Coming Attractions: SUMMER

The weird thing about working in education is that I still view the year starting at the end of August and ending at the end of May, just like I did when I was a student. Unfortunately, I’m no longer a student and I don’t get that nice summer vacation that my students do. Some professors and administrators (and other people who have no idea what we do in my office) think that we either don’t work during the summer or that the summer is incredibly slow. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! The summer is actually one of our busiest times of year – with fewer students on campus, there’s finally some time to do all the things we couldn’t finish during the school year. The first thing on that list for me is cleaning my office – I don’t even want to talk about what it looks like right now.

But enough about work…what am I doing with my summer?? Check it out below! (Okay, fine, some of these things will involve work…sorry.)

May

Classes just ended, so I’m listing all the fun stuff starting with this coming weekend…which is when I am going to see The Killers in concert again!! After that, I get to attend the annual Junior League dinner and chaperone a trip to Atlantic City. I get to bring a bus buddy, so my friend Kristy will be coming to AC with me. At the end of the month, I’ll be moving into my new apartment.

I saw The Killers last summer in concert. So excited to see them again!!

June

June kicks off with the Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse sale. I went last year with both my little and another sorority sister, Jackie. Jackie is coming back down again this year and I’m crossing my fingers that my favorite Lilly Pulitzer dress will be there and in my size.  I don’t think I have any other social plans for June, but I will be working on housing assignments for the incoming students which should take up quite a chunk of time.

This is what happens when sorority girls go to a Lilly Pulitzer sale AND outlet shopping in the same weekend.

July

July starts with a nice long weekend thanks to how the 4th of July holiday falls. I was on duty the last two 4th of July weekends, so I’m going to make sure I don’t have to take duty that weekend this year! I’m not sure what I’m going to do during 4th of July, but I’ve been discussing some ideas with my friends. Later that month is my family reunion in Upstate New York.

Lilly loves getting to go out on the boat.

August

Unfortunately I don’t get to do too much in August…we have RA training. We are changing up RA training so I’m actually looking forward to it. My birthday is in August, so I’ll have to celebrate it before training and after classes start.

Reno celebrating my birthday last year with some random Berks County hipsters.

…just noticed that I didn’t include cleaning my office on here…whoops. I’m hoping to cross a bunch of things off my list and hopefully add some new ones!

117. Visit My Sisters in Boston

When I first graduated, most of my friends still lived in the Rochester area. Now that it’s been a few years, my friends have scattered themselves all over the country. A few of my sorority sisters, including my best friend Ariel, are currently living in Boston. I love the city of Boston and I hadn’t seen Ariel in nearly two years, so I was really excited when Jackie, Ariel, and I started planning this trip in December!

Ariel and I five years ago.

Ariel and I five years ago.

The Good?

Fajitas and ‘Ritas! Fajitas and ‘Ritas is a Tex-Mex restaurant in Boston that specializes in fajitas and margaritas. Ariel, Jackie, and I met my friend Sam there and had a very filling lunch that started in typical us-fashion by spilling half a pitcher of margarita all over our table. Next time I go to Boston, I’m definitely parking my butt there for a few hours.

This is why we can't have nice things.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Going Out I don’t really go out much in Reading. I like staying home and hanging out with my best friend aka my free-loader roommate aka my dog. Ariel and Jackie are on the same page as me, but we planned one staying in night and one going out night. We had so much fun on our going out night AND Ariel had an Uber coupon so we basically got home for free. I really liked the place we went (I unfortunately cannot remember the name), mostly because I was with my friends, it wasn’t too crowded, and they were playing good music.

Freezing our butts off at the bus stop!

Freezing our butts off at the bus stop!

Sunday Brunch On Sunday morning, we found ourselves sitting in the living room debating between going to a diner or driving a little further to this farm with a restaurant on it. We chose the farm-restaurant. The restaurant itself was tiny and there was a long wait, but it was SO worth it! I was going to get my usual (eggs benedict) but then saw that they had lobster eggs benedict. When in Rome Boston!

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.

Reunited and it feels so goooodJust being in the same place at the same time was enough for me! I’ve noticed that whenever I’m on adventures with my sorority sisters, we manage to turn wherever we’re staying into a mini-version of our sorority house. Ariel’s apartment was no different. With our arrival, there was suddenly an abundance of monogrammed shirts, purple everything, Disney princess cups, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and clothes everywhere. Some of my favorite moments of the trip were just sitting around talking.

IMG_3813

The Not-So-Good?

Craft Show Ariel purchased tickets to this major craft show for us to go to over the weekend. It was actually a lot smaller than we expected it to be and everything that was there was SUPER expensive – furniture, glass sculptures, other stuff we could never dream of affording or creating ourselves. Probably the only reason we somewhat enjoyed it was that we went straight there from Fajitas and ‘Ritas.

We didn’t see our other sisters. Plans fell through with the two other sisters we were supposed to see that weekend. I actually haven’t seen Laurel and Kadley since I graduated, so that was kind of crummy. It didn’t help that our “plans” consisted of “let’s text each other later” which is literally my least favorite way to make plans. Luckily our sorority’s big twenty year celebration is next year, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing them (and everybody else) next spring.

Sebbie’s “special treat”. Ariel has a GIANT dog named Sebastian. He is unaware that he is giant and will try to sit in your lap. He is especially a fan of looking you in the eye, meaning he puts his paws on your shoulders and gives you a good stare down. The first night we were there, Ariel, Jackie, and I went to the store to get some things to make dinner. Jackie and I both are dog owners, so we took the normal precautions – zip everything or put it where the dog can’t get it. Apparently Sebbie knows how to use a zipper and we came home to find tampons EVERYWHERE. Hope those tasted good, Seb!

I can't imagine that they tasted very good.

I can’t imagine that they tasted very good.

 

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and MUCH too short! Jackie is coming down for the Lilly Pulitzer warehouse sale in June and I think both Ariel and Jackie are going to come down once I’m in my new apartment. Here’s hoping my sisters and friends continue moving cool places so I can do some more traveling!

119. Meet all the Littles I Haven’t Met Yet

I write about my sorority occasionally every single chance I get. Clearly I enjoyed my experience. A lot of people that aren’t involved in Greek Life question how a fraternity or sorority differs from any group of friends. There are a lot of ways that the Greek experience is different, but few of them are tangible. There’s really no way to explain exactly what is brotherhood or sisterhood. One thing that’s NOT standard in most friend groups is the idea of Bigs and Littles. And like plenty of sorority women, I think that my big is the smartest human being on the face of the planet and that my little is perfect.

Look at that perfection right there!

Look at that perfection right there!

Thanks to the ever-continuing tradition of Bigs and Littles, I now have a sizable family tree. My aging, post-grad brain can’t handle learning the name of every single new member, but I always get excited for a new addition to the family line. I would love to be able to meet all of them as they are welcomed to the family, but, you know, post-grad problems, I have a job and stuff. The next thing I knew, I had multiple generations of littles down the chain that I hadn’t met yet!

Big Little Night with the fam in 2011

Big Little Night with the fam in 2011

In March, I made it back to Rochester for the first time in ages and was able to meet all of the littles during multiple events throughout the weekend. I felt crazy old…I’m a big to the 5th! (And yes, I just had to count down the chain on my fingers.)

My L4 Jenna, me, my L5 Amanda, and the original little Heather

My L4 Jenna, me, my L5 Amanda, and the original little Heather

RML!

RML!

I hope to see more of my littles (all the littles) throughout this project and include them on some of my goals!

Just Another Manic Monday…

I’m back from Joplin, but unfortunately I’m sick AND it’s a very busy week at work, so I’m not sure when I’m going to be write my Joplin post. For now, I’ll just leave you with my newest Joplin video!

In other exciting news, I found out that I’m going to be moving at the end of May! The building that my apartment is in is going to be renovated over the summer, so I needed to go somewhere. At first there was talk of just moving me for the summer, but the idea of having to move twice (during check out and RA training) made me incredibly anxious. There was a period of time that I knew I was moving but just didn’t know where I was going at that was pretty nerve wracking too. Right before I left for my trip, I found out where my new apartment was going to be and now that there’s only eight weeks to go, it’s time to start packing!

Going through my list, I noticed that a lot of items had to do with where I live. It looks like a lot of things are going to be crossed off during the moving process…I REALLY want to get rid of stuff before I move. Another exciting thing about this move – my new apartment will have a dishwasher AND a washer and dryer. Now that I’m back in Pennsylvania, I kind of just want to skip ahead to the point where I actually move!

Volunteering

This was originally going to be part of my “Manic Monday” post, but as I started writing, I realized it was easily turning into it’s own post! Volunteering is something that helps me get involved in my new communities as I move, so I’m more than happy to write an entire post on it!

The first time I can remember volunteering was when I was maybe nine or ten. I was with my Girl Scout troop and we were helping to pack boxes at the local food bank. I knew the boxes were going to “poor people” but I didn’t think they were in my own town. One of the girls from the troop wound up sneaking a peak at the list of families getting these packages and all of the sudden she blurted out, “C—, why is your family on this list?!” We were all so stunned! I remember being appalled by the one girl’s behavior – she was going out of her way to look at a confidential list, which was bad enough, but then to call a “friend” out in front of everybody?? I couldn’t believe it. I was also shocked that a family from our town, let alone a family I knew, needed help. It made me realize that you can’t always “see” when somebody is in need of help.

Through Girl Scouts and various other programs, I frequently volunteered in my community until I graduated high school. My favorite opportunity from Connecticut was to help out at a summer school/day camp for students with special needs. These students ranged anywhere from having really hard to control ADHD all the way to having severe mental disabilities. Several students didn’t speak at all. When I went to college, it was harder to find ways to volunteer. I was living in a brand new community, so I didn’t know WHERE to look for these opportunities. My contributions at that time were limited to helping out with food drives.

My sorority highly values both service and philanthropy. By this point, service was an old hat, but philanthropy was something completely new to me. I was a broke college kid – I had never donated my (non-existent) money to any cause and I had never run any sort of fundraiser. My pledge class and I collected cans to raise money for a local animal shelter and my senior year, I was Mr. RIT chair! I was still able to help out my hometown as well – one of my pledge sisters was from my hometown and shortly before Christmas one year, we held an event at the house to make Christmas cards which we then distributed to nursing home residents at my grandma’s nursing home.

Mr. RIT 2009

When I started at the University of Delaware, I quickly found ways to volunteer. I hosted a “Day of Service” project my first year which gave me one of my favorite UD memories – we ran out of bread for the “PB&J Jam”, so I ran out to buy more. When I returned, it was POURING so I asked some RAs to meet me at the door. The RAs and residents participating in the program actually made a line stretching from my car into the building and passed everything down fireman brigade style. I WISH I had a picture of it. Back then, “Day of Service” was only complex-wide, but it soon became a campus event and now various alumni groups hold their own service events the same day that UD is hosting Day of Service. This year I met up with some alum from Reading to volunteer at an animal shelter.

My favorite organization that I got involved with at UD was the Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation. I had heard Andrew’s story years and years prior when I was still going to RIT. My then-boyfriend was from Wilmington and had siblings that had attended school with Andrew. The B+ Foundation’s goal is to raise money for children’s cancer research and to assist families with expenses they are unable to cover. I got to personally meet Joe McDonough twice during my time at UD – the first time he came to speak to my staff as we were racing money for UDance and the second time I invited him to come to speak at Widener University during my internship. My favorite part about working with B+ is that they emphasize that every little bit helps. At Widener, Joe McDonough told the story of how just $400 was able to get a little girl a portable oxygen container so she could fly home and spend her final days at her own house with her family members and dog.  I really hope I get to work with B+ again.

Since moving to Reading, I’ve continued to volunteer in my community and in other parts of the country. I joined Junior League a few months after moving here and have been able to help with several organizations that serve the children of Reading. I’m planning on doing a separate post on Junior League later this week! I was also asked by my students to be a trip advisor for Alternative Spring Break. I said yes without even knowing where I was going to be going or what I was going to be doing. I wound up going to Joplin, Missouri to help with two organizations and in just a few days, I’ll be heading back!! I’m super excited and Joplin is DEFINITELY getting its own post! 

If you have any favorite volunteer stories, be sure to leave them in the comments!

With a D and an E…

It’s Formal Recruitment Week at Albright! As much as I dread this week each year, I also love it. Nothing makes me happier than to see everybody jumping around on Bid Day and making memories that will last a lifetime. Recently I’ve had a bit more involvement with my sorority sisters – I’m going to be seeing some in a few weeks for Formal AND I was assigned a new member pen pal!! To continue my “everything sorority” obsession, I just finished the book “Sorority Sisters” by Claudia Welch and LOVE LOVE LOVED IT. It reminded me not only of my friends that I made through my sorority, but my friends that I made from the music department and still keep in touch with to this day. I seriously wanted to call every single person once I finished that book. Since I don’t exactly have the time to write an entirely new post, I’ve taken bits and pieces from a post I wrote for another site back in the day! Enjoy!

Why I THINK I Joined a Sorority

It’s no secret that I was in a sorority during my time at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Unlike some of the people I joined with, I haven’t “outgrown” it. I still try to get back for larger events and while I don’t keep in touch with everybody, I do my best to keep in touch with those I was closest with. One of my friends from Junior League said that she goes on a trip with her entire pledge class every year. Eighteen women. Ten years. That’s kind of awesome.

Probably my favorite picture from the trip!

Me, my big, and my little in Disney World. We’re trying to make an annual trip a thing.

People frequently asked why I joined a sorority. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it was never my intention to join a sorority. In fact, I spent most of my first year hating the sororities at RIT because one put a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve found that my answer to that question has changed over the past few years, probably because my feelings towards my sorority have changed. I’m not saying there was ever a point where I didn’t like it, not at all! It’s just that being active is very different that being an alum.

(Some of) my wonderful boys! The closest thing I had to a sorority…before joining and sorority.

I think I first joined because I really didn’t have any female friends. I am still super close with the guys I spent most of undergrad with (we have yearly vacations!) but let me tell you, things get awkward FAST when you’re on a day trip with all guys and realize that you need a tampon. There was only so much that I could talk about with my guy friends, especially if (when) it involved GUY DRAMA… #awkwardcollegeproblems.

Bid Day!

As I got closer to my last preference night ritual, I realized that I was going to have to tell all these potential new members about why I joined my sorority. This was towards the end of my senior year and I had been reflecting on the past four years, including my rough transition from high school to college. Something that one of my home friends said to me that first year seemed to apply to my joining a sorority…I was a fish that was always looking for a bigger pond. Once I got comfortable with being at college, I needed to find a new challenge. That challenge was joining a sorority and thrusting myself into a new group of people that I had never met before….because you know, that hadn’t happened enough my freshman year. So at that last ritual, I told all these girls that I joined to take on something new…and let me tell you, my sorority let me try TONS of new things!

I was Mr. RIT Chair and even wound up on the news!

Now that I have been out for a few years, I think I joined because I NEEDED sisters. I’m an only child and very recently had to see my mother and her siblings care for their aging mother. They struggled. There’s only one of me. It terrifies me to know that some day I will have to take care of my parents without any help. Not to mention the mere idea of not having parents…at least if you have siblings you have SOMEBODY. I have tons of close friends, but at the end of the day they have their siblings. Heck, even most of my sisters have actual sisters. I know that my sorority sisters will always have my back, but I still always wanted somebody that was just mine…and then I met my big. My big is also an only child. She has cousins that she is close with, but while many people go to older siblings for advice and to talk about important stuff, my big and I have each other. She’s put up with me hating…just about everything and I’ve helped her navigate surviving life after college ends (side note – that would be an AMAZING book title…just saying) and we bounce ideas back and forth constantly.

My big and I at her graduation party. Sometimes, we wear our hair the same way.

Just like I didn’t (and still don’t) have a set reason for joining a sorority, there are MANY reasons to go Greek. There are still so many negative perceptions out there and I nearly fell for them! I always encourage students to check it out…the worst that is going to happen is you won’t like it. If any of my lovely sisters are reading this, please comment below so I know you’re out there! If you’re a student reading this, check out the Greek Life at your college!!

Hamming it up at 15 Year.

Twist-a-thon!

My unplanned attendance at a Cops and Robbers social.

 

 

 

 

 

A Haunting in Pennsylvania

I read the Wikipedia article for “The Haunting in Connecticut” after I typed the title. That was probably a poor idea.

My apartment is haunted. I’m sure everybody says that their place of living is haunted at one point or another. You misplace something or hear a strange noise and BAM! Haunted! I think I’ve even made jokes about my apartment being haunted before. Just as recently as last week, I referred to the strange noise that the fridge makes as “the aliens in the kitchen” (okay, so not ghosts, but still paranormal).

Before we get into the good stuff, a bit of necessary back story. About five months after my roommate Lilly moved in, one of my neighbors complained that she barked a lot. This surprised me because Lilly’s rather quiet, considering what she’s mixed with. My mom actually thought that something might be wrong with her because she didn’t bark for the first three weeks I had her. She’s since become a bit more vocal and barks at normal dog things, like when the doorbell rings on a TV show, but I was certain that she did not spend all day barking. I was told that I needed to do something about it, so I wound up buying the Dog Monitor app. My iPad sits in the kitchen watching the door and I can check in on her via my iPhone. I’ve had the app for a few months now, so I’ve gotten pretty good about recognizing certain sounds and knowing where they are coming from. (Oh and in case you were wondering, the dog doesn’t spend all day barking.)

Lilly in her cage during the day. This is what the Dog Monitor app shows me.

Recently, I had an incident where somebody entered the apartment without my knowledge. I was at work and heard someone knocking on the door, followed by someone keying in and yelling, “Hello?” It was just a man from the alarm company, but it scared Lilly and she became not the biggest fan of cage time after that incident. However, I would have never known that it had happened had it not been for my trusty Dog Monitor.

This is Lilly doing her best impersonation of Dobby the House Elf.

Last week, something even more disturbing happened. I was at work when all of the sudden I started hearing this music. It wasn’t a song or tune that I recognized. My co-worker Melissa described it best – she said it sounded like a music box. It was also rather loud. My first thought was that some link I had clicked had music on auto-play. I checked my browser real quick, but nothing there. Then I noticed that my phone was lit up. I picked it up and sure enough the music was coming from my phone through the Dog Monitor app. (I know it sounds absolutely crazy and I’m glad that Liz and Melissa heard it as well otherwise I’d probably have myself committed.) The music lasted about a minute. I’ve tried to come up with some rational explanation for it, but I can’t. It was too long to be someone’s cell phone and the monitor wouldn’t have picked up on it unless it was in the apartment. I don’t know how it could have been an electronic in my apartment – the TV would have needed to turn itself on and then off. I tried to put it out of my mind and carry on with my day.

When I got home from work, I decided to straighten my hair. When I sat down at my dressing table, I noticed that there was a crack in the glass on my jewelry box. I sit at that table every day to do my hair and makeup and had not noticed the crack that morning. I remembered that I had taken a picture of my table a few days prior, so I checked the picture. No crack. I looked around the jewelry box. Nothing had fallen on it, at least nothing that was still out of place. I remembered the strange music from earlier in the day and called my friends. And then, instead of straightening my hair at my apartment, I shoved my stuff into a bag and got ready at a friend’s house. I did not want to be in that apartment!

They say bad things come in threes and the third is what made me finally call security. Before my shower last night, I went to put my earrings into my jewelry box. Yes, the one with the broken glass. When I opened the box, I saw that all of the contents had shifted as if someone had picked it up and tilted it. I normally don’t go into this box, so contents should have been organized instead of laying in a heap. The only logical explanation that I could think of was that someone entered my apartment while I was at work…and seriously at this point I prefer the idea of a burglar to a ghost!

So then I had to send the weirdest email of my life…how exactly do you tell someone that your apartment was either broken into (but nothing was taken) or a supernatural being has taken up residence without coming off as crazy?? Luckily security thought it was just as weird as I did and they sent someone over to make sure that my door wasn’t busted or anything. But seriously how crazy is that?! Melissa invited me to sleep over her apartment, but I decided to be brave lazy and stay in my own bed. Lilly’s at my parents’ for the week, so I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t have her to protect me, but I survived the night! Too bad “having a totally freaky experience” wasn’t on The List…could have crossed one more off!