Thursday, November 23


When I logged into Google this morning in the "How To" section, the first link was an article on "How to be Thankful". I hope there aren't many people out there clicking on it this morning.

I am thankful for knowing how to be thankful.

Even though I want to avoid the "Lets go around the table and each say what we're thankful for" moments, I am thankful... for my family, my friends, for all the things I have that I know not many others have access too.

The sky is bright blue, the clouds pure white, the evergreens pop against the fall sky and even the grass is still green. The sun is starting to shine over our yard and house. Its a beautiful Thanksgiving Day. Still, when I walked through the Tower Room this morning, where I now sit, and looked out across the forming day I felt saddness... saddness at what I'm missing, what Dad's missing. So I'll take the day in for both of us, so in a way he won't miss it and maybe I won't miss him as much... I am thankful for knowing how much he would have loved this day, how he would have gone out running this morning and exclamined how beautiful it was out.

There's a turkey to prep, veggies to cut and potatoes to mash... I set the table last night. Pictures to follow...

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21


I've got stress in my life... I mean really, don't we all? My job is frustrating me... honestly my boss... but don't want to get into detail here, my boyfriend is 4 hours + away and I don't know when I can see him again, I need to learn how to save money better, I'm preparing for a major life change (another, luckily of the positive kind this time around) in 5 months (no details yet... need to wait till its more official), I've got some issues with a friend who doesn't realize it and to top it all off its still an everyday event in my head dealing with my father's death.

I run circles in my head thinking of all of this, something will generally set it off... I check work emails at home and get a frustrating response or see something that pisses me off and then its just a downward spiral into frustration, anger, sadness, stress... you get the gist. It just stews... it sits in my body and stews all the stress all the everyday shit mixed in with overarching issues... and it doesn't make anything good.

Two weeks ago they sent around an email about stress management, we could log on to our BCBSMa site and take a survey about our stress level and get entered to win a shopping spree. I of course did it. At the end it told me I had some stress, oh really? It give me some guidance and offered an easy PMR exercise to utilize. Being a bit bored, and frustrated with my job so procrastination had set in, I copied the advice into a power point, made it pink and put in against the background of a picture I'd taken of our Hydrangea bush this summer. I printed it out on the color copier and took it home, I was sure to use it now that I'd made it pretty.

So, back to the stewing. As I sat here, reading other blogs, preparing a blog about my work frustrations- which are what set off the stress cycle tonight- and getting ready to really nail home a beast of a blog... I saw the pretty piece of paper with pink typing.

I just went through the PMR cycle... and I must say... it worked. I am so relaxed, even writing about all the things that stress me out didn't take away the relaxation... and in my go go go attitude I didn't even do it for as long as they suggest.

I'll admit, as I near the end of the blog I'm getting a little anxious again about all the thoughts that are still floating in my head, but now I'm a believer... I can relax and this can help.

If you're interested... here it is:

Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. We rcommend closing your eyes while doing PMR. Here are the simple steps for each muscle group, starting at your head and moving down to your feet.
Take a few slow, deep breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Tighten the muscle groups in the order below, holding each for five seconds. Really feel the tension. Then, silently say, "Relax. Let it go." as you quickly relax the muscles and let go of the tension. Relax for 15 seconds. Then go on to the next muscle group and repeat the steps.

Forehead: wrinkle forehead

Face: frown, squeeze eyes shut, tighten cheeks

Mouth: open your mouth as wide as you can, tightening the jaw

Neck: turn left, turn right, then tilt chin down to chest

Chest: push chest out, shoulders back

Stomach: breathe in, then tighten stomach muscles

Back: arch your back, pushing shoulder blades together

Arms and hands: make fists then flex your bicep muscles

Buttocks and thighs: squeeze and tighten

Legs and feet: straighten legs out, curling toes down and away

Friday, November 17

Distinguished Alumni

Last night I spoke (as one of three) at Clark (my alma matta) to the English Majors (or the interested ones) about what I do, what my challenges are and how my English major helps me. I think I spoke too fast, and although I covered all those points the woman who went after me said so much more... and I kind of wish I had said a bit more... but anyway its below in case you are interested.

Hello! I’m Adrienne and I graduated with honors in 2003. I’m currently the People Strategies Team Coordinator at Shawmut Design and Construction which is a 600 M national General Contractor located in Boston. People Strategies Team is what we call our Human Resources department, and it is a different name because we act in a much more strategic way than most HR departments.

As a coordinator I support the VP and Director of our department in their day to day activities and on special projects for them and entire team. Day to day I manage their calendars and communications whether via phone or emails. In my support role I also help draft a lot of memos about many of the programs and practices our HR department is involved in. I’m a go to person for anything people may need from the Director and VP and usually anything in general that employees need from our department. Some of the special projects I work on are compensation research and benchmarking, planning and implementation of new computer systems and other non technological systems that are related to HR, like our applicant tracking system the recruiting team uses, and designing and facilitating training programs. It’s a very complex role and each day is very different, I could take all my allotted time describing what I can do on a typical day. But let me tell you a little bit about Shawmut.

Shawmut is extremely high energy and fast paced so new projects and needs are being tossed my way daily. One of my major challenges is keeping everything in order, I have to be detailed and organized. Another challenge I encounter is being asked to work on things I’ve never done before, or am not that familiar with. As someone new to not only the work world, but the HR industry in general this challenge will lessen as I learn and grow in my role and in my chosen industry. Our company is growing a very rapid rate (When I started in January of 2005 there were 450 employees, there almost 650 now) and with that our HR department has to grow and change many of the old procedures. This has given me exposure to change management, systems implementation, and taught me how to look at current policies, procedures and systems and understand where they can grow and change and where they just need to be completely revamped.

So, how did my English major prepare me? You may hear what I do and think- there is no way she needs an English major for that? Let me first tell you how I got to HR from the English major. As I began to explore Clark’s 5th year free program the only program that really spoke to me was the Professional Communication Masters Program. In this program there were 3 different areas of focus- Human Resources, Marketing, and Management communications. Being a Sociology minor I saw HR as a combination of my English and Sociology skills. I would be able to communicate well and understand how the employees of the company I was working at would respond to certain forms of communication.

So, that brings us to today- and my work in HR. I feel that my Masters program was able to prepare me for what HR is all about, what HR professionals can focus on and where different HR departments go with their practices. However, my English major enabled me to be ready for anything, which as I said earlier is a necessity in my ever changing fast paced environment.

I can write up memos/emails communicating important initiatives and communications to the company or select employee groups for my bosses to save them time.

I can take a document they’ve written and look at it with an editors eye, finding typos and helping them better present their points.

I can read and summarize articles, providing them with time saving ways of taking in important industry information. This also exposes me to industry information that will help me learn and grow a bit more quickly in my role.

I think the area I’ve seen my English major prepare me the most for is my work with the Training and Development team. Our training programs consist of Overheads to present, Facilitator Notes to help with the presentation and Participant guide books that give the participants a take away from the class and include exercises to do during the class. In my work with T & D I’ve helped write up overheads which need to present a lot of information in very concise ways, I was able to learn how to best present ideas concisely via my English major curriculum. I’ve also been able to write up the participant guide books which require a certain style of writing, something I adapted to easily, and again it is writing a broad point in a small space requirement. All those one page essay’s that could have taken 10 really helped with that! And, presenting frequently in classes helped allow me to be comfortable in front of a group and facilitate some training programs.

Honestly, even before I was asked to speak about how my English major has helped me, I frequently thought to myself and out loud how thankful I am that I had the chance to hone my writing, reading and communication skills in an English program. They’ll tell you during your time as an English major that you can do anything with your degree, and its true. It will help you in all aspects of business. Just like I could talk all night about what I do everyday, I could also talk about the skills I learned as an English Major that help me do well in my job and decreased my learning curve. In many cases it will give you a step up because you’ve already developed strong ways of communicating that many first year grads lack.

Tuesday, November 14

Web Cool Hunting

Work has been somewhat slow lately, and I've been exploring a lot of websites... Some of them are pretty neat and I wanted to share... a web form of cool hunting!

1. Techie Diva's Guide to Gadgets :

This website is so fun. It keeps you updated on all the fun gadgets, toys, ideas, etc that women who enjoy technology and being women will love. I visit it almost daily, and while I don't often buy anything they talk about- its still fun to keep up on the technology trends, and who knows maybe give you some good gift ideas!

2. Hungry Girl :

I found this site through another blog I read and now get their daily emails. It combines the need that women feel to diet and look good with the reality of how hard that can be when you love food! Some of her recipes are really brilliant and fun to try, and she also introduces great new products, like True Lemon and True Lime which I adore. The emails are fun to get everyday, especially the ones where the review different diet products and give you the real deal on if they're worth the reduced calories/fat/etc.

3. Yelp! :

Yelp is a great site to use when searching for reviews on restaurants, doctors, stores, mechanics, etc. It is real reviews from real people telling you what they really think! I love it. If you click on the link above you can see all the reviews I've done, and then just search from there to find anything in the Boston, New York or any other major metropolitan area. Enjoy- and if you sign up to start reviewing, make sure to request me as a friend!

The next few websites are other blogs I visit daily, multiple times to see if they're updated. They are on my blog roll but I figure, why not give an explanation?

4. Pink is the New Blog:

A work friend turned me on to this site when I caught her looking it one day, and was like ooh what is that? Its celebrity gossip (so if that's not your thing, just close the window) mixed in with some humor and some tales of Trent's own life. He's funny, real and gives me my daily dose of celebrity gossip- perfect.

5. Greek Tragedy:

Dad pointed an article in the New York Times about Stephanie Klein out to me once a couple of years ago, and about 4 months later I wanted to read more- so I found her blog and have been glued to it ever since. I don't know what it is, most other bloggers don't keep me intrigued that long- its like blog reading ADD- but I'm drawn to Stephanie's story, her life, where she's going and what she's doing and I keep reading and checking for updates. She recently wrote her first book, which I will buy when it comes out on paperback because I really dislike hardcopies, and is now working on a pilot- so its not just me that likes her writing. I really encourage you to check her out, especially if as your reading my blog you get some blog reading ADD...


Today via emails I backed out of triva on Tuesday to do spinning instead... and then said as a side note- I got all my bills this weekend and I really can't afford to go play trivia somewhere and end up spending $25 on a meal and beer I don't need to spend $25 on. I apologized with, "I hate using the money excuse". The friend responded with, no use it- I frankly need to use it more often, because its true.

A few hours later, still via emails still with the same friend I talked about thinking I may need closed toed shoes to wear to the event I'm going to for work this weekend. I already had the dress, but it was meant to be worn this summer and never was so the strappy open toed shoes I had bought to go with it probably won't work for a mid November event. I searched on Zappos- found some for $80 and contemplated paying $15 to have them shipped 2nd day to me. Then I got smart and decided to go to the mall after work, and still spent $80 on shoes, and $2 on parking, I had to have for the event this weekend, because open toed just wouldn't be right. I'll try them out tomorrow to break them in a bit, although they were surprisingly comfortable in the store, and maybe I've finally started to break my feet into heels. I promised that if they don't go with the dress I'll return them, and that I'll wear them a ton after the event. There's always a way to convince yourself you need something... doesn't that happen with all addictions? Yes, I admit it, I have a bit of a shopping addiction- but check them out... aren't they great?

Friday, November 10


I don't know what to write about. I've got all this stuff in my head, but I don't know how to get it down in words that express my emotions, are written well and provide entertainment value. A lot of it is work related, and I don't want to write about work here... just in case. Some of it is the same old stuff I've been writing about, and I don't feel like finding new ways to express my grief process.

So, I'm stuck. There is almost too much sensory stimulous surronding me for me to pick something out and expound on. I want to learn how to use my camera better so I can take pictures and start using them as entries. I'm becoming more and more drawn to images, things I see around me everyday, and I picture how they could come across in photographic form. I keep saying I'm going to write everyday, get something down, and then I find otherways to use my time and don't end up writing. But I guess this is writing... this is releasing my thoughts, they're just not as formed and creatively spun as usual, as I'd like them to be.

Friday, November 3


The lights were bright, distracting me from the road, drawing my eyes to the empty field. The grass faded green in the outfield, the dirt cleanly shaped to outline the infield. Where were the children? Why was the field lit up, but empty?
I thought of my trip to Chicago, walking through millennium park, passing 6 or 8 empty baseball fields - I wanted to run through them, use them in some way but we stayed on the path looking out at them- I a bit entranced by the empty beauty, imaging all they held, the games won, the time spent together as a team, as a family. A couple walked onto them, over them, through them. I didn’t know if they would be playing catch or just using them as a short cut. We walked on. Their blankness stuck out in my mind.

They were empty, I felt empty. I wanted them to be full of children playing, of teams battling for a championship, of inner city youth having an outlet, a green space to play a safe place to come. Maybe I just wanted those things for myself, I needed a safe place to be, a place full of life, of hope and things won.

I turned my head again and looked at the empty field, all lit up, the signs of fall apparent, the dying grass, the leafless trees. Turning my head back to the road, I drove on. NPR began reporting about deaths in Iraq, focusing on one marine who had died. His mother spoke, frank and open, the love and loss apparent in her voice. She read a poem he’d written after returning from Afghanistan, the change in his personality evident. His brother spoke about being told not to enlist, to stay away from the Marines. His mother spoke about sitting her son down before he returned to Iraq to plan his funeral, just in case. How he had decided to have his friends be pallbearers, not the marines and then described them carrying his coffin. The reporter came back on, I heard the tears in her voice, as she ended the story. I started to cry. I let myself cry. As I pulled onto my friends road, I stopped myself, I knew if I really let it hit me I wouldn’t stop. I pulled myself together. As I sat in the car, turning it off, getting my things together, I thought about the young marine about all the loss in our world. As I write this now, I see that empty field as the beginning of my thoughts changing, my perspective shifting to emptiness and loss. I didn’t see the field as awaiting the game that would be played later in the evening, the lights just warming up. I just assumed the field was empty, would sit ready for something that would never come. Like this marine’s mother, sitting, empty, waiting for someone that wouldn’t return.