The Story: Janna and I met about four years ago on the day of the Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade. She had marched in the parade – well, it was more rolling than marching – as part of the ManchVegas Roller Girls roller derby team. It was my first year on the parade committee and I was at the center of Salmon and Elm Streets weaving together the units from the lineup area into the right order and sending them down the street looking like a parade.
I remember the feisty, outlandish women as a group but I didn’t meet Janna until after the parade when I was hanging around at Strange Brew with some friends sharing a celebratory drink. I can still remember the group of them, all ripped fishnets, miniskirts and sassy t-shirts, full of kinetic energy, rolling around and mouthing off when I didn’t get them in the right order. Still, they were easier to move around in the parade lineup than a float or a 150-person high school marching band, so I mouthed off right back at them and we got the parade down the street. (No surprise that in ensuing years, I have been given a different job on parade day!)
Later, at Strange Brew, I still had on my yellow “parade staff” jacket (and I had somehow wandered off with the Fire Department’s radio still clipped to my belt – a detail several off-duty firefighters noticed at the bar and reported back to the powers that be). Janna approached me to say that she thought she was interested in joining the parade committee and how should she do that. What I remember most about her that day was her green hair. Bright green. Not spray-in-for-the-day green but I-meant-to-do-this green. What she remembers is being intimidated by me – something (I hope) she realized there was no need for after we got to know each other!
She was friendly and funny and had a great smile and, at the time, I was the youngest person on the committee by 20 years anyway so I gave her my card and told her to drop me a line, which she did, and, as of that September, she joined the committee.
Janna is a very talented graphic designer and web developer so we naturally ended up working together since I’m the marketing and PR person on the parade committee. I had already been working to spruce up the marketing efforts for the parade committee and her beautiful, professional graphics and keen eye were just what I needed to give it some extra oomph! Not to mention having an ally on the committee AND someone who was younger than 50 were both things that improved the experience for me tremendously.
Interestingly, through the years, Janna and I have developed a fantastic friendship. I say “interestingly” because we’re an odd pair, Janna and me. You see, we’re pretty much polar opposites in just about every way. She’s a tomboy; I’m a – yeah, I’ll say it – princess. She’s into sports – the more contact the better; she recently said she was considering boxing since her soccer days are over, not that soccer is supposed to be a contact sport but still. Janna is into pushing physical limits and has broken some serious bones doing it. I’m, well…..not. She dyes her hair to match her whims, or maybe holiday seasons, and I got coiffed on Newbury Street until my hairdresser of 15+ years opened his own shop in Somerville.
I consider her to be so much more capable than me in so many ways that it always amuses me when I pull off something that she says she could never do – like this spring when I took apart my grill and changed out the burners. Plus, I can cook and she, well, can’t. (hee hee!)
So outwardly, we’re an odd pair but we’ve got a few key things in common. It’s funny what people bond over. With Janna and me, it was Peeps. Yes, those sugary marshmallow bunnies and chicks traditionally only available around Easter. We both love them an unreasonable amount. We both hoard them so we have an emergency stash between Peeptastic holidays. We’re both not sure we approve of Peeps at Halloween or Christmas, even though it’s nice to be able to get them more than once a year. I even made a Facebook page for my Peeps devotion a couple of years ago. And, I suggested that we do a road trip down to the Peeps store, which is somewhere in Washington D.C. or Virginia, but we haven’t quite made the time to do that yet.
Janna and I are also both very creative and in the marketing end of the world professionally so we like to share information on industry developments, bounce ideas around and pick up new stuff from each other.
The Drink: To honor our shared love of Peeps, Janna and I concocted the Peepmopolitan, a Peeperrific take on a traditional Cosmo, and had the bartender garnish it with Peeps that we brought from our stash. We had the drink just a few days after her birthday, so it was nice to be able to celebrate our birthdays together, even though they’re almost six months apart!