Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Creating a Quilt

When I was in third grade, my paternal grandmother sent each of us four kids a quilt, each similar but slightly different. Mine was lavender. They became our companions, accompanying us on road trip vacations, joining us on the couch for Saturday morning cartoons and lying on our bed.

Grandma slowly worked to make a quilt like this for each of her 13 grandchildren. When we graduated high school, we received another one to take to the dorms. She kept working, creating new ones for other friends, family, loved ones, and managed to make three for her great grandchildren.

I always thought it was an amazing skill, to create this beautiful and useful works of art. So in April, I took a beginner’s quilting class. I’ve always said I would try it at least once, to discover whether I had the ability to make wonderful and memorable gifts for people. Given my lack of sewing experience, it was difficult. Ignorantly, I delved into the world of rotary cutters and fat quarters.

Creating even a small quilt in four weeks is a challenge, especially because it turned out to be one of my busiest months of work all year. In fact, I did not quite finish during the final class, because I had forgotten my binding material at home. But I have finally finished!

While any quilter could spot the multitude of mistakes, I am proud of my first creation. Although my grandmother is not here to see it, I think she would be proud, too.


Party Like a Rock Star

I went out Friday night with the girls. Dinner, drinks, dancing. Although some might use Girls’ Night Out to think nostalgically back upon other nights out, I am pleased to report that age has its perks. For example:

21: Pizza in your dorm room or crappy apartment.
31: Tapas at a nice restaurant with your girlfriends.

Buying Drinks
21: You look for the specials and complain loudly about the “high” ($5) cost of a Red Bull and vokda.
31: $5? That’s cheap!

Solas, a club in Raleigh. Photo by Leo Suarez.

Solas, a club in Raleigh. Photo by Leo Suarez.

21: Too shy.
31: Who cares what other people think? I want to shake it!

21: Shots, shots and more shots, plus well liquor, cheap beer and no water.
31: A shot or two, top shelf liquor and water with everything so you won’t be hungover the next day.

Getting Hit On
21: Depends. Is he cute? Is he creepy?
31: Flattered! But sorry, guys, I’m taken.

The Night
21: Someone in the group ends up crying or vomiting in the bathroom. Or both.
31: Everyone ends up laughing and saying what a good time they had.

Getting Home
21: You can’t afford a cab, which results in A) waiting for one of you to sober up, B) calling someone and crossing your fingers that he/she isn’t also drunk, C) bumming a ride home from your new guy friend D) risking the drive yourself.
31: You take a cab and tip well. Or your sweet husband agrees to stay up and come get you. 🙂

The Next Day
21: You drag yourself out of bed in search of Bojangles or some other fast food.
31: Your husband brings you waffles in bed.

What would you add to this list?

Moving: A Bittersweet Goodbye

I will miss so many things.

But not the cockroaches.

Leo and I are moving next week, leaving the first place we called home together. We’ve rented this small house for more than two and a half years and it many ways it feels like home. Here, we realized that yes, we were truly right for each other. Here, Leo hid a ring from me for a month, waiting for the right time to propose. Here, he got dressed in his tuxedo on our wedding day.

Our first house together. Photo by Leo Suarez.

Here, I walk 10 minutes to downtown, doing work at the courthouse, out of coffee shops and out of two offices I use. Here, he and I stroll the downtown streets in the evening, meet friends for dinner and drinks and never worry about who will drive or where to park. Here, we’re part of a community of downtowners, with whom we socialize, network and discuss Raleigh’s latest civic issues. Downtown is our “third place,” our home when we’re not at home.

I wish we could stay. I try to look at the good things about leaving. We leave behind cockroaches, who have survived chemical warfare for the past year despite my strongest and most strategic efforts. We leave behind an irritating neighbor. We will gain more space, upgrading from 860 square feet to more than 1,100. Our new apartment is right next to a greenway entrance, which means a new place to stroll and an easy place for my morning jogs.

We leave with a purpose: our new apartment is cheaper. With the extra rent money we save, we will reach our goal of a 20 percent house down payment around this time next year.

So we leave our first home with dreams of our future home.

A worthy sacrifice, I’d say.

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Underwear Model

No, not really. I just wrote that so you’d read this.

I have begun my new part-time job at Aerie, an American Eagle offshoot that sells undergarments, makeup and casual/lounge wear.

What the hell am I doing?

It’s a question echoed often in recent months by many of my friends and acquaintances. Perhaps it’s the Great

by Meghan Anderson

Expectation that we’re supposed to be doing something by age 30. As it approaches, we realize that like Santa Claus and political promises, the expectation of knowing what you’re doing by a certain age is just one of life’s little myths.

Myths make crappy comforters.

I refuse to be a drama queen about turning 30 though, so in truth, my career contemplation has more to do with the fact that I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately. For some reason, writing and organizing work seems to be slow in the fourth quarter. What, like people are too busy or something? Sheesh.

I don’t know how housewives do it. My house is clean, the laundry is done. Working less means less money, especially as Leo and I save for a house, an international vacation and a wedding, so I can’t just go out and spend money. Besides, I want to contribute to all of that, not be a drain.

Hence the new job. Which is OK. I’ve never worked in retail, and two days in, I like it. (We’ll see how long that lasts.) But there is no overall plan. Which bugs me. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a planner. I’ve always had one. You can’t get far in life without some sort of general outline. Mine went like this: Graduate college, go to grad school, get a job at a newspaper for two years, get a job at a bigger paper, get promoted to editor. Work until 60. Retire. The end.

Plan aborted. So now what? Limbo. Which is worse than hell, if you ask me.

But once upon a time, I adjusted to the lack of Santa Claus. So I think I can handle the fact that I really have no major career plan for the next year. At least it means I can take four weeks off next September for a trip to Australia.

And when I come back, maybe I’ll look into the underwear model thing. You can start that career at 30, right? Sounds like a plan to me.

We're Engaged

Carolina Beach-2009/Photo by Andy Watson

This picture was taken in April, just a few days before we started dating.

I didn’t know then that Leo was the love of my life, but sticking my tongue out at him seemed to prove to both of us that maybe our friendship could be something more.

Apparently, we were right. On Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010, after one year and four months of dating Leo Suarez proposed to me. Thanks to all of you who have sent your congratulations, and thanks to those who encouraged us to give it a chance.

A Reckless Deadline

My 20s are almost behind me, with one year to go.

According to my bff in her birthday card to me, we have exactly one year of recklessness remaining. Well, not recklessness. But the recklessness that can be later written off with a dash of devil-may-care-I-was-in-my-20s-so-it-was-justified.

Flickr Creative Commons

So what should I do for this requisite recklessness? Jump out of an airplane? That’s on my bucket list, but shouldn’t I wait until I’m closer to Death before laughing in its face, flinging myself out into the open and hoping a flimsy piece of nylon prevents us from actually meeting?

Um, that sounds like a good plan.

Maybe I should party until dawn. But my birthday celebration was more low-key than temerarious tippling. Oops.

Maybe it was the change in venue.

This year I left behind my beloved Landmark Tavern, where I celebrated the past two years, for a not-so-busy Busy Bee, resulting in a quiet table discussion with drinks among my group.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Why do we use our birthdays each year to hit the pause button and reflect on our lives thus far? Does my multi-paragraph pondering really allow me to step back and get a 360-view of the space time continuum of Jennifer?

If so, the view I have is looking pretty good. As I get older, I get less reckless, sure. But also more adventurous.

So instead of using this one-year deadline to get “reckless” out of my system, maybe I’ll just take advantage of getting older to be bolder.

Maybe I will jump out of that airplane this year. That’s bold no matter what your age.

Then again, I think I’d rather go hang gliding.  Does that count?