End of Winter Update

At least it better be the end of winter.

50 weeks ago today I broke my right hand. Approximately 47 weeks ago I left for Djibouti. Close to 9 months ago I began a fitness journey that would lead to 30 pounds lost, amazing muscle tone gain and a shocked primary care physician.

I suppose the summer of 2014 was a significant one in my personal history, and maybe, with luck and inspiration, 2015 will continue to be a transformative year.

But first I must survive the winter. The Northeastern Coast of the United States has experienced a brutal winter. I maintained a good attitude about it until last week. Now I’m ready to sell my house and move to Africa.

My friend counted four storms last week. They slayed me. I spent an hour a day shoveling various increments of winter slop. Thursday I shoveled snow for twenty minutes before work (around 6 a.m.) and my husband drove through the snow storm at lunch time to get me home. I shoveled for 45 minutes after work, about six inches of snow soaked with water run-off and caked with ice. Then, when I had the street half done, the plow came through.

The plow pushed a thick wall of ice onto the end of our parking pad so I shoveled that. Then I started working on the plow pile at the end of the alley. 

On Friday– after two snow days in a row– our local school district changed their two-hour delay to a closing. My back was sore at this point but I ignored it.

I had a 6 p.m. appointment in Washington D.C. for my interview to approve my global entry/known trusted traveler application. I walked out my front door and ended up crouched on the sidewalk in pain. 

So many recent displays of strength and endurance and I overdo it shoveling.

But I made it to D.C. and thanks to muscle relaxers and codeine, I made it to the Reagan Building and commiserated with my agent about our back pain. He perused my background and seemed puzzled not by my trip to Yemen or expired Algerian visa, but by the fact that I work retail.

I’ve been fingerprinted and have been approved.



After a delightful dinner of thai food and the delectable pastries of La Caprice for breakfast, my husband and I headed home. Not much can be done in D.C. with limited mobility.

But now, as my back slowly returns to normal (I’d say 90% today), I lament my pathetic fitbit numbers. Yesterday I walked a mile. That’s it all day. My lowest day ever. Friday and Saturday were about three miles. My weekly tally is 55,000 steps. I was over 100,000. 

I have a seven hour shift today so hopefully I don’t reinjure myself.

Finally, on another topic, still researching grad schools. I am interested in taking Arabic locally here in the Lehigh Valley. I also found a local university that offers a graduate certificate in women’s studies, an area in which I wish my portfolio was stronger. I have another school in mind for history, yet another for international relations (I’m considering an MSFS and/or conflict resolution), and also investigating Africana studies.

And on another note, I am a chapter away from finishing my third fiction manuscript.

En route: Hijab practice

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When I traveled to Tunisia in 2012, I learned to tie a hijab. I used this skill twice during my travels, once very successfully and the second, well, a tad dismally.

I am renewing my hijab practice since I will certainly need to cover in Yemen.

I struggled to use the same scarf that I did in Tunisia, but it kept looping over my face. I used a more narrow scarf in a jersey-like fabric and that became much easier to maneuver.

I made some YouTube videos of my initial attempts. I like the red scarf, and have a purse that matches it. Continue reading “En route: Hijab practice”

Unification!

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Meet Zoot. She’s my life advisor, also known as my old grouchy cat. When they termed the word “crotchety,” they had her in mind. She’s been my companion for nearly 15 years. 

As Zoot can tell you, I am a complicated person. She will also say I am difficult because I did not share my tapioca pudding or my turkey at dinner last night.

But the reality is, I have many interests, many commitments and a part-time job at my local Target.

I am also hoping to pursue some of my neglected interests this year (fiction writing, translation, photography). If you’d like more on my literary endeavors, here is the place to look:

http://www.angelchatting.blogspot.com/2014/01/false-starts.html

I wrote last week about starting a new novel and the importance of the right start. Before that I was working on a review of Robert Root’s memoir Happenstance for Hippocampus (online) magazine.

If you’d like something yummier, I made a scrumptious simplified version of lamb vindaloo. Recipe available here:

http://www.angelfoodcooking.blogspot.com/2014/01/lamb-vindaloo.html

And if you merely want more photos of cats (or food), I encourage you to look me up on Instagram: angelackerman.

 

Blogs

My friends have mentioned that this portfolio/ web site isn’t quirky enough to encapsulate my personality and versatility. I’m still sorting that out. Until one of those friends nails me to the wall and imposes deadlines on labeling and displaying such quirks, progress may be slow.

I have decided to use an older blog of mine to chronicle current projects:
Chatting With Imaginary Friends

Today’s entry is mundane but sets a stage.

http://bit.ly/1kb3snZ

Another facet of my life that doesn’t appear on http://www.angelackerman.com is my cooking blog, which may be my most prolific and longstanding online work.

Angel Food Cooking

Meet me: A professional summary

A package arrived today from the U.S. Dept. of State. It contained a certificate of appreciation from John Kerry thanking me for my service as an intern to USAID.

A package arrived today from the U.S. Dept. of State. It contained a certificate of appreciation from John Kerry thanking me for my service as an intern to USAID.

SUMMARY

Recovering journalist with 15 years experience in the newspaper industry seeking to build on more than five years experience in public relations. With a blend of academic and professional experience, and technological savvy, I aim to use my communications skills for any entity with a mission that aligns with my values.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Journalism: As managing editor of Lehigh Valley News Group, I helped select staff and launched five weekly newspapers. As editor of Blue Valley Times, I expanded content of “good news” weekly to include hard news. At each of my positions, I have trained freelancers and interns. Prolific with any type of copy including book reviews, entertainment, editorials, opinion, news, features, school, health and business articles. Well-versed with AP style. I currently review books for Hippocampus magazine.
  • Editing: I have edited several weekly newspapers and supervised newsroom. Write, proofread and/or edit letters, essays, press releases, history dissertations, and fiction manuscripts in AP and Chicago style. Translate French to English. Designed, wrote and edited external and internal, print-ready newsletters for YWCA of Bethlehem (YWCA), Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG) and Lafayette College. Also at Lafayette College, I wrote alumni publications that went to press every six to eight weeks.
  • Non-profit Public Relations: At United States Agency for International Development (USAID), I designed color flyers and logos within existing branding standards. At the YWCA of Bethlehem (YWCA), I designed and wrote modern, clean-looking brochures and event programs; revamped end-of-program celebratory event for 60 children plus families to include more activities, more media coverage and better food within existing budget; drafted annual appeal letter; created new publicity strategies such as distributing weekly press releases, updating the web site every Friday and hosting photo opportunities for local media which tripled agency presence in media. For the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG), I designed two-color ads and promoted regional writers conference in local and national media. At Lafayette College, I drafted press releases on student activities and pitched them to media across the country, yielding a placement rate of approximately five stories per week.
  • Computer skills: Perform basic desktop publishing and graphic design in PageMaker, Quark and InDesign/Creative Suite. Basic Photoshop skills. Social media skills include Facebook (GLVWG, Mary Meuser Memorial Library, YWCA of Bethlehem), Twitter (creativelyangel), LinkedIn, Instagram (angelackerman), Blogger, some Google Plus. Some Dreamweaver, FrontPage and HTML. Some Filemaker database script. Utilize PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezy, iMovie and iDVD to create videos and slideshows. Maintain two blogs (on food: http://www.angelfoodcooking.blogspot.com and on writing: http://www.angelchatting.blogspot.com).

JOURNALISM EMPLOYMENT (1991-2007)

Freelance Reporter, Morning Call (2001-06); Managing Editor, Lehigh Valley News Group and Editor, The Bethlehem News (2006-07); Reporter, Phillipsburg Chronicle (2003-05); Editor, Blue Valley Times (2002-03); Reporter/Photographer, Free Press (2001-02); Stringer, The Star-Ledger (1994); Features Writer, Blue Valley Times (1991-97)

OTHER RELATED WORK EXPERIENCE

  • eIntern, USAID Internal Communications Washington, DC
  • Media Liaison, YWCA of Bethlehem Bethlehem, PA
  • News Editor, Lafayette College Easton, PA
  • Publicity Assistant, Lafayette College Easton, PA
  • Public Relations Intern, Crayola Forks Township, PA

EDUCATION

Lafayette College, Easton, PA GPA 3.6
Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, 2013

Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA GPA 3.47
Bachelor of Arts in English, French minor, 1997

FOREIGN LANGUAGES

FRENCH; very minimal German, Spanish and Irish Gaelic, desire to learn Arabic

OTHER LEADERSHIP/VOLUNTEERISM

Trustee, Mary Meuser Memorial Library Wilson, PA, September 2008 to Present
President, Mary Meuser Memorial Library Wilson, PA, January 2011 to January 2013
Board Member, GLVWG Bethlehem, PA, February 2007 to June 2013
President, GLVWG Bethlehem, PA, July 2007 to June 2008, also July 2009 to June 2010
Secretary of the Advisory Board, Penn State Extension Northampton County Nazareth, PA, January 2008 to December 2011
4-H Leader, Northampton County Wilson, PA, October 2007 to April 2008
Girl Scout Leader, Cheston Elementary Easton, PA, September 2001 to March 2003
Stage Manager, Moravian College Theatre Bethlehem, PA, August 1993 to August 1997

HONORS AND RECOGNITION

  • Editor and panelist, The Write Stuff conference, 2008 and 2009
  • Media panelist, Penn State Cooperative Extension regional conference, 2008
  • NJ Library Association Journalism Award, 2004
  • Nominated for the Morning Call’s publisher’s Call to Excellence Award, 2004
  • Inducted to academic honorary societies of Sigma Tau Delta (English), Alpha Phi Omega (theatre), Phi Sigma Iota (foreign language) and Sigma Iota Rho (International Relations)
  • Josephine Farace Award for Excellence in Journalism from Express-Times, 1992

BLOGS/INTERNET PRESENCE

LinkedIn; Instagram: AngelAckerman; Twitter: creativelyangel

Article: From Morning Call via Library of Congress www.openworld.gov/article/printphp?id=27&lang=1

Book Reviews: “My Battle of Algiers” (April 2012), “Steve Jobs” (June 2012), “Jimi Hendrix” (July 2012), “House of Stone by Anthony Shadid” (February 2013), Hippocampus Magazine

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Honors Thesis at Lafayette College: How colonial stereotypes of Algerian Muslim inferiority influence the rights of Muslim citizens/immigrants in France today. Presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate research, April 12, 2013 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Other interests: 20th century France, religion and citizenship, postcolonial Francophone Africa, haute couture

Travel: United States, France, Quebec, Tunisia