Archive for November, 2009

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With Tears in My Eyes and Grief in My Heart

November 17, 2009

Tonight, I received word that one of my good friends passed away at the far too young age of 44. He had a heart attack in the grocery store, and was taken from us.

David McClendon was my first journalism professor in college. He also gave me my first and last collegiate “F.” I misspelled the name of a politician in an article I wrote for his class, and he had warned us about that on day one. As he handed back that article, I was so disappointed in myself. How could I be a journalist if I missed the basics? David saw this in my eyes, and let me rewrite it. That was the first of many times he would provide me with much needed encouragement and support.

I stayed in touch with David after I left his class. I even took a photo of him for an article that was being written about him in the college newspaper. As I neared graduation, I was looking into a job opening at the newspaper where he worked. I emailed him, asking if I could pick his brain and get some advice. Of course, he said yes.

We went into New Haven, and he introduced me to Thai food. We chatted about life and what I wanted out of my career. He was happy to hear that I might be joining the paper, and was one of the first people to congratulate me when I started working there a week out of school.

David looked out for me at the newspaper. He was the city editor, and I was a journalist disguised as a web producer. He gave me stories as often as he could, pushing me to get out there and write. When he left the paper to head to Michigan, I was so bummed. I knew that no one would look out for me like he did.

We stayed in touch as he moved on to Michigan, working at a paper there. We spoke often on the phone, and he never stopped encouraging me. When my father died in 2007, he called, texted or emailed me every few days to see how I was doing. Regardless of what was going on in his life, he always took time out to see how I was.

I left the newspaper for a job at my college, and David was all for it. Time wore on, and he relocated to Chicago. 

This past March, he was hospitalized after being hit hard by what was later diagnosed as sarcoidosis. It ravaged his body, and knocked him for a loop. He left Chicago, going home to New Jersey to be with his parents. He told me he was excited to be with them, but more excited to kick the disease’s ass.

I got preoccupied with my own life as the wedding neared, but we still managed to stay in touch. His blog was on my RSS feed, so I read each new post with relief at his seemingly good progress. 

Sunday night I was talking to him online, telling him about this blog I had started. He was so happy, and said he was looking forward to seeing where I took it. I had to go, but told him that I really wanted to see him soon. We agreed to catch up next week and try to plan something.

The next day (Monday, yesterday), he was gone.

I am so grateful to have had David in my life. As a teacher, a mentor, a colleague, but most importantly as a friend. I will miss him more than I can express. Everyone who knew him is mourning a great loss right now, one that will be felt in our hearts forever. Here is another beautiful tribute to this incredible man.

Thank you, David, for your guidance and support. I know you will always be looking out for me, and that now I have another guardian angel.

Here are the last words he sent to me two days ago:

Sunday, November 15, 2009, 9:18 PM — David: Rock on, Nancy. Rock on.

I’ll do my best, my friend.

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QBS (quiet backstage)

November 16, 2009

I love theater. My mom introduced me to it at an early age, instilling in me a love for all things Broadway. This has also carried over to my love of movie musicals. In high school, I was a proud member of the Drama Club (International Thespian Society member, Troupe 980), and was a techie for 3 years for various productions. I did props, house and foley (spread over two shows) before moving on up to serve as stage manager for Anything Goes, and student director for Inspecting Carol, Schoolhouse Rock and The Life and Death of Almost Everybody. Needless to say, I was (and am) a drama geek.

And with that said, I’d like to respond to a comment left on my post about the concerts I’ve seen by sharing the professional theatrical productions I have attended.

Broadway shows I have seen:

  • Cats
  • Grease
  • Jekyll & Hyde
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Footloose
  • RENT (3 times on Broadway)
  • Phantom of the Opera (2 times)
  • Rocky Horror Show
  • Swing!
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Spamalot
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Lennon
  • Avenue Q
  • Wicked
  • White Christmas
  • Guys & Dolls (2009)

Off-Broadway shows I have seen:

  • Top Dog Underdog (limited engagement play)
  • The Vagina Monologues

Other productions I’ve seen (and locations):

There are countless more school and community theater shows that I did not mention for lack of memory or time. Please feel free to suggest a show to me because there really is nothing like a night of theater. And to those who know me best – did I forget any?

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Hackers helping others

November 15, 2009

I just read about how a bunch of computer tech geniuses got together  for an event called Random Hacks of Kindness to try and find new ways for technology to help out folks in real world situations. Rather than trying to develop the next Twitter, these folks worked on ways to help track down loved ones in a disaster or get important info out to the masses.

Check it out.

UPDATE: I just saw this audio slideshow from the same event. Enjoy!

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Get up and swing!

November 15, 2009

On Friday night, we went to see this amazing band at an area venue.

It was so much fun! This was my first time seeing them (not so for the mister, who has seen them a few times), and it got me thinking about all of the bands/acts I have seen. There aren’t a ton, but I think I’ve done pretty well for myself.

My very first major music show was in 2003 to see Ringo Starr with my mom. We had a blast! And I think it was only fitting that my first concert was a former member of my favorite band of all time. So with that in mind, here are the groups/people I have seen along with the venue at which I saw them, in as close to chronological order as I can manage:

  • Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band 2003, with Colin Hay, Paul Carrack, John Waite and Sheila E. (Radio City Music Hall)
  • Third Eye Blind, Josh Kelley [opener] (QU)
  • Allister (QU)
  • Josh Kelley (Toad’s Place)
  • Vanessa Carlton (QU)
  • Gaelic Storm (Choate Rosemary Hall)
  • Barenaked Ladies (Mohegan Sun)
  • Bouncing Souls, The Loved Ones [opener] (QU)
  • Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band 2006, with Billy Squier, Richard Marx, Edgar Winter, Rod Argent, Hamish Stuart and Sheila E. (Mohegan Sun)
  • Play Magazine’s 3rd Big Birthday Bash, featuring The Queen Killing Kings and The Lemonheads (Toad’s Place)
  • A Moment’s Worth (Arlene’s Grocery)
  • Fort Minor, Ghostface Killa [opener] (Nokia Theater)
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Steven Tyler [special guest, encore] (Nassau Coliseum)
  • A Moment’s Worth (The Space)
  • Spice Girls (Prudential Center)
  • Stone Temple Pilots (Chevrolet Theater)
  • Elliott Yamin, The Last Goodnight [opener] (The Webster)
  • Billy Joel (Mohegan Sun)
  • Paul McCartney (Citi Field)
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Jorgensen Center)

Now if you compare me to the average person, I may seem to have been to a fair amount of concerts. Compare me to my mister, however, and I fall way behind. He guesstimates that he has been to somewhere in the range of 150-200 concerts, including some festival shows where he saw numerous acts in one day… Yea, I know!

While there is no way I will ever achieve his musical greatness, I can enjoy the ones I have been to, and look forward to some more in the future. Any suggestions for what my next one should be?

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Sadie

November 11, 2009

Last week, I turned 25. I’ve always enjoyed my birthday, but this one was special. It was my first as a Sadie.

Three weeks ago, I married one of my best friends. He is an incredible person, and I am so thankful to have him in my life. We’ve been together for almost 4 years (started dating my senior year of college), and were friends for 2 years before that. He’s been with me for some of the best moments of my life, and by far some of the worst. It’s all very surreal to think that we are really married. In case I had forgotten, I had a wonderful series of reminders on my birthday.

My first "For My Wife" bday cards

My first “For My Wife” cards! Is it silly that those just made everything that much better? He gave me one at midnight when it became my birthday, hid another on my side of the bed which I found as I got ready for work, and left the third in the mailbox, which he knew I would check when I got in. So cute! How lucky am I?!

When I was younger, I never thought I would get married. It just never really crossed my mind. As several people mentioned on my wedding day, I was always the girl who was thinking about what job she would have and how she would make a name for herself. It’s funny how things change when you meet the person you are meant to be with. Knowing how much I love him and how much he loves me, I don’t worry about being 25 and married.

Which is good, because now I can get back to worrying about that career and future stuff.

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Starting out

November 9, 2009

So I mentioned that I am a “journalist at heart.” What does that mean? Well, I was trained at a wonderful institution in journalism, and love that style of writing. I love talking to people, crafting a story and putting it out there for people to take in. Right out of school, I was lucky to land a gig at a pretty large daily newspaper. That meant staying in CT, away from my family, and living alone for the first time. Hard as it was, I’m glad I made that choice.

I think everyone should live alone at some point in their life. Sure, there were plenty of times I came home to a dark apartment and felt swallowed by the emptiness (part of that may have been my 5pm – 1am shift). But it was nice to have a space that was my own. It was my place, my sanctuary. For almost a year, I had my very own apartment without roommates or family members.

That might not sound like a long time, but so much happened to me in that time. Everything shifted in my world. My family, my work, my friends, my life — everything changed over the course of that year, for better or for worse. The first year after college made me see that this is my life and the only person who can live it is me. I’m realizing that more with every day, and hope to explore my life with you by recalling decisions I’ve made and seeing what the future holds.

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Let’s do this

November 8, 2009

Well, hello there, blogosphere. It’s been a while since I was officially a member of your community. Two years ago, I left a gig at a newspaper. Part of that job included me having a blog, which I rather enjoyed though infrequently updated. About a year and a half ago, I started another blog for a grad class I was in. That was fun and was updated with more frequency, but I dropped it after I finished the class.

This time is going to be different. This time, I’m not writing for a job or for a class. Finally, I’m writing for me.

Whether or not anyone follows me on my journey here doesn’t really affect me too much. I miss writing, and have been looking for an outlet to get my thoughts out in the open and help sort out this thing called life. Thanks to the folks who encouraged me to do this – Phill, my mom, Jamie and my husband (still weird and awesome to say that, but more on that another time) – I needed the push and am grateful for it.

So, here I go again. It’s on. Let’s do this.