I Broke the Plane

Truly, I broke the plane. Okay, so maybe it’s not in the way you’re thinking I broke it. I mean it didn’t come tumbling out of the sky in a gigantic flaming ball of metal fury. Just a minor breakage if you will.

On the way home from Florida, I got up from my comfortable aisle seat to use the lavatory. As I was washing my hands – which seems counterproductive in a space that’s already a cesspool death trap of germs – I went to press the little water lever, when it flipped over itself and went clanging into the tiny metal sink. God only knows why I looked to see if anyone heard it because I mean really, I was in a tiny room with a toilet that sounded like it would suck you out of the plane for an impromptu skydiving adventure towards a horrific death. And don’t forget those engines that roar in your ears for however many hours you happen to be stuck in the air. (The toilet thing was actually a childhood fear, fun fact).

I chuckled as I walked back to my seat. Ah, just another day of entertaining myself without anyone watching. Sometimes it’s better that way…

(From early December)

The Delayed Post

Admittedly, I seem to be writing things that occurred in my life out of order. A couple of weeks ago I attended a creativity workshop courtesy of Minnesota PRSA. Here’s the post I wrote for the event on the Perspectives Blog from the PRSA website:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

– Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company

If one theme resonates among PR professionals today, it’s thinking differently. No doubt we’ve all heard the above quote before; frankly, if I were in the shoes of the people at the time, a faster horse would probably have been the extent of my creative thinking as well. Creativity is our driving force – no pun intended – it’s why we do what we do.

During the Creativity Panel, Arik Hanson (ACH Communications), Steve Peckham (Olson Engage), Scott Petinga (AKQURACY) and Tony Saucier (Lifetime Fitness) with discussion leader Tom Jollie (PadillaCRT), each went through their thoughts and creative challenges they’ve encountered throughout their careers. The most amazing part, even today with their extensive careers what they do still excites them.

Each panelist talked of their unique experience in tapping their creative energy, whether it involved developing an innovative campaign for a major consumer brand or a new way to present a large behind-the-scenes B2B to their respective customers. The resounding message that echoed in the ears of all us eager attendees, no matter what type of client you worked with staying chained to traditional ideas wouldn’t spark creativity. To think innovatively, you needed to take a risk.

From searching their wives health magazines, to taking marketing ideas from their children, the panelists proved that putting on a different lens or even taking off the one that clouds our vision pays off. After the large group discussion, we split into smaller groups to go through a creativity challenge in a more hands on setting.

We came up with a campaign idea based on two unrelated business chosen from the yellow pages – Bottles to Bottles, an alcohol delivery service to new mothers and fathers in birthing centers, “The newest buzz around hospitals.” We brainstormed ideas to get Toaster Strudel back in the limelight, and we even came up with a campaign for a clothing brand that started with the question, “What idea could get you or the client fired?” Don’t worry, the idea was to take a crazy idea and dial it back to a level that makes sense.

Overall, the experience got all of us exercising different parts of our creative minds, looking at even our own clients in a new way. Through all of the ideas and craziness thrown around, one message is clear: Presume you can continue doing the same thing and you’ll remain stagnant, start getting out of your comfort zone and you can thrive.

– Anne Parrin, PineappleRM

A Post From an Overly Tired, Can-Never-Quite-Wash-Off-All-the-Creepy-Haunted-House-Makeup, Basement Actress

Because trying to whittle down this post’s title to a decent length seemed far too demanding of my energy, we’re going to stick with what I have…

Since it’s that month of the year, I need to pay homage to one of the most incredible Minnesota experiences I’ve had, but where do I start? In August 2012, only a mere three months after college graduation, I was brainstorming with my brother on activities I could do while I continued my job search.

“Do you remember when you tried to make me go down to the Haunted Basement?” I said. I opted out — I mean they have a waiver and a safe word for the love of God.


“I wonder if they need any volunteers?” What in the world possessed me to think that? Seriously, it must have been possession. Anything horror related would have me rocking in the fetal position in the corner of any given room, movie theater or otherwise.

After searching through the Soap Factory website at my brother’s encouragement, I stumbled upon a volunteer link. Not only did they need volunteers, they needed actors to be down there scaring the poop out of people. (Fun fact: it’s happened before).

“No way!” I said, “I can act down there?? What if I did that?”

My brother laughed, “You’re not scary.”

“Challenge accepted,” I said as I entered my information into the online bubble sheet.

Fast forward to 2013. Now, I have many stories — both funny and genuinely creepy — that I could share, I want to save that for another time. It’s the people that I want to feature.

As the cliche goes, I had no clue what to expect. Perhaps I expected a bunch of hipsters to sit around smoking in their flannel shirts and skinny jeans, shunning me because I was too mainstream preppy. Or perhaps I was expecting a group of fork-tongued weirdos to crawl out of the woodwork as I slowly backed away to the suburbs, forgetting that I ever thought about getting involved, but the reality left me in awe.

Never in my life had I come across a group of people so warm and welcoming. Never in my life did I expect a group of seasoned Haunted Basement veterans to show genuine excitement for the rookie that had no clue what she was doing. Sure, it’s a mixed bag of crazies down there that I would never had met otherwise, but I beg you to prove me wrong when I say they’re some of the most genuine people you’d meet in Minnesota.

I owe my renewed hope for my life in Minnesota to these guys, and while many of the people that made that experience unforgettable in 2012 are no longer involved with the Basement this year, I still say hats off to the Creeps of 2013. You all changed my life, and changed it for the better.

Cheers to the eternal Creeps!

I’m Baaaaaack….

Holy mother of extreme procrastination and life insanity, Batman! I simply don’t know where to begin… I mean, the overwhelming amount of information I could send avalanching (is that even a word?) your way is incredible. Let’s try it this way, a quick recap with more detail to follow at a later time:

May – If you’re looking for the hottest month since April, then look no further. This month had everything: Holy Cross alumni events, my sister’s birthday, a blizzard, an improv scene involving a squirrel haberdasher… 

June – This month is simply a blur. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t entirely remember what went on.

July – My proudest moment: surfing the wake sans rope over the Fourth, nailed it. And watching a friend do the same all while showing off the ability to get up with a beer in hand, open it, drink it and throw it back on the boat. Theme of that week on the boat: “Every time you want to do more, do less.”

August – Minnesota State Fair on stick. Need I say any more?

September – Busy, busy, busy with work and many exciting work projects. Making progress!

October – Yup, it’s that time of the year again. Hello, Haunted Basement 2013! Time to contract basement lung, get my creep on and scare the “uncle” out of people… Sorry, I won’t be giving away any spoilers. 

And there you have a brief recap of the past couple of months. More to follow…

Boston Strong

I know every blogger in the U.S. has something to say about the recent events in Boston, and I suppose I’m no exception. With some of my most formative years rooted on the east coast, I wish to express my deepest of sympathies to those affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy this past Monday. It’s heart-wrenching to think that such an amazing gathering in support of those accomplishing a major life achievement should end in with a sickening crime. On Monday when the news of the bombing reached Minnesota, my heart was pounding and a knot formed in my stomach. To those who have never lived in Massachusetts, it can be hard to describe how much the Boston Marathon means to those who live in the area. I remember becoming friends with a young woman from Massachusetts who tried to described to me where she lived, “Hopkinton. You know. The town where the Boston Marathon starts.” I knew it was an incredibly popular event. I knew my friends would be there.

I remember returning to Boston for alumni weekend this past fall. I never thought that when the plane landed I would have tears in my eyes just looking at the skyline. (The woman sitting next to me was a bit confused. I confess, I had a smile plastered on my face during the entire landing and was making overly-excited phone calls during taxi). Boston was my second home. Despite all the complaining I would do, and let’s be real sometimes we complain the most about the ones we love, I truly loved and now miss being in Boston. (I seem to recall a comment I made after Christmas break 2011 about the midwest: “I always know when I’m home. I think to myself, damn everyone’s so nice here.” I got one of the biggest verbal ass-kickings of my life from my native east coast friends).

For four years I lived in Massachusetts with east coasters, grew with them and lived out some of the best years of my life thus far. There may be differences in lifestyle from east to west to midwest and sometime we can be bitter rivals, but remember we all stand united under the same flag for better or for worse. We all represent one nation. God bless Boston. God bless the United States of America.

P.S.  Yankees vs. Red Sox – Take a look at this cartoon. Having lived with both fans, this made me tear up a bit.

Initiative: Taken

Cyber universe, it’s been far too long. Why have I not been posting? Perhaps it’s because I’ve been too busy trying to stay out of the “lack-of-social-life quicksand” and in the process of making hoards of friends, or maybe it’s because I haven’t had much to write about, OR maybe it’s because I’ve been lazy. I’ll let you decide.

I will say this: I’ve FINALLY made some progress. Instead of simply thinking about starting to try new activities, I’ve taken some initiative. I’ve officially signed up and handed over an unseemly amount of money to the “Brave New Workshop” for a level one improv class. Bear with me. Baby steps. (I have other important things to do too… like work). The more confirmation emails I receive making sure that I’m completely okay with letting go of my money and making sure that it was in fact me that signed up for these classes, the more excited I get. Improv. May 6th. It’s on…

In other progress news, some upcoming “stuff” if you will: believe it or not, there are indeed some College of the Holy Cross Alumni that have stationed themselves in the slowly melting tundra, and we’re having an initial “how do we start an alumni group” conference call meeting tomorrow morning. At 7:30 am. Mornings and I don’t see eye to eye. Should be interesting…

For now that’s it, and honestly I wish I had some more interesting people interaction stories to write about. As these events start happening, I’m sure the stories will bloom into odd interactions. Stay tuned.

Experimental Jazz

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for another post. Let me address one thing before I begin. It’s not my intention for this blog to be a pity party. In fact, I would like it to be entertaining, hopefully funny, while perhaps providing a dash of inspiration. I find pity to be a useless sentiment, particularly when it’s self-pity. Really. Pitying yourself. How can it possibly be productive? I’ll be transparent here, I have indulged in self-pity from time to time. What can I say? I’m only human, as the cliche goes, but to get myself out of any sort of rut that I may have encountered already, I’ve created my blogging initiative. What I’m trying to say is this: this blog may be based on that initial feeling of loneliness, but what I’m hoping to accomplish here is to hold myself accountable for my own happiness and inspire those who find themselves in a similar situation to get out and “do,” knowing they aren’t alone. We’re all looking for happiness. That’s our universal connection am I right?

Now back to the (somewhat) scheduled post. Aside: I’ve been writing these as the mood strikes me, but I’ll continue to pretend I have an actual schedule here.

The Haunted Basement. Playing in a dark, 150 year-old, actually haunted “no really I had a ghost experience down there” former soap-factory-turned-modern-art-gallery that has been aptly named “The Soap Factory.” The Creeps. We’re baaaack… My Saturday night was filled with answering the question, what scares you to the point where you will scream “Uncle” to get out of the basement and literally leave you so scared that you lose control of your bowels? Trust me, it’s happened before. Unfortunately, I can’t divulge much – it’s top secret information that will be denied if you hear any sort of rumor – but I will say, get ready for an insanely creepy October all of you Minneapolitans that come down every year. HB2013 is about to get real. More to come as we get closer to October…

A quick recap of activities, other than the Haunted Basement, that I’ve accomplished over the past almost week:

1. Yoga – I’m learning that yoga may not be the most conducive to social interaction. It does emphasize a quiet space in which to practice so… This does not, however, mean that I will discontinue the art of yoga. I enjoy it. I find it relaxing. AND you never know what will happen. I’m keeping my eyes, as well as my third eye open. Namaste.

2. Improv – I’ve finally narrowed down my improv search to two different courses. Once it’s finalized, I will post the result. I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity!

Bear with me as these various activities come to fruition. They take time. Seriously, I have a full-time job and other commitments too… I would like to do them right, especially if other people decide they want to join me in my ventures.

A final word on my social life. Last night, I returned after a long hiatus to Icehouse in Minneapolis with some friends from the Haunted Basement (after a lot of encouragement from my incredibly music savvy friend) for Monday night jazz. Specifically to see Fat Kid Wednesdays. (a.k.a. two of the most amazing jazz bass and drum players I’ve seen and the saxophonist from Bon Iver). Yes, Bon Iver. Never expected a grammy winning musician to perform for only $5 did you? Not only did we enjoy some smooth experimental jazz, I was given the opportunity to enjoy a drink, and the company of some individuals I haven’t seen much in the past couple months. Life continues to look up!


“Steep and Exposed” Terrain

Picture red rock canyons and desert foliage covered in a fresh layer of beautifully fallen snow. Would have been great… if I wasn’t trying to escape Minnesota in the dead of winter. Evidently, the snow followed me to Arizona. To make the situation even better, a couple of natives even pointed out, “Ya know it only snows once or twice a year. You seemed to have made it on that one day.” Thanks. All that white fluffy stuff. It’s snow. I noticed. But in reality, I have nothing to complain about. It was a lovely, albeit short visit.

I won’t recount all of the details of my visit; however, I will say trail blazing had to be one of the highlights. What’s trail blazing you may ask? Basically, think off-road hiking. My younger brother, David, has a good amount of off-trail hiking experience, so he and I decided leave the path behind and look for a more challenging way to scale the canyon. Some of David’s more encouraging words were: “Don’t fall. If you do, you won’t stop” and “There’s a steep cliff right there. Just be aware.” (At least nature made him a little more cautious in the form of a rather vicious cactus needle). He taught me about contouring, how to find the best foothold in the terrain, and that I should warn him of any falling debris by saying “rock.” At one point, the falling piece of canyon didn’t seemed to merit the word “rock,” so I simply shouted “pebble.” My personal favorite, however, was the term “steep and exposed.” I started asking whether every surface was in fact, steep and exposed. “How about that?” I would ask, pointing at anything from a vertical surface to a convex rock that would involve reptilian like skills to climb without the help of ropes and harnesses. The usual response was “No. That’s just steep” or simply “No.” He would then go on to point out true “steep and exposed” terrain, while emphasizing that perhaps it wouldn’t be the best idea to test my non-existent skills on this advanced terrain. In retrospect, he’s right. I suppose one could almost compare my canyon adventures to what I want to accomplish at home. There will be many times when I fall or fail to break in to Minnesota the way that I would like; however, I’ll just have to keep climbing towards my goal.

The rest of the trip passed without incident. However, I do feel the need to point out something I have not yet heard while on a plane. I travel. I travel A LOT. Therefore, I have extensive experience with flying, and I will say I have never once, until the return trip to Minnesota, heard someone state that they aren’t comfortable sitting in the exit row. Not only did this particular man state he was not comfortable sitting in an exit row, but he also refused to move. Even better, he said all of this wearing awkwardly large aviator sunglasses on in a darkish plane with a smirk plastered across his face. Honestly, I was waiting for some sort of major conflict where the air marshal would drag the man off the plane in a head lock; however, once in the air the man quickly changed his mind. I was admittedly a bit disappointed. As was the woman next to me who during the whole confrontation whispered excitedly to her husband in the aisle seat, then turned to me a number of times grabbing my arm, telling me that he shouldn’t have chosen that seat to sit in in the first place.

Now that I’m back in Minnesota, I will officially try to start my adventures in finding friends. Not just temporary friends in the form of older, bespectacled women on a plane. Although her enthusiasm for conflict was amusing.

Red Rock Country in Arizona. Feeling triumphant.

Red Rock Country in Arizona. Feeling triumphant.

Ready, Set…

See Anne drive. See Anne drive in snow. See Anne nearly roll off the exit ramp into the snow ditch and almost crash into the signs that caution you to slow down. I suppose if I’m going to crash, it might as well be straight into irony. Truthfully, this has nothing to do with me announcing my first activity. I suppose, if anything, it demonstrates some of the ridiculousness that takes place in my life even if it’s just for half a second fishtail down a ramp. Also, I just felt like posting it along with my announcement of my first breaking (back) in activity.

I will be doing… improv! As well as hot yoga! And some other things that I have yet to think of! Okay, so this whole process might be a bit muddled because many different activities will be going on simultaneously; however, I feel as if a lot of them have the potential for insanity or interesting social situations. Particularly initial awkwardness…

For obvious reasons, improv could get crazy, and hopefully it will. I’m also fortunate enough to be joined by a friend whose idea it was to do improv in the first place. We have a couple ideas of places we would like to try, but a quick “warning,” whether we choose one place over another will dictate when we actually start. Bear with me people, it could be a couple of weeks.

Yoga. I find yoga soothing and wonderful to go about alone, but I want to see what happens when you actually decide to engage someone in conversation after class. I have been to hot yoga before and in my experience, people roll up their sweaty mats when they are done and go charging out of the room. The only time I ever see anyone acknowledge anyone is when they talk to their instructor or their friend that decided to tag along and had no idea how much sweat they could produce. It could get interesting.

Just you wait readers. Things will start to get weird, but for now, I’m taking a brief hiatus from the Minnesota cold and traveling to the slightly warmer state of Arizona. I seem to be driving the hype up a lot.

To be continued…

Getting Out of the Rut

How to know if you’re in a rut. It’s the middle of the week. Your father sits on the leather chair to your right with his latest crossword puzzle and your mother sits, feet up at the other end of the couch, while the dog claws the back of your head for the attention she feels has eluded her. (False by the way. She gets more than her fair share of smothering love and affection). This situation, for me, has been all too familiar since college graduation…

“Why don’t you make plans this weekend,” says Mom. Indiction #1 I’m in a rut: she already knows I don’t have anything going on.
“I’m planning on it.”
“Well,” she continues, “I just want to make sure you’re not sitting home alone all weekend.” (She’s onto me).
“Alone? The dog gives me all the love I need,” Indication #2: I love my dog dearly, but really Anne? “What were you and Dad planning on doing?”
A nonchalant reach for the remote, “Oh, your father and I are going out with some people for dinner on Friday, and then to the Dakota on Saturday to watch some live music. We might go see a movie on Sunday.” Indication #3: Your parents are in their fifties. You’re in your twenties. Not that parents can’t have a good time, but pull yourself together girl!

Cut to 9:30 Friday night. I’m in my cozy, bird-adorned p.j. pants and a sweatshirt eating Italian ice with a glass of empty pinot noir on the coffee table watching The Mentalist. Yes, The Mentalist. Well, at least I wasn’t emulating a Bridget Jones-ian situation watching romantic movies, singing an off key version of “All By Myself” whilst clinging to the last couple of sips from the bottle of red wine.

It’s thinking back on these all too common occurrences that’s driven me to throw on a pair of jeans and even apply a little mascara. Get ready for me to announce my first adventure…