10 things you miss about App State

15 things you REALLY learn at App State is, by far, my best-read blog post ever. It’s gotten about 10,400 views, which is nothing for “real” bloggers but a ton for me. Most of those views came after I graduated, so I thought I’d follow up with a few of the thousands of things I’ve missed about Appalachian since I left.

I miss the smell of the Stadium lot on game day, even when I wasn’t going to the game.

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…and I miss the smell of King Street when these were cooking.



And while we’re on the subject, I miss Boone food. 

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I miss that feeling when winter or spring break started…


I miss the wind on Grandfather Mountain, & how it made you look like this: 




I also miss the 15-minute rule, even though I’m still not sure that’s a real thing 


I miss my Subaru having Subaru friends wherever it went


I miss that thing where a new restaurant opened & people just stormed the gates like crazy people…then promptly forgot about it and started hating chain restaurants again


I miss being around friends constantly, and that feeling that there were always new friends to be made. 


I miss turning around & gasping at the view. 


 And of course I miss this lady, and I feel bad because, while she knew my name, and the name of all my friends, I never asked for hers. 



But in all honesty, 

I love my life.

& I love my job.

& I love everything Appalachian prepared me to have.

Don’t dread graduation. This was the whole point — to make you ready for what was to come.


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grateful things, april.

Grateful for my train ride to & from work. I don’t mind having a long commute when it means I get to start and end every day with a book. I’m going through one or two a week, which I’ve never done with a full-time job before.

Grateful that my best friends and I fight. Things don’t go unsaid or unnoticed or shoved down below the surface. They get resolved. Continue reading

Good things I’ve read recently(ish)

Something lovely & a little strange:  “When I was a boy, I hated beets. I hope I can protect my son from beets until he’s old enough to hold in the tears. They’re not worth it. When the battery in my watch died, I still wore it. There was something about the watch that said: ‘It doesn’t matter what time it is. Think in months. Years. Someone loves you. Where are you going? There are some things you will never do. It doesn’t matter. There is no rush. Be the best prisoner you can be.”

The New York Times, Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss Continue reading

Happy to be here.

A million times in the last two weeks, I’ve stopped in the middle of ordinary moments and thought it again: I’m so glad I moved to Atlanta.

It happened as I was dragging a smoothie through a straw in cold, rainy Midtown, a few blocks from the staid, stately house where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind. As I flipped pages over the din of rushing trains, hurtling from my Peachtree Corners apartment to my downtown office. As I sat in relentless traffic and then, at the office the next day, felt some warped camaraderie with everyone else who’d sifted through the sea of bumper cars the night before. As I tried on restaurants and grocery stores and libraries for size, walked past impossibly gleaming skyscrapers in Buckhead, took accidental exits into neighborhoods I probably shouldn’t have been in at night, and soaked up the feeling of having more city to explore than I could ever exhaust.  Continue reading

101 in 1001!

Start: March 23, 2014

End: December 16, 2016


Go to 10 local, Atlanta metro restaurants OR restaurants I’ve never been to before (4/10: The Varsity, JR’s Loghouse, Corner Bakery Cafe, Flying Biscuit)

And 10 Atlanta-area coffee shops, Starbucks doesn’t count (0/10)

And 5 Atlanta bookstores (0/5)

Take a day trip to Athens

Take trips to visit 5 people (0/5)

Do five tourist-y activities in Atlanta (0/5)

Have a picnic in the park Continue reading

I think I just left news.

By the time there was a decision for me to make about leaving news, my mind had been made up for months.

On March 17, I’ll report to a 20th-floor office in downtown Atlanta, start my career in public relations, and leave a whole life behind. It’s completely what I want and there’s no part of me that wants to stay. I wouldn’t be doing it if that wasn’t true.

I started my first post-grad job a little over a year ago in small-town, print-over-breakfast news. When I started, I thought it was going to be forever. Not the News-Topic, not Lenoir, maybe not even newspapers, but I defined myself as a journalist. Completely. 

I first read Allyson Bird’s “Why I Left News” sitting in the office late at night. “I finally came to accept that the vanity of a byline was keeping me in a job that left me physically and emotionally exhausted, yet supremely unsatisfied…”  Continue reading

Little adjustments

I’ve written about this a little before but, when my dad was teaching me how to drive, he repeated one phrase over and over: Little adjustments, he’d say. Just little adjustments.

It was like a mantra he needed to keep himself from grabbing the wheel and returning it to the hands of a licensed driver. Little adjustments. He meant that turning wasn’t a matter of flipping the entire wheel over itself, but I’ve thought of the phrase ever since as a good piece of advice for living, not just driving a car.

There is no such thing as overhauling your life in one giant push of effort, no such thing as a smooth, consistent journey toward whatever goal you’re reaching.

You keep going. You stumble. You walk ten miles and fall 15 back.

But you keep walking, you keep learning and hurting and pushing and being alive. You keep stumbling forward, making little adjustments along the way.

[Clip] Students’ field trip has them building ‘bots

This article was published in the Lenoir News-Topic.

In a classroom-style building tucked into the corner of one of the old Shuford Mills buildings, all chipping paint on brick walls, 10 sixth-graders from Granite Falls Middle School wearing safety glasses put parts and pieces together, making robots.

The students spent their half-day on Friday making what they called eggbots — basically, robots capable of drawing on spherical surfaces the size of eggs — at Foothills Community Workshop. In this case, the spherical surface used was ping-pong ball.

Each eggbot can be connected to a computer and is driven by two motors — one that turns the ball (or egg) back and forth, and one that moves an attached pen across the ball’s surface. The machines can take any design made in a drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator — or Inkscape, an open-source version that the Foothills Community Workshop folks like to use — and recreate it on the surface of a spherical object. Continue reading


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