Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Were and Are Our Sunshine

What does it take to pull a "blogger" out of a seven-month retirement?

A fiery blonde muse from Titusville, Fla.

[Friends, especially those of the Pi Alpha variety: I'm posting this for those, including yours truly, who were unable to attend the Jan. 8 services.

Writing a so-called eulogy for Miss Ann is either the hardest job in the world, or the easiest.

It's been more than a year since she first mentioned the E word and I still can't reason why, out of the scores of people who adored every blonde ounce of her Titusville-bred self, she deemed me worthy of this task. What I DO know, though, is that I can't imagine a greater honor.

It was the Sunday after a reunion disguised as a football tailgate--a tailgate orchestrated largely by Miss Ann--that she first mentioned the E word. In a tone as familiar as one fitting for "I'll take a glass of Yellow Tail chardonnay, please," Miss Ann summoned me into her suite, and with just a few words, anointed me the future author of her eulogy. She'd even told Stacy as such.

The statement was paralyzing. I was as much honored as I was horrified. Tebow had just secured us a win over LSU. Our two-day visit had been punctuated by game day endorphins, reminiscing about trouble we'd gotten into in the DZ house and her excitement over the bundle of joy growing in Stacy's tummy. At that time, 16 months ago, the thought of saying goodbye to Miss Ann for more than a football season was strictly out the question.

As she persisted about the E word, I agreed, under the pretense we'd table the conversation for 20 years, after she’d said a toast at my and Nicole’s weddings, after Brian had executed an engagement as colorful as Shaun's, after Stacy had a house full of bubbly little tinkers. God, it seems, had other plans. Maybe heaven was lacking in laughter. Maybe the angels needed someone to make them chicken noodle soup and seven layer bars. Most likely, though, I think He saw all the fun she was orchestrating on earth and wanted in on the action.

Because I'm pretty sure there aren't laws against plagiarizing oneself, here's a snippet from a letter written four years ago.

"Though us Delta Zeta sisters share varied faiths, we spiritually agree on one certainty: we know why God rested on the seventh day. He did so to create the woman whose homemade ice cream cakes and pepper roasts make Rachael Ray dishes taste like Chef Boyardee, the friend whose compassionate dialogue rivals the writers for Grey's Anatomy, the role model who stands taller than Macy Gray on stilts, the set of shoulders more supportive than Tim Tebow’s game day armor… Miss Ann Grenville.

Should the price of paper rise in the future, it'll be easy to pinpoint the culprit. It will take several forests of refined greenery to create the wedding invitations, birth announcements, thinking of you, change of address and Christmas cards directed Miss Ann's way in the future. To not include Miss Ann in the joys of life would be like not inviting the mother of the bride to her daughter's wedding. Graduation may close our days and nights with Miss Ann, but a little bit of her character is embedded in each of us as we follow in her footsteps."

These words were written in 2006, a time when I visualized addressing announcements to a Miss Ann at 903 S.W. 13th Street in Gainesville, Florida. Now that she'll know about engagements and babies long before a paper product could be stamped, she's taken "going green" to extremes. Leave it to Miss Ann to be hip and trendy from heaven.

I heard that Miss Ann was going to let us know it was her time by saying, "Well folks, the party's over."

Miss Ann, you know I'd never correct you, but I'd be remiss in not calling you out on this one. The pre-party may have run its course, but the band has just arrived.

While the next few weeks and months will leave us longing for one more hug, one more wild hair to leave her a voicemail to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine," one more notification that "Ann Grenville likes this," let us find comfort in the thought that we no longer have to share our Miss Ann.

From here on out, on any given fall Saturday, the DZ tailgate will boast one more attendee, no more panhellenic or fraternal laws to mind. Tables on the Front Lawn will sport an extra guest, one silently encouraging rounds of upside down pineapple cake shots. Sidelines throughout the SEC will staff an extra blonde cheerleader... when said cheerleader is not distracted by unannounced visits to the locker room. And when his mom and dad are distracted with singing "We are the Boys," Parker will have a built-in playdate, one that will continue to rival his youth.

There was nothing ordinary about Miss Ann during our precious time together. And there will be nothing ordinary about this Anngel - that's angel with two Ns. As much as this Anngel will be on hand to blanket us in her protective arms, she'll be just as much a silent antagonist encouraging us to follow her tireless pursuit of adventure.

So... Miss Ann, our Anngel, you're officially on the clock. I hope you're ready. Because, well folks, this party has just begun.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'll See Your Community Relations Director and Raise You a Chief Everything Officer

As a PR practitioner, I can bank on three things in a given work week.

1. I'll receive at least six dozen e-mails signed "Best," or "Warm regards."

2. I'll use more exclamation points and smiley faces in a single 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. than I'll use in two year's worth of personal communication.

3. I'll collect a 1/4 inch stack of new business cards.

As I battled the 3 p.m. urge to visit my cubicle neighbor's candy basket one day last week, I sought distractional* refuge in the leaning tower of cards on my desk. Amongst a crop of Community Relations, Editorial, External Affairs and Marketing job titles were a few that shamefully went unnoticed upon reception. The titles jarred a flashback to the summer before junior year of college when I was hired as a "golf cart girl" at a public course in Gainesville, Fla. On my first (and last) day on the greens, I was handed a gold-plated name badge that read "Professional Snack and Beverage Dispensing Technician." I retrieved twist-off bottles from a cooler and occasionally made change for a $20. For that, my title warranted 15 syllables.

If ever a job were to compete with PSBDT, the rectangular treasures below would pose strong competition. Despite what context clues suggest, I swear on Huck that each of these cards was hand delivered in a corporate setting.

*You're right. Distractional is not a word, but I sure do like the way it fits in that sentence.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Out off Ofice

Confession: I judge books by their covers.

I also judge people by their out of office e-mail messages.

In honor of the slew of "OOO" messages electronically transmitted since summer commenced, here are three gems that currently live in a folder titled "Really?" on my desktop.

(1) I'll take "Things that are Boring and Blunt" for $500, Alex.

(2) Sloppy Joe. Note the dates.
(3) Penned by my father for his professional e-mail account.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ode (or is it Owed?) to Carbohydrates

Raised under the musical tutelage of a Warren Zevon-loving father and a Doo-wop junkie of a mother, I’ve marched to the beat of a different drummer since a cacophonic mix of “Werewolves of London” and “Hit the Road Jack” pervaded my womb.

That said, my iPod’s content is typically reserved for me, Huck and the unfortunate passengers who buckle into the V4 amphitheater that is my mom-rific sedan.

On the eve of this spring's ING Georgia Half Marathon, I pummeled a Publix sub, locked into a date with iTunes and sought the Interwebs' help in crafting a playlist that would distract me from forecasted rain. Thanks to two welcome date crashers, Google and the blogosphere, I stumbled upon a mix of ready-made half marathon playlists. An hour later, and much to my contemporaries' delight, a smattering of songs cut after my conception landed on my "Ode to Carbohydrates" playlist.

Because it’s been more than a week since I last posted, and because cutting and pasting a screenshot requires minimal effort, the resulting anthology is below. Should my sub-par keyword tagging skills lead a fellow runner to this page on race day eve, I hope he* or she will depart with lyrical fodder worthy of the 13.1 mile trek to wine beyond the finish line.

*See song choice #7 and note that my e-mail address is

Friday, April 30, 2010

Adventures in Dog Raising

Having braved two elementary school years with a gray front tooth (a byproduct of older sibling babysitting and a brick fireplace), I vowed that my future children would never be “that” kid in class. Good news for them is that I have a practice child in the form of one Huck Flynn. Bad news for Huck Flynn is that I have a practice child in the form of one Huck Flynn.

Because I’m selfish and bypassed several Humane Societies to fetch my AKC-certified pup from a breeder, I had two months to prepare for Huck’s arrival. I used that time wisely—scouring the Interwebs to coordinate matching collar/leash sets and spamming friends and family to solicit name suggestions. Slightly more responsibly, I also scouted local dog parks. Goldendoodles and Spaniels? Sweet, I’ll be back in a few weeks. Chihuahuas and Pitbulls? Hey, maybs I’ll see you at PetSmart.

I bookmarked online training guides and nursed dreams of a dog who would catch footballs, deliver the AJC in the morning and greet me with a Yuengling after work.

One magical Sunday, I brought my protégé canine home. One magical Sunday, a then six-pound Huck became my master, and visions of Superdog died a quick death.

As week night trips to the dog park confirm, my plan to raise the star quarterback equivalent of a canine son has failed miserably.

This dog park, little more than a half dirt/half grass field sandwiched among houses, is 101 Dalmations meets The Breakfast Club. Sadie, a Lab mix, is the park's star cheerleader. She finds a stick and instantly the stick is elevated to squirrel status. Quinn, a fellow Vizsla, is the class president. He says little, is perfectly coiffed and wears the canine equivalent of an ascot tie: a seasonal bandana. Jack, a Golden Retriever, is the class clown, buddy-buddy with both dogs and owners. Kira, a Rhodesian Ridgeback and persistent observer, is the newspaper editor—the canine Tina Fey.

And then there’s Huck. Jury's still out as to whether he’s best personified as a mathlete, or a trenchcoat-wearing fan of dragon mysteries. When not eating dirt or swallowing sticks, he's sniffing tree bases. On occasion, a heated game of tug-of-war will break out, and he'll bark at the participants. Great, a tattletale of a trenchcoat-wearing mathlete.

Either he needs a dad, or I need to lay off clothing him in acid-washed denim vests for Merry Hucking Christmas cards.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why Blogs Are Not Like Russian Orphans

“Blogs are not like Russian orphans. You can’t just send them back when it gets tough. Get typing.”

Shout out to an Alabama-hailing friend for sending the above text. Yep, it’s been six weeks since the last post. The bad news is that I let Flynnsight take a backseat to extracurricular life that comes with spring. The good news—selfishly for me, that is—is that people noticed. From those who chided me via text to the chap who sent an e-mail with a milk carton and a screen shot of Flynnsight, thank you. It’s nice to know that people—other than my loyal sister, Travis Burt and the person in Illinois who landed on Flynnsight by Googling “jort Spanx”—are reading.

It’s not that I haven’t thought about posting. I’ve got a purse full of Post-it notes bearing blog topics: why Lent is for quitters, the deflating mental challenge that comes with decoding stretched words to authorize online purchases (featuring one "mullet brigade" combo for Ticketmaster), the off-putting rise of 'Best' and 'Warm Regards' e-signatures, the day that Minnesota Phatts and Laserhaire Moval became @Flynnsight followers on Twitter.

Eh, maybe later. For now, I'm plagiarizing content from fourth graders.

The yuletide thank yous pasted below were plucked from a batch of 54 notes penciled with similar content. For good reason, they've hung in my work cube (across from the resume excerpt for Adventuresome Irish Surgeon) for more than a year. Don’t be fooled—these kiddos make me sound like quite the philanthropist. In reality, I helped connect two fourth grade classes with flimsy plastic pens and flavorless ChapStick bearing the Children’s logo.

Out of the mouths of babes…

Key takeaway—never underestimate a pen and lip balm stealer.

Sincere love from,

P.S. To all my fellow PR practitioners: good luck saving lives.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The McRaezy Huck O' the Irish

As I snapped this smug shot of Sean in what is now his front yard yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about my own first piece of Atlanta real estate. Hold up. I’m 25, work for a not-for-profit and irresponsibly invest more in designer denim than I do in the Dow Jones. That said, my first piece of real estate was a far cry from the eco-friendly, 3/2 on a corner lot that is Sean’s new abode: 'twas the 4x2 cubicle that comprised my workday home at McRae, my first job. I loved every square inch of that cube—all 18 of them. It was there on the 32nd floor of the Equitable Building, pulling all nighters at the copier, forcing elevator conservations to last 32 floors and crafting office pools for looming engagements, that my 9-to-5 neighbors became my Atlanta family.

The agency life that was McRae fit me like a pair of Kelly bootcut Citizens of Humanity jeans. Sure, the place had its quirks. I got stuck in the elevator. Twice. A walk from the creative lounge to account service saw a 15-degree dip in temperature. And I never did figure out what one particular colleague, armed with a briefcase full of cosmetics and hand towels, did in the bathroom from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. every day. But, it also had its charm.

Aesthetically, the office had a killer view of Atlanta, and the look and feel of a carousel. It was also home to the 3 p.m. disrumption (nope, no typo there), when the jam of the day—be it Flo-Rida, Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder—prompted the account service team to bust out with a three-minute afternoon intermission. And, more often than not, there was vino in the fridge.

In early March, I sought the guidance of one of my favorite creative mentors for this year's St. Patrick’s Day card. Without skipping a beat, he was onboard, and the below masterpiece hit the Flynnbox the next day. That's McRaezy. More accurately, that's you, Bill.

Without further ado, in honor of St. Patty's
the very day that answers The Killers' query "Are We Human, or Are We Dancer?"
let the day of the 24-hour, jig-ified disrumption begin with this, my parting e-gift from McRae.