Author Archive: sollmana

Memorial Day in a small town

My memories of Memorial Day are strongly tied to my high school marching band. We didn’t have a big band (only about 30 kids) and we weren’t a great band. However, every year on Memorial Day, we’d pull out our marching band uniforms for the only time all year to march in the parade that would ultimately lead us to the cemetery in town. There we’d play the national anthem, God Bless America and then one of our trumpet players would play “taps”.

I remember that the crowd for the parade seemed to thin a little more every year. I remember that it always seemed to rain. I remember watching the members of the VFW as they stood at attention during “taps”, with their hats and jackets letting you know which war they’d fought in. I remember that, even though the crowd was small and the average age was at least 60, there was a pride and sadness that filled the people of my small community, remembering those who had fought and not come home, as well as those who had come home but were slowly leaving this world for the next one-by-one.

I’m not always the biggest supporter of war. However, I have respect for those who put their life on the line for what they think will make our country safer. A small parade and ceremony each year in a small town in rural Michigan, although I didn’t know it at the time, taught me that respect.



Saying goodbye to Sunny…

I think there are times in life when you realize everything is changing. Sometimes it’s for the good, sometimes it’s for the bad. But, either way, there are times when all the signals pointing to change are there.

Sunny the Sunfire gave me 8 wonderful years. But (as you might be able to tell from the peeling paint and the rust), it was time for us to part ways and this morning we bid adieu.

I made this realization today, as I left my trusted Pontiac Sunfire at a dealership in exchange for a new (to me) Chevy Malibu. The Sunfire was my first car and has been with me through a lot: two years of high school filled with back and forth trips to Port Huron for dance practice, five years at Michigan State, a summer in Indiana, a summer in Kentucky and a 12-hour drive that moved me to Minnesota last year. While it was on its last leg, I can’t deny that the car has done well for me.

Selling the Sunfire and getting a new car, though, was more than just a vehicle change. It’s also a signal of change about where life is heading for me. And I think the direction is good. The new car means that I’ve made progress on my student loans, being responsible for the last year and pushing the Sunfire instead of making a new purchase the minute my cap and gown were off. The new car means I’m settling into my new job well. I have stability and enjoy what I’m doing. The new car means there’s a bright future ahead and that things are settling into place where they should be.

The new Malibu is the first in what I’m sure will be a long line of changes. It also signals that I’m going to be warm next winter, thanks to a remote starter!

In the next few months, the BF will be moving out here and we’re looking for a new apartment. Change begets change and that looks to be the next piece in the ever-evolving puzzle. Who knows where the path will go next? Whichever way, I like the outlook so far.

(But who knows? That could be the new car fumes talking.)

Out to the Movies: The Avengers

Haven’t seen The Avengers yet?

Do it. NOW.

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The stories behind the mouse

In the nearly four years Mitch and I have been dating, he's been to Disney World with me twice. It's a good thing he doesn't mind, because we have a lot more trips yet to take!

You don’t have to have known me very long to know that I love Disney. I was born and raised on the box-office busting animated films of the late 80s and early 90s and have been to Disney World more times than you have fingers. We can say all we want about corporate greed and the waist size of princesses and consumerism and so on, but there’s one fact that remains true.

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Les Miserables with international flavor

I love when musicals do something unique and different, which is why I loved this performance from the 10th anniversary concert of Les Miserables. They took the men who played the lead character, Valjean, all over the world and had them all sing the show’s banner song, Do You Hear the People Sing, in their native languages. The result is an amazing performance. Enjoy.

Big Love – Embrace it

Whenever I mention that I watch the HBO show Big Love, people always tend to give me a sideways glance. It’s that glance that says “Isn’t that about polygamists? Why would you want to watch a show about that?” Well, it is about polygamists. But it’s also about more than that.

It’s about family.

Big Love is about more than polygamy. It's about family and the different ways that love can look for each of us.

If you take the time to watch the first season of Big Love, you’ll learn that the show portrays so much more than just a group of polygamists. There are dynamics and relationships between the husband, Bill, and each of his wives, as well as between each of the wives themselves. During the season finale of the first season, I remember being in body-shaking tears because of the emotions and situations that this family was going through. Yes, I get overly attached to characters, but that can only happen when you can identify with something those characters are feeling. The show may be about polygamists, but they experience feelings and situations many of us go through daily.

Because of the situations the show puts its characters in, I think Big Love pushes its viewers to understand and look at the idea of what makes a family a little differently. Now I’m not saying I’m running out to be an advocate of polygamy. However, I think we all need to be reminded now and again that love and family look different to each of us. Is it our place to judge what that should be?

If you have the chance (or Netflix), I’d encourage you to check out Big Love. There’s only 5 seasons and they’re all pretty short (10-12 episodes a season). I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Out to the Movies: The Hunger Games

Warning: This post contains spoilers about The Hunger Games books and movies. Don’t read if you don’t want to know.

I love a movie that, the minute the credits start rolling, you want to watch again. You want to disappear back into that world. For me, that’s how The Hunger Games was.

Not that I should have been surprised. The books were the same way.

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Memphis Lives in Me

Okay. So that title is kind of a lie. Because I don’t think I’ve ever been to Memphis.

But, boy did I love the musical!

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Proud of my work and I’m going to shout it!

When you work in marketing/advertising/public relations, sharing work from your clients in your personal realms seems really self-serving. After all, most people can figure out really quick that you’re just plugging the company who ultimately funds your paychecks. I get that. But here’s the thing.

I’m really proud of the things I work on.

For nearly two years, my agency has been working hard on a rebranding project for the Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. cattle division. Starting the beginning of February, the pieces that everyone has been putting their heart and soul into started getting introduced to the public, first at two veterinarian-specific conferences and then at NCBA. The branding philosophy is centered on preventing disease through improving nutrition, the environment, observing livestock and vaccinating, in order to minimize treatment and improve overall animal health.

Yes, it’s a corporate initiative. But, at the end of the day, isn’t disease prevention and healthy animals something we can all stand behind? I think so. And that’s why I’m so proud of the work we’re doing.

Here’s a bit of an overview of how BIVI is approaching animal health to prove that “prevention truly is the best medicine.” You can also check out for more information.

Are you already implementing disease prevention strategies on your operation? What types of things do you do? Know of another example of corporate work/initiatives you’re proud of or impressed by? Would love to hear about it in the comments!

On my own…

For most of us, doing things alone is intimidating. Eating at a restaurant, going to the movies, shopping – people are social and flying solo is usually not a fun thing to do.

Which is why people raised their eyebrows when I said I was moving to the city on my own, I’m sure.

I’ve learned to do a lot of things on my own. Sometimes, it’s the only way I ever get out of my apartment. This past weekend, I went and saw a movie for the first time by myself.

It was incredibly refreshing and a little empowering.

I know it sounds silly, but to feel comfortable enough and independent enough to go by yourself to do something normally done in a groupisreally empowering. It’s just a little step, but it means I’m not dependent on others. I’m okay. Maybe even a little brave.

And I like that.