Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas happened

Christmas seemed mellow this year.

Perhaps it was because I wasn’t truckin’ it across state lines to make it to multiple Christmases.

For the first time ever in my life, I slept in on Christmas morning. How crazy is that? I think Berkley came in and woke me up around 9:30. So different from the 5:30 a.m. wake up call if I was at my Dad’s.

Mom and I had our traditional Christmas breakfast of sausage and sauerkraut, yummy I know, and picked out what movie we were going to see so we knew how much time we had for presents. We decided to see Little Fockers around 2:00 p.m. Plenty of time to relax and open presents and get ready to go out.

Santa definitely visited my house.

Presents everywhere!

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Berkley, if you couldn’t tell, tends to be attached to my hip when I’m home. Plus, she loves posing for pictures, haha.

The highlight, by far, was my new Nikon D3000. My Pop Pop was a photography professor, and I’ve dabbled in it half-heartedly for a while. Once I moved to Erie, and found a new appreciation for nature, as well as a new desire to document my journeys, it was time for me to take the next step to making Pop proud.

I will post my first pictures soon. I am so very excited.

The few days after Christmas have been filled with shopping trips and movie watching. So. Great.

Today though, Mom and I went duckpin bowling. We sure love bowling.

Mom has incredible form.

IMG_0632 I think bowling shoes are adorable.


And people wonder where I get my personality. IMG_0638

Tomorrow is Christmas with Padre and Madrastra.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

I love my family.


I really, really do.

Christmas Eve reminded me why.

The day started with church with Dad and Joyce. We get there about an hour and a half before mass because it’s the only way to make sure we get a seat. Once it hits an hour before mass, it’s standing room only.

This is usually a great time for the three of us to catch up. I haven’t seen my Dad since before I moved – so about six months. I had my iPhone and my camera, so between the two, I was able to visually catch him up to speed on the life and times of JB in Erie.


Mass was accompanied by the children’s choir, cherub’s choir, and a “dramatic reenactment of the Gospel”. It was adorable.

After mass, we headed over to Aunt Pat’s house to celebrate the holiday. It’s funny – I remember visiting my Aunt’s house when I was younger, and being in awe of it’s size and fancy feeling. I always thought it was like a house in the movies. I moved around to different apartments and houses when my parents divorced, thus making my Aunt’s house a constant. It offered me comfort and fantasy. When I would visit her house, she would always send me home with a goodie bag. I thought it was amazing that she had goodie bags in her house. She was definitely the coolest Aunt.


I love the feeling I get when I pull into her driveway. It’s on a steep hill, making it look more majestic. I have never walked into the front door or the garage. I always walk in the patio door. It’s like a secret entrance around the side of the house, off the flagstone patio with large canopy trees and lights, making it feel like a Disney movie.

Stacey and Aunt Pat were in the kitchen, Bob and Sean were doing something important, I’m sure, and Zack was counting presents. I have to say – dinner was completely flawless. My job is always the rolls. When I was younger it used to be the premade rolls that you baked just to get them warm. I am now old enough to assemble crescent rolls. Thanks for the help this year, Stace :)


Dinner was awesome. I love that it’s the same every year – Filet Mingon, crab cakes, mashed potatoes, corn, sweet potato casserole, rolls, and peas for Zack.

After dinner, it was finally time for presents. The youngest child plays Santa and hands out the gifts. Well, up until six years ago, I was Santa. Now Zack is slowly taking over Santa duties. I asked him this year if he wanted to be Santa by himself this year and he said no. He needed me to help because he can’t read cursive. Leave it to Aunt Pat to write all of her gift tags in cursive.


We all opened presents, laughed at Dad’s puzzle gift for Stacey, saved the tree from toppling over, and then gathered back in the dining room for dessert and conversation. Nothing says Christmas Eve like critiquing 9/11 and Mennonite farmers.


This was the first Christmas Eve in 19 years that I came home after Aunt Pat’s. I usually go home with my Dad and wake up Christmas morning to celebrate with him, then drive back down to Maryland to be with my Mom. Since I didn’t have a car this year, Dad and I agreed that we could discontinue the tradition. My dad was sad with this decision. When I celebrate with him later this week, he asked that I wear my pajamas and walk down the stairs and pretend it’s Christmas morning.

Oh, Dad.

So Christmas Eve 2010 was everything I hoped it would be – a time to reconnect and a reminder for me to stay grounded.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pickles and Lemon Pledge

Sounds gross right?

That’s what the plane smelled like on way from Buffalo to Baltimore.

Yesterday, I came back to Baltimore for the Holidays. I started my trek around 8:00 a.m. I needed to stop at the office to give my apartment key to Meredith so she could take care of my plants. I saw Meeghan, which was great since I didn’t get a chance to wish her Merry Christmas.

I then started my voyage north from Erie to Buffalo. It snowed the whole drive. It was a pretty snow. Nothing too blizzardy – just fluff. I snapped this photo for those of you who don’t believe how close I actually am to Canada…


Just to give you perspective – the airport is at exit 51. Canada is 53.

So nothing to thrilling at the airport. I got there super early because I was worried about finding the long term parking lot and then catching a shuttle to the airport.

I still don’t love flying, but I love meeting people. Here are the interesting people I met during this flight:

Woman and her 10 year old daughter – woman is an engineer with Dupont and LOVED my sapphire ring. She said she had one just like it in the 70s. I thought that was interesting because mine is from the 70s… anyway, they were heading to Waldorf for the holidays. She also told me I look way too young to be working at a college.

50ish year old man – British accent, from Miami, but his kids go to Centennial High – the rival of my high school, River Hill. His sister is the CFO of Southwest.

50ish year old woman – Trying desperately to get to Providence. She was finally flying from Buffalo, to Baltimore, then to Providence. Too much traveling for me.

Now we are finally on the plane.

There is an 80ish year old woman sitting in my row. She takes her coat off and the 50ish year old man from above asks if he can help her put her coat in the overhead bins. She says yes. Then, a 30ish year old man from the row behind us decides he needs to help too. He takes the coat from 50 man and puts it in the overhead. 50 looks at 30 with a very strange expression, and 30 says “I thought I should help a woman. I need to make up for last night".” 80 woman laughed and shook her head.

There were 8 men in full hunting camouflage. 2 were reading Playboy.

The lady across the aisle from me looked like she was dressed to see a dignitary – fur hat, gloves, fancy clothes. She ordered a vodka and monster energy drink. I want to party with her.

I also took a few pictures out the window.




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Feels good to be home, but actually missing Erie. What a strange feeling.

In any event, tomorrow is Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Since my last post, we have officially closed for the semester!

I am done my first semester as a Coordinator and my first semester in Erie.

My first milestone.

Nothing crazy has happened in the past week. We did exchange our stocking gifts at work and my coworkers loved their mugs.

Here is a photo story of recent happenings. This is just a crazy collection of pictures that hadn’t made their way off my phone.

It snowed. Newsflash. This picture by the way is the view from the union (what I’m standing under) to Perry Hall.


The snow covered my pink chairs.


These are small icicles.


We celebrated Jenkahdith day at Claytopia. I cannot show you what I made. They may be Christmas presents…


Just another picturesque sunset in Erie.


And lastly, yesterday was a Football with Friends at the Fox day. It was the first Sunday that the Ravens and Steelers didn’t play at the same time. We were at the Fox from 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oh, what a day. The Ravens won! The Steelers lost! AND after an entire season of going to the Fox ever Sunday, we FINALLY got a picture of most of our group. I think just Bri is missing :(

I love this photo. It’s totally us.


And now we all started parting ways for the Holidays. Meredith leaves tomorrow, I leave Wednesday, Bek leaves later this week, and Jess is holding down the fort on campus.

I have so much to be grateful for this year. If you are reading this, I am so glad you are part of my life and even if we don’t talk often, I know you have left your mark on my future.

Thank you :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stocking Gifts

We each have stockings at work.


We each put a $1 gift in each others stocking, then on the last day of the semester, we have lunch and open our gifts together.

I have a candy dish on the the bookshelf in my office. It’s pretty much the community candy dish – best for those 3 p.m. slumps. I love that my coworkers visit my office. They say hi, take a starburst, and walk out – and I love it.

Well, as I was thinking of what to put in the stockings, I was really getting the “Christmas Craft Itch”. I desperately wanted to make something, but $1 was quite the roadblock. I was sitting in my office one day and looked at my candy dish and decided that I would buy everyone their own candy dish and paint fun things on them.

What do you think?









The lottery and accessories

At my staff meeting the other day, we were going around the table sharing our weekly highs and lows. The following is a transcript of what transpired.

RA 1: My high is that RA 3 got me scratch offs for my birthday. I’ve never done a scratch off before! It was great! I loved it! I didn’t win anything, but it was the best birthday gift ever!

Me: Not to rain on your parade RA 1, but I actually won money on a scratch off this week. I won $75! That’s my high.

RA 2: Well, Jenna, not to rain on your parade, but on my 18th birthday I won $500 on a scratch off. That can be my high today.

RA 3: I totally win, guys, a few years ago I picked the numbers for my dad to play in the lottery, and we won $5,000! Just remembering that can be my high today.

Looking at the remaining 2 RAs who haven’t shared yet…

RA 4: I’ve never won anything… RA 5, what about you?

RA 5: Well…. My family won the green card lottery so I got to move to America. (said with a completely straight face).

Me: RA 5, you totally win.


Conversation during the Ravens MNF game.

Meredith: I don’t think I would really like camping.

Me: I love camping!

Meredith: Blankly stares at me

Me: Alright, why do you think I wouldn’t like camping?

Meredith: Jenna, it’s 11:00 at night and you are still wearing accessories.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Do you remember when we thought that was a good nickname for you, Meg?

I think I prefer Meg.

It’s always interesting to think how friendships start. Meg and I met in Richmond Hall in 2004. The first conversation we ever had was on the floor of my room, 503, talking about our upcoming RA interviews.



We then went on to be RAs on different sides of campus. We went through a bit of separation anxiety, so we had sleepovers often.


We would meet under the Lecture Hall so one of us didn’t have to walk the whole way alone – in the dark – on a sometimes creepy campus.

We celebrated our 21st birthdays.


We would go sledding at the Hampton Mansion. And if we didn’t have a sled, we borrowed a little kid’s who was there. No kidding.



Went to 63 different conferences.


We did yoga in the HRL office.



After we graduated, I was in Meg’s wedding. We now live 7 hours apart. We Skype every Tuesday. And now as Meg is ready to have her first baby, I’m getting excited about being Auntie Jenna.


Meg and I were reminiscing about our college days, and we laughed very hard. I’m talking deep belly laughs that lead to tears. I thought I’d include a few memories here.

Keeping in mind these are Facebook wall posts back and forth. Dating back to 2006ish.


Meg: you're such an alcoholic jenna. is that your first selfish thought? i say "secret plan" and you say "alcohol"? why does it have to been about you and your addictions?


Me: oh meg....do I ever NOT have stories? – still so very true


how could you answer back? how could you!?! you are so in trouble. you're on PROBATION


Meg: Jenna, if you don't talk to me soon i will photoshop your face onto milkcartons and put out an amber alert. i'm serious.


Meg: it's okay jb, i would probably have sneezed, bit my tongue, started gushing blood, tripped and fallen on my way running to the bathroom, passed out (because we both know i would hit my head whilst falling), and been found unconscious, covered in blood. lol.

remember, you are never alone in the world of clumsy accidents. even in that respect you and i are bonded for life--like penguins.

Me: It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry.

In present day, we were trying to figure out what this conversation was about. Here is our exchange about it:

Me: I’m guessing that was when I feel down the Tower A hill.

Meg: Or when you broke your toe…one of those 3000 times.

Me: Where did we come up with these crazy conversations?

Meg: We were most likely overly tired, behind on sleep, slightly wine drunk, and too busy with all the jobs we used to have to think straight.


Meg:  dear jenna:
i know your road has been a little rough lately. by "a little" i mean herculean task type road where boulders the size of small whales seem to crash down upon you whenever you make even the slightest centimeter of distance forward (i suppose technically every centimeter is the same size, but you get my point)...what I'm trying to say is that i noticed it was a full moon tonight, so do you want to uh...make out or something?

I should now tell the story of the full moon. Meg and I were walking on campus one night – it had to be sophomore year and it was a giant full moon. I said something like, “wow, that’s beautiful! I feel like we need to remember this.” To which Meg responded, “Yea, like, do you want to make out or something?”. We laughed, and no we did not make out, haha.

Marc Bell would probably have a different ending to this story, but in actuality, it’s something we joke about to this day, every time there is a full moon. It’s almost a race to see who texts who first about the moon. I even told Kail that even though he was married to Meg, he could never take the full moons away from me. True story.


We loved The Hills. We used to watch it in my room in Scarborough.

Meg: I thought we could invite Bordy and Monica.

Bordy would be our wine of choice.


Meg spent the summer in Seattle.

Me: so i miss you. a lot. Please come back. I will start baking garlic bread today and start wafting to smell towards Seattle. Maybe that will entice you to come back.
Haha, have you ever heard of a more evil plan? I bet not.


So as we processed this trip down memory lane, I was telling Meg about the expected snowstorm this week.

Meg: I'll send Waffles up with a sled, some wine and a shovel should you need it

Me: You know me so well - alcohol, fun and a puppy. I think you just summarized my life's dream.


Then Meg rounded out the conversation with this one:

PS: I read your blog and your new friends look very nice, but i just sorta need you to let them know that you were mine first and so they can like you and everything but Jaime, Monica, Jen, Lauren and about ten thousand other people plus me have called dibs already in the best friend category. Then again, of everyone I know, you could probably have  10,007 best friends, so carry on, lol.

Thanks for letting me blog about this Meg – I love you!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I just remembered something

So I know I'm preaching to the choir when I say I've been insanely stressed this week. Between my RAs making poor choices, to attending programs every night, stressing out about the holidays, surviving my first Erie snowstorm and trying to make a dent in my to-do list, I just haven't been myself.

Meredith, Bekah and I are in the midst of planning Jenkahdith day tomorrow and part of that includes church. I then remembered a story from last weekend that just brought a positive spin to my day.

Meredith and I were at church last weekend and the homily was about thinking positively, looking for the good in situations and people, and being thankful for what you have. While listening to this, I was thinking how I should not be stressing over the things mentioned above because I am lucky that I have an amazing job, a loving family, and great friends to get me through my first Erie winter.

When we stood up after the homily, Meredith leaned over and said, "Jenna, I think you've given me that homily before."

I laughed and shrugged it off, but it quite possibly was the nicest and most genuine compliment I've ever received.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh, the game last night…

For Bri’s birthday, she wanted to watch the Ravens/Steelers game. Meredith did a wonderful job at planning the party. I was appointed Streamer Queen. It was a job I could handle.

Meredith went to Bri’s house while Bri and her family were out to dinner. We decorated and watched the rest of the Colts game. It was really a great time. Yes, I know the Ravens didn’t pick up a win. However today was Jersey Monday at work, so I was able to show my hometown pride :)

Here are the Res Life girls with Bri.image

Make a wish!image

Most of the party guests.image



Typical me.IMG_0453

Bekah and Eric.IMG_0454 

Bekah, me and Meredith.IMG_0456   

Happy Birthday, Bri!image