This weekend, I went somewhere new, yet old. A good friend asked if I wanted to go to a local martini bar to see a band play. She had known a few of the players, so it sounded like a good idea to go see what they had to offer. Indeed, they were worth it.
I have gone to see many bands at bars. I have also been to many bars in this city, but this had a special little experience. No, it wasn't when I told the piano player he looked like Luke Danes. That was true, but that was silly. As we enjoyed our cocktails, we looked around and realized that we were really young. That never happens anymore so this was a huge moment for me. We looked around and saw older people that were overdressed, dolled up, ready to dance, and practically sitting on top of each other. I wish I could say it was creepy, but there was something oddly charming about it. Strangers were dancing with each other, seasoned couples were kicking it on the dance floor, and friends were just enjoying a drama free evening. One couple made it to the dance floor and I swear, everyone was smiling. The way the looked at each other after so many years of marriage was impressive.
Dancing is a lost art. Thanks to clutzy people like me, it will go the way of the Easter Island statues and Stonehenge. True love and loyalty is also lost. I can name couples of the true love nature on one hand. It is one thing to love someone, but another to be soul mates. These people were soul mates. I am a pessimist about love, but these folks make me want to be a better person. Or maybe it was just the martini..
Maybe I feel this way because I was a political science student, but I truly believe that having communication with your legislators, national, state, and local, is an essential part of the political process. I won't tell you what I have contacted my legislators about, but each time, I had very different experiences.
Earlier this year I emailed Todd Young and Joe Donnelly. Reasonably, they don't check these, nor answer these, but the message you get back addresses your general topic. I had a response from Donnelly within a day. I seriously almost high fived the computer. It was a very well thought out response and it was speedy. Young, was lacking. Young's camp didn't reply until after the vote I was opposing. They answered not with a thank you, but instead a this is why we are voting the way we are and sorry you don't agree. I will set one record straight. I have never once in my life called myself a democrat, but I was swaying like a flag on a windy day in Donnelly's direction.
Fast forward to today. I have been churning this idea in my head since the beginning of the month. I need to be sure to write something amazing to my local government officials to support sidewalk upgrades and repairs. I need them to give us more engaging things to do.
I emailed them all. It has been an hour and two responded. Both have been very kind and asked me questions back. I appreciate my officials taking the time to ask about me and learn my story. They can't do that though unless I introduce myself.
I am so excited to announce that I am going to be presenting in Chicago this December at the CASE V conference. My last presentation was near and dear to my heart, but since I didn't choose to do it, it wasn't as real. This time, I created the proposal, I submitted it, I got it approved, and then found two amazing co-presenters.
In my time volunteering with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, I feel like I have learned so much. I have learned how important it is to be involved in your community and how important it is to have pride in it. I believe I have succeeded in both.
Now my goal is for my work to match my personal life. Our presentation is an analysis of my work and my colleagues and different organizations as we try to retain our students in the region.
I can't go into all of the details because I would hate for anyone to steal our amazing plan, but I think this could be amazing. I think we could all use a little insight into how their communities and schools work.
Welcome to running season! Are you ready to brush off those shoes, hit the gym and train for countless hours only for an hour of getting completely sweaty and filthy? Normally I would be! One of my best friends and I live for this season every year. We have run in the Color Run 3 times, the Glow Run once, and one of my other friends prefers the vineyard trail. I have also had the pleasure of running in the Susan B Komen Race for the Cure. This year I am mildly bitter and angry that the Color Run didn't return, but I still support the cause. The great thing about some of these local races, is that they are benefiting local or national non-profits. Some people just hit the course for fun, but others prefer to know that their $40 registration fee is actually going somewhere.
These races are everywhere. I enjoy the big brand races, but in our community, we have various local races, yes even on bikes, that are all for a good cause. In most cases, this is a double positive. I know that many people out there are like me. You go to work, go home, watch Netflix, and your big exercise is going to the grocery store. Oh wait, that can be delivered now. Communities are taking action to get citizens healthy, get them involved, and to support local causes. Many races support Community Harvest Food Pantry. I think this is a fairly good group. The average middle class person doesn't know anything about the homeless or how hard getting food can be if you are poor. Another frequent flyer around this area is for veteran suicide prevention. I love this one. As an individual ho has battled with mental illness, I believe it is imperative to treat the people who really have a reason to run and hide. I just have chemical imbalances. Many of these people have seen things that they will never be able to forget.
It is great to go out and get exercise or try to get fit, but before you pay that registration fee, make sure it is going to someone who needs it.
Today, I had the amazing opportunity to go on a tour of the soon to be Electric Works campus in Fort Wayne. This is the historic GE campus that is located just south of Fort Wayne. This 33 acre campus is going to be revitalized in the next few years. These old buildings will soon be house markets, educations, eateries, breweries, and lofts.
It is hard to see the potential through the old chipping paint and the dust, but you have to be creative. We walked into buildings and I envisioned a market like Seattle. I envisioned people carrying fresh flowers in baskets, fresh produce from local farmers, and kids running around and playing in fountains. I could see our alums opening small businesses and shops that will be the talk of the ton. I could see art galleries from local artists. I could see new entertainment and visually appealing architecture.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity Fort Wayne. We can't wait!
Friday night marked my third TinCaps game of the season. I was super excited to attend this game because it was my first time attending in a suite. I don't know if I could ever go back to regular seats!
It really is amazing how many conversations have come back to this team lately. I publicly defended and cheered for them a few weeks ago when they were on the road, I organized my alumni association's night, and I still had 2 games left to go to. I was sitting in a meeting on Wednesday and we were asked if we remembered what it was like before this team. Yes. We had the wizards. That was a sad excuse of a team. I honestly don't remember the playing, but I remember the field. It sat on the parking lot of the Coliseum and it honestly reminded me of going to a high school baseball game.
When the TinCaps came, I finally felt like we had something to be proud of as baseball fans. I grew up going to Comiskee Park and Victory Field. This was so much more beautiful. I loved the apple themed snacks, the cleanliness, the mascot, the dancers... it was just perfect. We had something that no one else had.
However many years later, I still believe that. I still think that this is the best team, best park, and best atmosphere. I look forward to my next game tomorrow. I look forward to looking back on the memories from the previous games. Most of all, I am thankful that someone took a chance and gave Fort Wayne a chance for good, clean entertainment.
If you are ever looking for something simple yet rewarding to do with your life, get a little brother or sister. Obviously I am not saying you should convince your grown parents to re-start their lives with new children. You need to take some of your precious time and donate it to a child that is in need.
This past year, I somehow came to the conclusion that I didn't volunteer enough. I honestly don't know how I came to that conclusion, but I did. I just went to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website and signed up! Forewarning, this is not a quick process. If you are in this for praise and accolades, go look somewhere else. It takes weeks to get your application processed and even longer to get placed with a child that is compatible with you. It is worth the wait.
I was placed with the most hilarious girl. I expected the worst because I quite literally said I would take anyone. I didn't care about handicaps or any problems. My little was pretty darn perfect to me. She had a sassy sense of humor, a little attitude, and we liked a ton of the same things. Her friends were always dying to hang out with me, but alas they couldn't. I brought crafts to do during lunch, we played board games (unsuccessfully), and we chatted.
I couldn't believe that the school year was almost over. She asked if I would come for the last week of school and of course I had to come. I went out to recess for the first time, lunch had open seating, and I had my first ever junk food lunch to enjoy and celebrate there. At recess, a line of girls at recess gave me weeds (they thought they were flowers). At lunch, all of the girls crowded around me while we talked about summer, cats, school, and friends. They wanted to see pictures of me when I was younger and show me their fidget spinners. One of the girls even said she wished I was her big sister. My heart broke. My little and I have a blast. These other girls and boys want the same thing.
This is the most exceptional program. Thank you Big Brothers Big Sisters for giving me the opportunity to impact these children in a positive way.
My generation has it right. It is incredibly annoying when we get blamed for all of the pain and laziness of the world, but I am fairly certain, that is just not the case. I recently read an article that claimed that millenials can’t retire because they eat avocado toast. First off, how do you know our retirement plans when the oldest of us are in our early thirties. Second, what is this and how did I not know about it?
In the past few years, I have noticed a major insurgence of local businesses feeding the masses. Quaint local eateries are everywhere. I even have friends who refuse to go to places like Applebee’s. I never would have gone to any of these places in my hermit life. Since I joined my book club and other social groups, I find myself hopping to different amazing eateries. Here is my challenge to you local businesses and chains. I will list the top 5 places in Fort Wayne according to my judgment and by the raves I hear. I will also do a rank of bests bar service. If you disagree, invite me out and I will review you myself.
The Hoppy Gnome
I have nothing but pleasant things to say about this place. I was terrified of the menu for quite a while, but they were serving at Zoo Brew and Wine Too and they hooked me. It took me a while to go in because I had no idea what I ate, but I found it. The Korean Short Rib is to die for. The Mahi Mahi is also a dream. You also can’t leave without the smores. Just don’t try.
The Friendly Fox
Sometime after the continuous comparing of different restaurants, our book club decided that the Friendly Fox was the only place to go. I can’t resist the BLT or the flatbread. The ever-changing local art is just one of the charms that makes this place feel like home.
Wine Down Tastings and Tapas
I have yet to meet a menu item that is bad. The service is impeccable, I have even gone in just for the food. If you go, just try the sweet potato fries with the awesome pumpkin ketchup.
I think the draw from the chefs helped this place. It is pricey, but it is pretty worth it.
Yummi BunniI went there. I had to add unhealthy food to the list. I mean, isn’t that the best kind? This is the new thing. Who would have imagined?
You are served by a real Irish person if you are lucky. It is still my favorite chill spot after all of these years.
Two Words. Lady Stark.
They have wine vending machines. Oh and this drink called a smoked old fashion. It is kinda the shit. Just go.
I’m not an alcoholic. I love tea. They have amazing tea. Try the Matcha.
I am typically a wine drinker now that I am older. This is the only place that I feel obligated to have a fancy martini and not feel bad about it. It will take at least 5 minutes to decide which one I want to knock me on my ass though. Worth it.
The first day of my month of relaxation was truly amazing. Work has been very interesting the past few weeks. I have started to feel lost. So many choices are in front of me. It is hard not make crazy decisions sometimes. On Wednesday, my best friend texted me and said that Two EE’s is having a sale over the weekend. Luckily, I was also hanging out with another friend who was in desperate need of some W&R. Sometimes you just need to take a few hours and go back to the basics.
For anyone who hasn’t been to Two EE’s Winery, you are missing out. It feels like this place has been around forever, but I think the owners are probably my age. It is by far the best wine I’ve had. Bonus… locally owned. It is always busy, has a rocking food truck, live music, and the wines are great. Friday was especially great because we had Sol Kitchen truck. Amanda and Jessica both were happy to join in the festivities of table hunting, wine slushy drinking, and bottle sharing.
As I was sitting with these two friends, memories of how much we have all been through came back. I have been friends with Amanda for 12 years and friends with Jessica for 10 years. Both of these ladies come from different words. One is from my Kokomo world and the other is from my Fort Wayne world. It was so funny sharing stories about how many times we almost died and how much trouble we have gotten in. It is like these parallel lives that occasionally swerve and intersect. As we get older, I cherish these moments of pure humor where we are all just laughing at absolutely nothing and make fun of all of the people bringing babies to the winery.
Friends are fine wines. They all have different flavors, different colors, and get better with age. It takes a few hours of going back to the people that know you the best in order to really get to know yourself and who you wish you still are.
I have been hearing a lot about mentors lately. It wasn't until I worked in higher education that this word became a part of my everyday vocabulary. Some people are uncomfortable by them and some people swear by them. I just want to know where you get them?
I have had the privilege of working with amazing people, men and women, at all of my places of employment. I looked up to these people, attempted to model myself after them, but I don't know if I could call any of them mentors. Mentors seem more like a reciprocal relationship where one person knows that they are hot stuff and the other is not. The cool guy/gal is in turn supposed to be very Yoda like and teach the young Skywalker how to be just like them.
Here is my ad:
Young perfectionist, hard worker, and who probably needs to broaden her horizons, is seeking mentor. Mentor should be friendly, yet honest and to the point. No sugar coating. Mentee may need to be reminded what life is like outside her bubble. Mentor must love volunteering ant the community so mentee and mentor and make huge strides together.
PS This is unrealistic. If so many careers are advocates and even require mentoring relationships, should this be a normal step in order for young employees to advance?
Experiencing interpersonal relationships with people who are not your direct co-workers can be very rewarding. Maybe we can learn to get to know each other and learn something new.