Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dear Old State

Sunday night was an uncommonly cool night in San Francisco. I cuddled up in sweats and warm socks, curling my body into the sheets. Before nodding off, I caught the final moments of the evening news. Despite my exhaustion, I was suddenly awakened as local reports flashed the words “scandal” and “Penn State” across the screen – words I’d never pair together. Newscasters tossed in Joe Paterno’s name, plaguing him with blame for the ensuing sexual abuse of young boys. The allegations sent me reeling, and reviewing further negative and incriminating coverage the next morning elicited a dizzying effect.

Never have I hesitated to proudly wear my alma mater’s logos or name; never have I hesitated to chant “WE ARE” or the succeeding “PENN STATE” with fervor and pride; I know every word to our Alma Mater; I get chills when I look onto Beaver Stadium (now from a distance and via TV) and I emphatically defend Paterno’s prevailing value as head coach of the Nittany Lions.

Ironically, as reports of Ohio State’s tattoo scandal broke in the summer, I sat assured – and even delightedly relayed to friends – that Penn State would never be caught up such controversy, so long as Paterno was at the helm. While I’m one of millions of Penn State alumni, one of millions that worships Paterno’s legacy and impact to not only Penn State, but also college football, and I’ve never personally met him, he felt familiar. Growing up in a household where cousins, siblings and friends rallied together as fans and students, Paterno felt like family. I knew him only as an icon, but like many, I felt a bond with him.

For the major fans, college football is a bit like a religion. And although it’s controversial to state, Paterno was, in my eyes, God of college football. It seems dramatic to shed tears over the fall of a college football empire, but when you are raised praising his work, his morals and admiring his leadership, studying in his library, planning to name future dogs in his name - this news is a devastating and mind-altering blow. I guess this news is a bit like the first time a young child sees his parents hiding all the Christmas presents…

I’m not sure what to believe. In truth, I’m hoping somehow Paterno is cleared and it’s proven that he truly did do all that he could to prevent further altercations and was otherwise naive so that my instilled adoration for him isn’t all for naught. However, at this point, it looks like for the first time in 45 years, the Nittany Lions may take the field sans Joe Paterno.

Here’s some more perspective on the devastation of this news from Grantland.com.


For the Glory of Old State
For her founders strong and great.
For the future that we wait,
Raise the song, raise the song.

Sing our love and loyalty,
Sing our hopes that bright and free
Rest, O Mother, dear with thee
All with thee, all with thee.

When we stood at childhood’s gate,
Shapeless in the hands of fate,
Thou didst mold us dear old State
Dear Old State, dear old State.

May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Directions

After an unlikely beginning to my blog, I finally settled on writing about what permeated my thoughts most: life. Though "life" is certainly a broad topic, I channeled my angst and fears of as an early 20's gal - ambitious, confident yet anxious to realize my dreams - into a series of blogs where I reflected and shared my views on life in a new city and endeavoring to reach my goals.

As seasons changed, so did my life. 18 months have elapsed since I kicked off No Left Turn. In the ensuring months, I finally broke into public relations - an industry that marries together my love of research, writing, business, creativity and design (it's a bit polygamous) - I read a lot of books, drank a lot of wine and fell in love (obviously the most crucial game-changer). In any case, despite my meticulous planning for both my personal and professional life, life has taken me down an unpredictable, ever-vacillating path. (Case and point: I'm moving back to San Francisco after just six months in America's Finest City.)

And though the subject of my blog is "life," life itself has kept me captive, and filled in the time I used to find to let my fingers dance over the laptop keys and blog. (It's pretty apparent that I have not been as diligent as I was through 2010.)

Beyond a more hectic schedule and a job that finally allows me to delve into my passion for writing and creativity, I've also felt the urge to branch out and alter my blogging repertoire. In fact, I'm currently in the midst of plotting a collaborative, bi-coastal blog with a pal, Leslie. (Precise theme and focus... TBD.) Like me, Leslie is a fellow PR pro and Penn State alumna who tempers her nomadic spirit through her own blog. Our project will take some time to get off the ground, plan and execute... but the drive and passion is certainly there.

For now, No Left Turn remains in limbo. It's not a question of whether or not to write, but rather in what direction, and if I continue with this blog or start fresh and begin a new chapter elsewhere.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Father Knows Best

I always blast new blog posts (though recently they have been admittedly infrequent) to my parents. Normally, I'll get a thin comment posted by my mom, but last night's post even provoked my dad to lace up and jump into the literary game. I loved it and had to share:

"There is a down fall to all the print that is going to be lost................ Magazines will not be left in the bathroom or stuffed under the mattress. Old books in the future will be hard to discover in someone's attic. What are we going to put on our book shelves.. Kindles? What are we going to take to Antique Road Show... printouts? I think not! The upside is if you are in possession of print from a publisher twenty years from now you will be look upon as if you are in possession of the Hope Diamond because they will be priceless."

I tremble at the thought that soon the books that adorn my shelves will no longer showcase my favorite reads but rather slip to serve only as decorative clutter. Is the attack of technology going to replace books as efficiently as it consumed snail mail?!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An Ode to 944

Today 944 magazine, a free, monthly purveyor of trendy food, wine, night life and entertainment announced its official closing. The magazine failed to regain its balance after a 2010 Super Bowl scandal that forced the publication to declare bankruptcy.

Though its demise was result of some poor budgeting and financial forecasting, I mourn the loss of any print publication. Every day, more print publications shrink or fold (pun intended) to financial shortcomings as subscriptions and patrons fade away. Nonetheless, the art of writing perseveres, and where one print publication disappears, a new Internet outlet emerges.
Like a stream forging through the earth, writing will always find a path, regardless of how difficult the terrain.
Even though electronic content supplements and replaces the loss of a magazine, the satisfaction of grasping a tangible booklet can never be eclipsed by any blog or website.

There is a commercial for one of the reader tablets - Nook, iPad or Kindle - that juxtaposes a girl defending the therapy of reading with a book against a guy supporting the convenience of a tablet. Each argument the girl suggest to protect books (and thereby print publications as a whole) is trumped by the advantages of a tablet. Her final case is that no electronic copy grants readers with the satisfaction of folding a page to mark his or her place; immediately she acknowledge the triviality in her argument and reaches for his tablet.

... but I find that to be a valid point.

Am I the only one that finds half the pleasure in reading to be the act of running my fingers through the pages? I mourn the loss of any print publication because it marks yet another fallen kingdom within the printing empire.

R.I.P. 944

[If anyone can please share with me the YouTube video for the ad, I'd be very appreciative!]

Friday, May 13, 2011

It’s Time For Bluebells

April Showers Bring May Flowers

{{ And my birthday brings bluebells. }}

April is a finicky month in Pennsylvania. Bouts of flurries mingle with streaks of heat forcing residents to alternate apparel between winter sweaters and summer shorts. I remember preparing to store away my winter clothes after several days of sunshine only to relinquish once again and throw on a turtle neck to bear the grid of winter’s endurance.

But despite severely oscillating weather patterns, infallibly the bluebells would emerge in our garden on time to beckon in the official arrival of spring, and subsequently, my birthday (April 30).

Bluebells are martyrs. They emblazon the stark gray of winter once again with the hues of life. Tiny, blue trumpets cluster together around a sturdy green stem slightly arching to bear the weight as the flowers continue to bloom. Their bloom is fleeting, only lasting two weeks on average: suddenly coating the floor of the garden with an ankle-high rug of indigo and departing as abruptly as they arrived.

As a girl, I always looked for bluebells to denote the official defeat of winter and to celebrate another birthday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Brief Reprise

My sabbatical from No Left Turn was a much needed one. Shortly after retiring, I finally secured a job that coddles my ambitions and furthers my passion for writing. (If I had not been emphatically taught that correlation does not prove causation, I likely would be wary to never blog again!) During the "off season," I took on a freelance writing gig as a travel writer for Examiner.com, fell in love with Twitter and moved into a new apartment by the beach in San Diego.

Life is... good.

Several times throughout the last three months, I'd frequented my own blog and considered posting; however, instead, I turned to the traditional comfort of a journal. Once again I armed myself with a pencil and scribbled away the woes and triumphs of my thoughts on faint lines streamed across the pages (perhaps consequence of spending my work days waltzing with a keyboard and mouse). But tonight, nestled with a glass of wine and an over-sized sweatshirt, an email from my dad inspired me to revisit my blog- if not permanently, then at least for tonight.

The email, titled "Spooky Dune" contained a draft of an adventure manuscript written by my 84-year-old grandmother. Originally she had intended to complete and present the story to my sister and me before we both reached puberty. Time passes too quickly, and only when she found herself with idle time after my grandpa passed away was she able to construct the story from start to finish.

A fan of my writing, and a supporter of my ambitions, she invited me to work with her, as her editor. Even though I'm sure she regrets the years that elapsed beyond her initial deadline, the opportunity to collaborate with my grandma is even more special.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Moratorium

The inspiration for No Left Turn stemmed from watching the movie Julie & Julia. Like Julie, I was a young woman, discontent with the job I held and yearning to make public my passion and talent for writing. In Julie & Julia, Julie turns to blogging to her quench her thirst. Inspired, I was logged on and started my own blog.

I had no idea, at first, what theme I'd choose to guide my blog. But after attempts to channel my literary antics toward other topics, the undertones of my life kept surging within me, begging to be released. I couldn't ignore the pounding ache I'd awake with each day caused by the withdrawal of my college addiction. For four years, I had rode along the swell of academia, getting high off the fumes of dreams. The blog slowly allowed me to seep into what I thought would be a recovery...

There's a point toward of the end of Julie & Julia where Julie breaks down. The momentum has shifted, and suddenly she had allowed the release of the blog to consume her. Much like Julie, No Left Turn had consumed me. Instead of providing an introspective release, I internalized No Left Turn and the falls along the way became that much more amplified. It was after one considerable emotional breakdown when I realized I'd be 24 in a few months, and I was no closer than I'd been at 23... or 22... that I finally decided to pull the plug on the blog.

I don't plan to stop writing. I've been keeping diaries and journals since I was eight years old. In 5th grade, I raised my hand and announced to my entire class that I was an aspiring author. Writing is a part of me, and that passion could never be eroded. But the outlet has failed to ignite me with positive energy. And so, it is time to take a moratorium.

At the end of L'auberge Espagnole (one the BEST movies I've ever seen), Xavier realizes that he is not defined by only one part of his life- not his job, not where he lives, how he looks, dresses- he is defined by his journey in life. And even as a man, he still is the little boy who dreamed of writing books.

When you are moving toward an objective...it is very important to pay attention to the road. It is the road that teaches us the best way to get there, and the road enriches us as we walk its length.
– Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage

Sunday, January 16, 2011


It's a fairly common analogy to compare the process of interviewing to the process of dating. In both, two parties meet together to discuss views, interests and qualifications for a long-term partnership. Should the meeting go well, additional meetings are arranged to continue to investigate the potential for a relationship akin to that which both desire. If in the end if both find that the talents and skills on either end meet their needs, a relationship is established where the two continue to act in concert until cause for termination arises.

The similarities are infinite: beginning with having the proper chemistry (do you and your interviewer get along?) to physical appearance (any piercings, tattoos? tidy hair?) to the touchy subject of finances. Though most relationships don't require a signed contract prior to commencement, marriages are consummated with the exchanging of vows where each party commits to a doctrine of promises set to preserve their unity.

In the past few years, dating has become laborious, and sites like eHarmony and Match.com have sprung up to alleviate the hunt. Users create profiles to describe themselves and can search through various parameters to hone in on counterparts that possess those desired features. One party can reach out to the other allowing the second party to review and assess if their own needs could be fulfilled.

While online sites like Monster do share some similarities to the dating sites, the conversations tend to be one way. In this market, job openings appear to be like the "unattainable hottie" that appears on the dating site as if to taunt all those seeking. The "hottie" reviews innumerable responses yet rarely concedes to respond with minimal to any feedback. Yet despite a series of rejections, I trudge on, always battling the conflicting feelings of aspirations for the best, yet a sense of disparity that allows me to glance at the profiles beneath my set of standards.

As I gaze out into the stars, I wonder, will I ever find the job? And I whisper into the night sky,

{ "O job, job, wherefore art thou job?" }

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Love, Life & The Beatles

It seems to me that most of what I've learned about life could have been learned from listening The Beatles.
For example, the two principle lessons learned this year:

1. All you need is love: After all the months of self-induced turmoil, wishing I could follow my heart and pursue my dreams, I did. But despite initial aspirations for that passionate change to be tied to my career, I was compelled to move to San Diego for {love} of a boy, not a job.

There is a lot of criticism for anyone, but especially for girls, who step back from their careers and follow their heart. Society, for whatever reason, regards most highly those that neglect their personal lives in order to dig their heels in the corporate realm. Those that forgo individual success in order to pursue love are often dismissed as flighty and frivolous. When initially debating on whether or not to move for Jeff, I worried that I'd get locked into that category and lose credibility in my career. Surely, there will still be many that frown upon my decision. However, I'm confident that I will one day achieve that role where salary and passion align in absolute synergy, and the best part will be having someone to share my happiness with.

2. From Beautiful Boy-

{{ "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" }}

I have been a habitual planner my entire life. For whatever reason, I find such therapy in creating task lists to map out a basic agenda for the day (as menial as daily household chores and eating meals!) While the skill comes in handy when scoping out the logistics for events and cramped vacation schedules, I've had to step back and refrain from indulging too deeply in this habit. Despite my planning, I fell in love, and consequently fell off course. I didn't plan for this; it just... happened.

Life is a lot like surfing. (I can't surf, but I live by the beach now, so I feel it apt to relate the two.) You can be the most talented surfer, but unless you know how to wait for the right wave, you'll always catch yourself paddling through the best opportunities rather than riding them. As I continue to move through life, refining my skills and practicing as much as I can, I have to remember to be patient: I can't predict when I'll nail that perfect job opportunity any better than I can predict when I'll catch that perfect wave. But sometimes while we sit out there in the ocean, the tide pulls along in different directions, landing us further along the shore than we had planned, yet somehow right where we belong.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Not Alone

{I'm not alone}

Is it a plague of my generation? Is it just our age? Regardless of what this resistance to growing up is, I am not the only one experiencing it. You ask for proof? Check out my best friend's blog: another young adult searching to comprehend life and where to go next.

Not Yet a Woman

It's been difficult lately to find time to wail about the woes of not having the dream job when I've been fulfilling another life-long dream: love.

This weekend Jeff and I packed my life in San Francisco into boxes and bags and traveled to San Diego, where the streets are lined with palm trees, sunshine and our future together. Until permanent housing in found, we squeeze into his current room, rearranging furniture and flooding the closet with my clothing, pillows and blankets as we merged both of our lives into one. We are now officially "living in sin," as many would define it (since we don't sport wedding rings or share one surname) yet the truth of the matter is, there can't be anything sinful about it: a promise, regardless if it lacks a band a diamond, is a promise.

After we finished unloading and organizing, we collapsed and watched the end of the National Championship BCS bowl. It was the end of a very "grown up" day. After work, we'd spent our evenings doing laundry, cleaning and preparing dinner. Despite the simplicity of the evening, it is everything I hoped for since I was a little girl for my "adult life". Though I don't think I can remember a happier day, I suddenly worried that now we were officially adults.

I glanced over at Jeff and asked, "does this mean we have to be grown up?"

He smirked and answered, "we are who we are: one day we will be grown up, and the next, just kids."

Growing up, no matter how "grown up" your life becomes, never entirely takes over- at least, for me, not yet. Even Peter and Wendy, committed to staying children, can't entirely fight the sensation of love and growing up. Growing up doesn't happen systematically, that each ounce of adult added enters, a piece of child exits. It's an internal inflation where the two exist in a enduring symbiotic relationship.

And since I packed up my Barbies, I have been not a girl, not yet a woman. And now, a decade later, I'm still not a girl, not yet a woman.

{not sure I ever expected to be citing Miss Brittney on this site...}

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tpoys aer'nt so bad

Tonight while browsing the internet, searching for inspiration on current events to help spawn ideas on journalistic writing samples, I found a humorous yet fascinating blurb about the typo, and how minor its effect is:

I am guilty of the typo. There are times where I get too enthused on the subject and the words as a whole that I browse over my blogs quickly as I check for errors. (No excuses: I admit my weaknesses.) However, this does explain why it proves difficult to quickly pull out the typos in a piece, especially when I know how I want it to read.

Comforts of Responsibility

The holidays are over, and the grind of the work week is once again us.... or at least for those not picking up their lives and moving.

Reflecting on the time off, one friend noted how she was able to sleep 11-12 hours each night she was home with her family. "It was nice," she sighed. "I finally didn't have to worry since someone else was worrying about me."

It is nice. Not worry about locking the door at night, because Dad does that. Not having to turn off all the lights because Mom and Dad do that. Not having to stew over what you'll make for dinner because Mom already has the menu outlined for the week. Not having to plan or schedule what you'll be doing each day because Grandma, Aunt Linnea and the Weavers have already set up dinners, gatherings and parties respectively.

Each year as we get older, we are endowed with a bit more responsibility. First we are charged with remembering our lunch money and library books, then what time soccer practice is, or budgeting our allowance to fill our gas tank. In college, the lucky lot that are spared from managing student loans still gain the burdens of class schedules, applying for internships, recitations, studying and making sure the rent gets in on time. And though I can remember experiencing a slight sensation of stress at each stage of light when contemplating the next jump in responsibility (for example, my jaw dropped in kindergarten when I learned that in first grade I'd be liable for late fees on library books), though once I was steeped into that next stage, I found myself comfortable in the new role. There's a warmth in the feeling of independence and the capability of doing everything on your own.

Even though I found myself sauntering about my home town carefree, and leisurely drifting in and out of impromptu naps when food comas attacked, returning to the semblance of a normal routine feels good. And even though my days are cluttered with stuffing boxes and tearful goodbyes to friends, the cacophonous screech of the alarm almost sounds comforting.