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March 3, 2012 / achanguris

FredNMT

Amanda Changuris presents "Sticky Situations" at the 2012 Frederick New Media and Technology Conference.

August 10, 2011 / achanguris

Neglect

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a horrible blogger — at least on the personal side of things.

To be fair, I’m responsible for a pretty decent blog at work. That takes a good bit of writing time and management time, and I’ve found I don’t really have that much to say here.

Don’t get me wrong; I have A LOT to say. I’m just saying it on Twitter or Facebook rather than here.

It’s not you, WordPress blog, it’s me. I’ve always been a proponent of brevity; you can ask my Advanced Placement Literature and Composition teacher from high school. That love of expressing myself in few words helped me through a good TV/radio news career and now helps me immensely in the social media realm.

In short — world, if you’re looking for me, I’m all over the internet. I’m just more likely to be found where there are character limits!

August 11, 2010 / achanguris

Kittens on a Plane

Air travel is full of inconveniences. Measure your liquids. Take off your shoes, belt, jewelry and dignity. Weave through this cattle chute, even though we haven’t opened the desk yet, so you’ll be waiting in queue until our employees show up.

Delays happen. On our trip out to Greece we sat on the runway for 90 minutes because of a thunderstorm that left us 22nd in line for takeoff. Leaving Batsi, we stood in the afternoon heat with our packs on, waiting for a bus that (as far as we know) never came. It happens, it’s annoying, and you just suck it up and try to enjoy your trip in spite of the hassles.

As far as delays go, this was the most adorable reason – ever.

I briefly met the sweet, middle-aged woman near the gate in Athens. She was traveling with three kittens in tow, all rescued strays from the island of Crete. They even had little kitty passports to document their journey to the United States.

When we boarded and took our seats, I was happy to see she was just one row in front of us with her pet carrier full of kittens safely under the seat in front of her. As we prepared for an on-time departure, there was a stir in her row and we learned one of the kittens had managed to sneak out of the carrier. Everyone on the plane looked around for the little Houdini-cat, but we couldn’t find him.

Then a page overhead: “This is the captain speaking, we’re ready to push back from the gate, but one of our passengers is traveling with a pet cat and it got out of the carrier. We’ve located the cat here in the cockpit and we’re doing our best to remedy the situation so we can get underway.”

About ten minutes later a flight attendant offered an update, “The cat is still in the cockpit, we have our maintenance crew trying to get him out. We’re sorry for the delay and appreciate your patience.”

Now, of all of the reasons to be late getting off the ground, I think this is my favorite. The little kitten broke out of his carrier, slipped entirely unnoticed past a full 40 rows of passengers and up into the cockpit, and then found a nice, cozy spot to hide.

Eventually the cat was caught – or “in the bag” in the words of Captain Cliche – and we were on our way.

I’ll be delayed an hour for a kitten any day… and love it.

Update: It’s now 9:30pm EST (that’s 4:30am in Greece for those of you playing along at home) and we’re on our way to Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. The plan was to fly into Baltimore Washington International, but thanks to that kitten we missed our planned connection. Honestly, I still don’t mind.

It does help that my Dad was planning to pick us up from the airport. It’s just a different airport now! Love you, Daddy!

August 3, 2010 / achanguris

Greece 2010 – On Andros 2

Inadvertant words of wisdom from my dear sister-in-law Andrea on this, our last full day of our stay on Andros Island, Greece.

[Let’s go get coffee] after snack, before nap.

Ahh, reminds me of kindergarten… in a decidedly wonderful way.

Any day you can make plans around snack- and nap-times is a great (not to mention well-prioritized) day.

We’ve lived this past week moment-to-moment. Reveling in the fact that we’re free to check the time, but it doesn’t matter what time it actually happens to be. I’ve finished one book and flown halfway through another. We’ve alternated basking in the intense Greek sunshine and cooling off in the clear pristine waters off Batsi. We’ve enjoyed light lunches of tomato and cucumber salads, cheese and bread. Naptime.

Tomorrow evening we’ll leave Andros for a brief stop on Mykonos before catching the early ferry to Ios. I hope we can take this utterly-relaxed, care-free feeling along for the journey.

It’s such an indulgent feeling, knowing we’ll still be here in Greece for another week. As Harry predicted, I may never take a single-week vacation again!

July 30, 2010 / achanguris

Greece 2010 – On Andros

Ahh, Greece.

My husband and I are spending a week on Andros Island, about an hour’s highspeed ferry ride from Athens. It’s the island where his great-grandmother grew up before coming to the United States in 1912.

The island is close to Athens, but off the main ferry routes. It’s far less touristy than nearby Mykonos. We love the authentic look at Greek island life, particularly from our apartment just steps from the “Exemplary Beach at Batsi” (I didn’t make that up, it’s what the sign on the beach across the street says).

We arrived completely exhausted after the 24-hour trip from Frederick, Maryland and used the last of our energy getting settled in and grabbing dinner at the first taverna in the row along the water’s edge.

We’re still working on getting our clocks turned around, we’ve been sleeping in until at least 10am for the past two days. That’s very late for us, but then again – we don’t have a schedule to keep!

So far our routine includes coffee and fruit on the balcony, several hours of sun and time in the cool, calm, clear water, showers, a light lunch, nap time, walks to explore Batsi, dinner and bedtime. It’s delightfully devoid of anything that “needs to be done”.

It’s been a lovely, restful vacation, just what we needed.

May 30, 2010 / achanguris

Value

You know what I love most about this whole Social Media thing? You guessed it (perhaps by the title of this blog entry) — value.

I love knowing that I can contribute all of the lessons I’ve learned (read: trial and error) and learn so much from the many, many people who have been working in the social sphere for so much longer. I’m continually surprised when my Social Media efforts on the work side of things are cited as “good” or even “great” — the Facebook site I maintain for Frederick Memorial Healthcare System has even been cited at a local conference I attended and, more recently, in a webinar from Pride Philanthropy.

Just this week, one of my blog entries for FMH — which encourages the use of sunscreen and other methods to reduce the risk of skin cancer — caught the attention of the Director of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.  He called my work number and left me a very kind message thanking me for getting the message out there.  In case you missed it, Friday May 28th was “Don’t Fry Day” — get it?  That’s my goal for this weekend — no sunburn.

The best part about all of this is that I’m not a “big deal” — I’m figuring all of this stuff out as I go (just like everyone else).  In a sea of gurus, experts and sherpas I’m more than happy to ride the wave and learn from everyone around me.  I love that parts of the social media universe work that way.  I love the people I’ve met through these efforts (that link will get you to some of them, but certainly not all).  I love being in the middle of something that’s growing and changing at a rate that encourages me to learn something new just about every day.

For a post with a title like “Value”, this may not provide a great deal to you — but if you’re willing to put the time in to look, I know you can find the value in Social Media.