Monthly Archives: September 2012

A decade of friendship

As I’ve shared before (here and here), Heidelberg University holds a special place in my heart. Which is why a get-together this past Sunday will be a beautiful memory to cherish.

My very first friend at the Berg, roommate through my college years, and a best friend still today, Kim, hosted a mini reunion for our group of friends from Heidelberg and our families. This type of get together isn’t unusual. We are fortunate enough to see each other several times a year at different events and celebrations. However, the dynamic of this get together was quite different.

Three of us had a baby within the past six months. The last couple to get hitched said “I do” in May. We gathered at Kim and her husband’s recently renovated beautiful home. And we celebrated one’s promotion, and another’s new gig as a professor at Kent State University.

We’ve come a long way since Wednesday nights at Clover Club and Delt formals. But it’s because of these get togethers and many, many hours spent on the phone and sending email, that we’ve remained the closest of friends.

As we enjoy these next chapters of our lives together, I hope our children can also find friendship in each other. And they may have done just that on Sunday. Who knows…maybe this is the future Heidelberg class of 2034:

The quiet charm of Parenthood

Source: nbc.com

I enjoy watching TV. I know, I know – “It’s a waste of time,” “It will make me stupid,” “There are more productive uses of time…” But honestly, at the end of a long day of work, after Bridget lays her pretty head down, it’s sometimes nice to turn on the tube and just be entertained.

I’ve watched a lot of shows in my day, from Dawson’s Creek to NYPD Blue (thanks, Mom) to Desperate Housewives, and shamefully, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. But there is no other show that I’ve enjoyed as much as Parenthood (Actually, that’s a lie. Golden Girls will always be #1. Always.).

Parenthood, which airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 10:00, flies under the radar; almost enough to barely make it to this season, and I cannot understand why. This show has superb writing, and even better than the writing, is the acting. With such a well-known and likable cast, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this family.

The story lines aren’t elaborate. They simply follow the lives of a normal family facing realistic life experiences. But in every episode, I laugh, cry, and “awww” at the beautiful moments shared between the characters. And when the credits roll, I turn to Brian (who enjoys this show as much as I) and say, “But I don’t want it to end yet.”

If you’re looking for a new show or your next Netflix rental, choose Parenthood. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The good stuff: Family wedding edition

This past weekend, my cousin, the sister I never had, my partner in crime growing up, and a true friend, Erin, married the love of her life, Tommy. Their day was simply perfect; from the weather to the dress to dancing the night away at the reception.

There was so much goodness to this past weekend that I’ve decided to dedicate my weekly good stuff post to it.

– It’s amazing to be a guest at a wedding of a couple that is truly and beautifully in love.

– While my family is close in the emotional sense, we’re not as fortunate in the physical. It was so much fun having all the family, including my aunt, uncle, and two cousins from Virginia, at the same place for an entire weekend. We laughed, cried, reminisced, and danced until they kicked us out.

– I was reminded in so many ways how incredibly blessed I am to be a part of the Mangan family.

– As a bridesmaid, I wanted to be all Erin’s that day so Brian was on Dad duty. He did awesome coordinating Bridget’s outfit, naps, feedings, and travel for the entire weekend. Thank you, Brian! It’s times like these that make us really appreciate that my Mom did it on her own everyday.

– Erin and Tommy had a subtle and classy Irish themed wedding, right down to drinking Smithwick’s beer imported from Ireland in the party bus. I may have discovered a new favorite beer (and also that the day after having a few of these beers takes on a whole new level of tired with a three and a half month old baby).

– Our Grandparents won the anniversary dance for being married the longest: 61 years! Their advice to the bride and groom: “Put up with each other” (Nanny) and “Behave yourself” (Papa).

– Erin and I went to school together and had the same circle of friends, so the dynamic of this wedding was unique in that I got to spend it with family and old friends. When we are together, there’s never a moment of silence between the chatting and laughter.

– Did I mention that it was the perfect day in every way?

Congratulations, Erin and Tommy! I love you both.

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The surprising power of an email

Can you think of someone whom you barely know but made an impact on your life?

Brian and I had vacationed to the beach, lake, and mountains before, so we wanted to try something new together for our “last hurrah” before baby and in celebration of our third anniversary last September. We booked a seven day cruise out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and set sail to the southern Caribbean.

When we arrived, we were disappointed to learn that we were assigned seats for dinner with a group of other couples. After trying to snag a table for two with no luck, we were seated at a table with a middle-aged couple from Georgia, two honeymooning couples, and a senior couple from California, Duane and Priscilla.

Duane and Priscilla had been married for 50+ years. They delighted in stories of their children and grandchildren. They spoke fondly of the world travels they had experienced in their lifetime. They held hands during the evening shows. And they were full of faith.

Having just found out two days before our cruise that we were expecting, they were also the first people with which we shared our exciting news (my not having a drink with dinner all week sparked some curiosity).

After spending several dinners together, we had formed a friendship with this couple. On the last night, as we were exchanging emails and saying our goodbyes, Duane asked us if he could say a prayer for us. In the middle of the ship’s dining hall, he thanked God for bringing us together, asked for safe travels as we headed home, and prayed for us as we continued our journey of marriage and embarked on a new one in parenthood. And being six weeks pregnant, I was a sobbing mess.

We exchanged a few emails when we returned home but then lost touch. Just last week, I thought of them out of the blue and told Brian that we should send them a picture of Bridget. But life got the best of me and I never got around to it.

Today, I received an email from Priscilla with a subject line of “Do you remember us?” and a brief note that they are praying for us and hoping her email finds us well. Signed, “Your shipmates, Duane and Priscilla.”

This couple fits the description above. We barely know them; yet are so grateful for having met them. Their love for one another and strong faith were an inspiration for us as we celebrated our anniversary and the beginning of life with Bridget. I can only hope that when we are in our 70s, we are cruising the Caribbean sharing our life stories and helping a young couple celebrate the beginning of their lifetime together…because this time is pretty awesome.

What I love most about Heidelberg

Today in the mail, I received the Heidelberg Bulletin and while skimming the content, the back cover caught my attention. It read: “What do you love most about Heidelberg?” This took me back more than 10 years ago when, much to the dismay of my 17-year-old self, I visited the Berg in an effort to appease my Mom. The campus was beautiful, the people were friendly, the size was perfect, a Communications degree was offered, and it was just-the-right distance from home. I should have been on the receiving end of an “I told you so” but that’s not my Mom’s style.

For other obvious reasons, Heidelberg was the perfect place for me. It’s where I met Brian, my husband, best friend, and father to our daughter. It’s where I formed amazing friendships that will last my lifetime. The education I received there has served as the foundation of my career which I enjoy and that challenges me everyday.

But, this question also made me think of the unconventional reasons why I love the Berg; the reasons that probably aren’t what this question is seeking. Here are some of them:

    • “Where everybody knows your name…” The Cheers theme song is quite fitting for the Heidelberg experience.
    • We called Allie’s Biology professor at 10:00 on a Sunday night to help us catch a bat flying around our house.
    • There is one cafeteria with unofficial designated areas where each sorority, fraternity, and sports team members dine together. Yes, it was just like high school.
    • My classes were held in the oldest building on campus, Founders Hall. This was the home of classes, dorms, and the dining hall when the Berg was founded in the 1850s. It’s full of history.
    • My housemates and I babysat the Dean’s kids more than once and enough to snag an invite to his home for dinner with the family.
    • All bars in the city of Tiffin are in walking distance from campus. Thank you, bar owners.
    • My sorority sister was on the Campus Security staff. Needless to say, safety was not much of a concern.
    • When asked where Tiffin is, students generally describe it in reference to Findlay, Ohio: our shopping and special dining destination. Nothing like using one small town to give direction to another.
    • Not many people can say they made it through four years of college without witnessing a single win by the football team.
    • Back in “my day,” it was Heidelberg College.
    • I know the original Heidelberg cheer: Killikilik ra ra zit zat ha ha yay moo bam zoo, Heidelberg. I do not, however, know its meaning.
    • I often dog sat for my Communications professor’s wiener dog.
    • I can proudly call myself a Student Prince and sport three colors that should never go together: red, orange, and black.
    • When Heidelberg flags hung around campus, they usually represented a special event. This was also known as “good food” day at the dining hall.
    • All the fraternities and sororities were local and honored great tradition. This also meant that dues were cheap and the experience of being in a sorority was nothing like the stereotype.

      Heidelberg University Class of 2034
    • It was not uncommon to see my professors enjoying a few adult beverages at the local bar on a Friday or Saturday night.
    • Brenda, the lunch lady, always greeted me by name and with a smile.
    • A family friend and alumni of Heidelberg University was seen proudly wearing a Heidelberg lapel and tie at a wedding this past weekend. He graduated approximately 40 years ago.
    • Our daughter will get to wear that adorable onesie in about six months.

I am grateful for my Mom for too many reasons to list, and encouraging me to go to Heidelberg is certainly one of them. It will always be a sweet alma home to me.

The good stuff: Week of 8.26.2012

Hello, September: my favorite month of the year!

I can’t believe another summer is here and almost gone. Here is some of the good stuff that’s happening along the way:

– Bridget is settling in well at Miss Denise’s. She’s happy when we drop her off and happy when we pick her up (and Miss Denise snaps some cute pictures to send me throughout the day). This has helped make the transition from home back to work a little easier every day. Thank you to all my family members and friends who shared encouraging words with me this past week. They really helped!

– I received a postcard from my good friend and former co-worker, Annie, who moved back to Portland last year. In this digital world, there is nothing like the feeling of opening the mailbox to a hand-written letter. And, because we both share a love for volleyball, I got a good laugh from the front of it.

– 2012 is another crazy busy wedding year for us and this past weekend, we celebrated the nuptials of Brian’s former college housemate, Danny, and his new wife, Nikki. We also got to spend much-needed time with some of our best friends, Whitney and Ryan. These too-few-and-far-between get togethers always make me wish there were more of them.

– Long weekends make any week better. I’m still of the belief that working five days to get two days off (with a bonus three-day weekend sprinkled in a few times a year) simply isn’t fair. I work with many international clients who, I’m convinced, are on “holiday” more than at work. But, I’ll take what I can get. And I am enjoying every minute of this long weekend!