It has been on my windowsill ever since. 

Today at work I was gchatting with Anna (shh...don't tell anyone) and I looked to my left to the plant. She grew! Over the past 9 months, she grew. That ivy is way bigger than it was at the beginning of my journey at ELDI.

Of course, Anna and I were at that exact moment discussing how we can't believe that PULSE is "over". We have lived in our big old home and worked at our placements for 11 months. We were also talking about how much we've grown over the past year.

Way to go, Plant, for being an incredibly tangible metaphor and example of what has happened to me over the past year.

I am really in disbelief that the year is already over. This is such a cliche, but really, it feels like I blinked and the year is gone. Looking back, I can tell that a lot has happened. But in the day to day, the time just goes quicker than I ever imagined.

I'm so thankful for this year. Just the other day, I tweeted that I can't believe that I'm trusted to do my job sometimes. Just because it feels like I'm way unqualified and too young to be doing this for real. If anything, this year has taught me that I am definitely qualified. I can do this whole "I am a grownup and have a real job thing." And it happened while I wasn't even looking.

But instead of having a "real job", I'm going to continue in PULSE. I don't think I've really talked about this here yet, so here it goes: I'm going to keep my position at ELDI and continue to be a part of the PULSE program. In my second year (blazing new trails), I'll be doing lots of informational interviews and I'll lead a couple of seminars. I also get to help with PULSE's social media efforts. 

I truly believe this is what I have been called to do with the next year of my life. Living, working and growing in the East End of Gotham City...I mean, Pittsburgh.

(Because the Bat Signal on Fifth Avenue Place is too cool not to mention in this post. Obviously.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Growing up is hard, man.

I know practically every 20-something says this, but why don't they give you a manual when you graduate from college? Really, a small guide (20 pages or so, with pictures) with tips and instructions on important grown-up knowledge would be awesome. Because I don't know how to do this.

I'm expected to be responsible for my own well-being. To go to the doctor and the dentist and the optometrist on a (semi-, insurance-dictated) regular basis. How much should I pay for health insurance? Do I need renters' insurance?

I'm expected to know things like, how much am I "worth" to an organization? And what's an appropriate amount to pay for rent in my neck of the woods?

Being grown up and living on your own (because let's face it, PULSE isn't really living on your own at all) means that you have a lot to do. How do you put in a security deposit? How do you set up your utilities? Budget, or pay by the month? Where do you get all the furniture to sit on and sleep on?

Recently, a lot of these questions have come up. And I realized that I have absolutely no idea about how to answer any of them on my own. I've had to learn a little lesson in humility.

I'm usually the type who likes to have all the answers. I don't think I'm necessarily arrogant about my knowledge, but I don't like to admit when I don't know something. But this grown-up stuff is serious. I can't just fudge my way through getting utilities, because then I'll end up stealing electric from the neighbors with an extension card, and fry myself a la Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. Then, since I made up the insurance process as I went along, I wouldn't even have medical coverage to nurse me back to health.

So you see my predicament. Either make a go of it on my own and probably screw up royally, or ask for help. So, I've asked for help. A lot more often than not, lately. It's kind of hard to do sometimes, but it's also an immense relief and blessing to have someone else tell me the answers to all of life's big questions (like, how much water will we use in one month?).

I'm going to get started on that life guide for college graduates. Any tips to include? ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011


Still coming down from my post-vacation high/low. That point where you really miss vacation and the relaxation it brought, but you are also glad to be back to your space and routine, reminiscing about the wonderful time you had in [fill in the blank].

So, here are some random bits.

1. Google+
Do we like, or do we not like? Warning--lazy snobbery about to commence. I feel like I have built a relatively extensive network on Facebook and Twitter, both of which took a while to build. Even if it wasn't that hard, it still took awhile.

Right now, I have about 10 (maybe?) people that have been added into my "circles". I don't really know if I feel like putting in the time to find more people; maybe Google+ will be more passive for me (at least at first?). One thing that I do appreciate so far, however, is that I don't have to share everything with everyone. I can select circles with which I'll share different information.

So, add me on Google+? I go by my full first name.

2. Airports
Because a 9+ hour car ride isn't my idea of a good time, I flew to Raleigh, NC to visit my sister, brother-in-law and niece (now 1 year old!!!!!) for 9 days of relaxing, family time, babysitting, and birthday parties.

It was splendid. Relaxing but not, and isn't that always vacation? I'm glad I went. The return home is always hard--I hate, HATE leaving that baby and my sis and BIL--and this time was worse as we were delayed for an hour.

But when I landed in Pittsburgh and stepped off the plane, I smelled it. Home. The Pittsburgh International Airport has a distinct smell for me and while I can't put my finger on just what it is, I know that it smells like home. Pittsburgh, I love you.

But let's talk about this for a second. Pittsburgh, PA is about an 9 hour car ride (including stops) from the Raleigh suburbs where my family lives. NINE hours. That's a lot of driving, or conversely a lot of waiting at the airport for a quick flight on one of those dinky little "feel every bump" planes.

I propose that we cut out all the stuff between the two and make Pittsburgh and Raleigh about 30 minutes from each other.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Can't get enough Pictory

This is just too amazing not to share--especially numbers 1 and 13 (for me).

Secrets of Inspiring Women - Celebrating Pictory's first anniversary with advice worth repeating. – Pictory

"I may be just another girl chasing challenge and chance in the big city, but my life is important. And I am living it that way."