Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Celebration and Sedation

Today is the first day of the Irish's next season. Happy 2006 to you all!

The holidays were wonderful for Clan Martinez. We had a visit from Santa that brought the kids' bicycles. We had a visit from the California Grandparents that brought the kids laughter and much needed day care during the Christmas break. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve where we welcomed my mom into the Davis Family Tradition of Pizza and Tamales. Christmas brought gifts, laughter and happiness. In a year that brought sorrow and difficulty to many, I am very happy to say that 2005 was a great year for our family and I was a little sad to see it draw to an end.

Some key celebrations in 2005 included:
  • Judi's move to Dallas
  • My brother Mike's engagement to a great lady, Tracy
  • Carly, my sister's daughter was born
  • Lynn's promotion
  • Alex's acceptance into the Gift and Talented Program
  • My friend Pam's long awaited wedding
  • The Redskins beating the Cowboys, twice

Some key sedations in 2005 were:
  • The horror of Katrina, with friends who have family who lost their homes
  • The earthquake in Pakistan, with new found friends who lost some family
  • Medical scares for family and friends
  • The continued "leadership" of our president
  • The Irish loss to USC
  • The Cowboys loss to Redskins, twice (Alex was very un-happy)

Overall, 2005 was definitely filled with more blessings than sorrows for our family. But, in the spirit of Irish fans who just won't die, I must share a few conversations from last night.

First, Alex was very upset by the loss. He was crying by the end of the game. I turned off the TV and turned on my best "mom" voice and said, "Alex, it's only a game. It'll be ok." (Of course, inside I too, was upset, but he didn't need to know that.)

I reminded him it was time for bed and we headed upstairs. Still sniffling, he said, "I really hate Ohio State, Mom."

Understanding his sentiment completely, I said, "You don't have to like them honey. It's just a team."

I reached for his Leprechaun and handed it to Alex. As it began to play The Fight Song, I suggested he go to sleep and dream of playing for The Irish and beating Ohio State. With a weak smile, he said, "Good night, Mom. I love you."

Later, I found Lorenzo in his office. He wasn't crying, but he was annoyed by the outcome. "They're calling for Minter's head. He's the guy who let BC beat us, you know."

"Lorenzo, it's just a game. Alex was crying. He said he hates Ohio State. At least he won't ever want to go there."

"How long has it been since we've won a bowl game honey? 10, no 12 years?!?"

"The last time they won you were a student, Lorenzo. I have an idea, why don't you apply to be a student again? We'll pack up here and move to South Bend. What do you think?"

"Yeah, I'll call my boss right now," he said in pure jest.

"Actually, you know, they haven't won a bowl game since we've known each other," I told him. "Maybe it's us."

So, my dear readers, please let us know how you think we can best break this streak. Should we move to South Bend or break up? I vote for the move!!!

****Please note, this poll is purely in jest!

Monday, December 19, 2005

$425 Seat, and That’s the Cheap One

So every once and a while, life at the office has it's perks. Last year when I moved to the big cube with a door (but no roof or real privacy) I thought I was moving up in the world. It seemed that my promotion was the beginning to real executive perks.

A year later, I must admit those perks have been few and far between. I still make coffee at least once every day and I still had to coordinate the Thanksgiving Pot Luck, because the SVP looked at the lone woman in the room to do it.

However, redemption or at least acceptance has recently come my way!

Last week, after a very long day, I went back to my cube with a door to pack up and head home. My boss stopped me and asked me if I'd like to go to the Mav's game.

I know, everyone knows I am not the biggest of basketball fans. The last pro game I saw was in Chicago when MJ still played. (Also corporate seats, by the way.) Anyway, after the day, I really wanted to relax with a beer. My boss is cool, so I accepted the offer.

Luckily, Lorenzo was ok with my decision, so with a quick call home we headed downtown.

Kevin and I were joined by two VP's from our department. Rob and Craig have worked together for over 15 years. They are often called Frick & Frack, but many would think of them as a married couple chiding and teasing each other through the evening.

We were to meet 3 other VP's and a SVP at the game. Apparently Cadbury has a suite, but it's not one I was expecting. It's referred to as "The Bunker". People with court-side seats have to have court-side access right?

So, we arrived at the AA Center and took the elevator down to the court area. We walked through the underbelly of the AA Center, passing employees, security and a few players' wives too.

We didn't make it to the right place before tip-off, so we headed to our seats instead. Imagine my surprise to be seated courtside. For those who watch basketball, please pardon my naive descriptions.

On each side of the court, there is usually a long table. Sportscasters usually sit at these tables, and the players go to them to "check-in" to the game. My seat was at that table!

I called Lorenzo because the Phoenix coach was standing right in front of me so there was a good chance I would be on TV. He asked if I was sitting beside Kevin. Kevin has rather recognizable fluffy hair, so I wasn't surprised that Lorenzo might see it. Apparently I was rather blocked by the Phoenix coach, but hey the sentiment is there!

At half time we headed to our bunker. It was a nice suite with 4 TV's, a full bar, and plenty of food. There were even chocolate covered strawberries. I enjoyed them fully.

Apparently, the Dr Pepper suite is very popular because of it's proximity to the floor. Don Nelson, the former Maverick's coach came to use our bathroom twice in the second half. Besides that, two of the ESPN commentators also used our bathroom. The older gentlemen apologized for cutting in front of me. He said he had to get back to the floor.

As the second half started, we traded our "table seats" for the $425 seats that the other Cadbury guests were using. I don't know when a $425 seat became cheap, but that's what they called them. So after another beverage, we headed to our cheap seats and watched the rest of the game. Our seats were behind Mark Cuban's wife.

The game ended and we hit the bunker one last time before heading home. I got to shake hands with Cuban, Nelson and Novitsky on the way out of the AA Center. It was definitely a memorable experience.

For those who care. The Maverick's did win. It was not really close, as the Suns scored first, and that was the only time they led during the game.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Alex is 7

Happy Holidays!

Well, it's the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, and I am watching the Irish without their best effort. Lorenzo could definitely be in a better mood, but those of you who know him, know that's pretty normal.

Alex had a great 7th birthday. Tom was tender, the desserts were fantastic and with so many blessings, I certainly can't complain about this wonderful holiday. Alex got a Gameboy, a Julius Jones Cowboy's jersey and a new watch. He also got money, and is planning to buy a Gameboy game with his fat wallet.

I took some extra time off work last week and got to see Alex perform a Thanksgiving show at school. There is nothing more cute than seeing a group of 1st graders singing Super Turkey! We had a great day together.

Wednesday, Alex and I saw Chicken Little and had lunch with Susanna. It was another nice day together. Thursday, my mom was over early, and she helped me prepare the meal. The kids had a great day. Unfortunately for Alex, the Cowboys lost, but overall it was a great day.

Friday, we took it easy and decorated for the season. Alex helped me decorate the tree and outside. We were the first ones on our block with our outside lights up. It looks good!

Today, we started with some shopping at Northpark. So far, we have finished about 1/4 of our shopping. I am quite glad to be getting some out of the way!

Tomorrow, we don't have big plans. It will be nice to have an easy day. I am actually ready to head back to work now. Who would have thought?!?

With most of my travels drawing to a close, I am finally able to enjoy some time with the family. It'll be nice to come home to the family most evenings, again.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Winter FINALLY Comes to Dallas

Good Morning All! I hope this finds you well.

When I drove into the office this morning, the skies were gray and foreboding. According to the weather man, we reached our high for the day this morning. We have a risk of freeze overnight and winter is finally here.

I have watched as my crepe myrtles dropped their leaves in the past few weeks. I was surprised, since the temperature has consistently been in the 70's or warmer. I have been wondering if we would ever see some cooler weather. Had it not been for my trips north this fall, I wouldn't have had a reason to wear a sweatshirt yet!

It's a week until Thanksgiving and I am very excited and ready for the holiday season. Thanksgiving is my favorite of all holidays. I know it seems weird for me to choose that one instead of Christmas, but truly Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season for all. I enjoy it as the beginning. I enjoy the meal with my entire family. I enjoy every aspect of the day from preparation of Tom the Turkey to the nap I tend to fall into during the Cowboy's game.

This year Thanksgiving will be even more special as it falls on Alex's 7th birthday. I can't believe it was 7 years ago that I was stomping around VERY PREGNANT and ready to have that baby. He has grown so much!

He brought home his second report card of first grade last week and again, had made the A honor roll. I am very proud of him, of course. His reading is improving and he has been a god send to Lorenzo in my recent travels, helping out wherever necessary. I think he knows Santa is watching, but I'll take the help wherever I can get it!

Meghan well, she is just two. She is very, VERY stubborn sometimes, but others as sweet as a chocolate cake. This weekend was my first weekend to spend with her in 3 weeks. I enjoyed every moment! Even the stubborn ones. She is talking more and more. She repeats Alex as he practices his spelling words. She loves Maggie and demands a doggie kiss every night. She snuggles better than anyone I know, and this weekend I painted her fingers and toes. Yes, we had homemade pedicures together.

Lorenzo has been busy preparing for the Trombone performances for the holiday season. I believe his group has 4 or 5 appearances scheduled throughout December, but he can only make two. I know he is really enjoying the music and rigor of playing again.

My mom and I are heading to North Carolina this weekend to meet my brother Mike's fiance's family. Tracy is a wonderful young woman and I am sure her family will be just as great. It's been almost 3 years since I have seen my sister, her family and my father. I am looking forward to seeing them, but also a little nervous. I know family is family, but I don't get to see them as often as I'd like. It's always a little scary to see people you love, but know they haven't seen how you may have changed. I am sure it will be fine and a wonderful weekend for all of us!

Pam's wedding! Well, it happened. It was beautiful. It is kind of a blur for me. I can honestly say the reception was AWESOME. I got to visit with friends and parts of Pam's family that I now consider part of my own. It was a truly wonderful day!

Well, with work to do, I must go. Take care!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

9 Nights Away From Home

The big trip I am on (and I mean long when I say big) is one I have known about for months. I left Dallas on Friday Oct 28th after work. I made the 4 hour trek to Houston for the continuation of wedding festivities in anticipation of Pam’s big day.

The drive to Houston was uneventful, thank heavens. Pam and I had dinner at Momung’s (sp) and planned our very full weekend schedule.

Saturday we had a lot to do. We needed to pick up the wedding bands, some fancy pages for the tables at the wedding and the ingredients for the favors at the wedding. Pam had a very specific idea about how the favors would look on the tables and we needed to get started.

Unfortunately, our most of our volunteer force, which were to help us dip 150 Oreos in chocolate, wrap them and tag them, couldn’t be there to help. Luckily, Pam, her cousin, Mrs. Tyner and I get along well and got straight to work. It was a busy afternoon, both Saturday and Sunday, but we got them all dipped, dried, packaged and tagged without killing each other or coming to blows. I am very proud of how we worked together on that project. Plus there was the added benefit of teasing Pam as much as possible throughout the day.

Saturday night was Pam’s Bachelorette Party. We had so much fun. There were 7 of us ladies (+ Natalie, Cathi’s daughter). We started at Pam’s with a champagne toast and “dressing Pam”. We headed to dinner at Farrago’s in mid-town Houston and then took the train to downtown and hit a bar. It was a very fun evening and to protect the innocent, I’ll omit any explicit details. Suffice it to say, we had a great time.

Sunday, was another day dedicated to the favors. Exhausted, Sunday night, I was very glad I was traveling on Monday. I hoped for some rest.

HA. Monday brought weather to Texas. Weather means flight delays. So, my 9:30 flight out of Houston landed in Dallas at 1pm. (That should have landed at 10:30) I missed my connection to LaGuardia and was put on the 4pm flight. When we pulled back from the gate, we were number 47 in line for take off. I landed in NY at 10:30 that night and got to my hotel about 11:30. What a long day!

Snakes and Parrots in NYC

Have you ever walked around Times Square at 10pm on a Tuesday night? I can personally guarantee that there are more people there at that time, than I have seen in downtown Dallas at any given time.

Last night I got the opportunity to visit NYC for the first time. This year I have been to New York about 5 times, BUT I have always headed to our Rye Brook office and stayed in that area alone.

Last night, a group from the conference I am attending, decided to head to the city. I couldn’t miss it.

We took the train in from the White Plains station and stopped at Grand Central Station. We walked around and went to the arch where you can speak into one corner and hear the comment on the other side. It worked. That was way cool. Have you ever been? What a beautiful building! Train stations today would never look like that.

Kraig who lived in the city a few years back was our tour guide for the evening. We headed to Harlem on the subway to have dinner at a diner near his old stomping ground.

After dinner, we took the subway to Times Square. It was lit up and very bright even though it was 10pm. Those who know me are probably surprised I was out that late, but I can tell you the energy of the city is electric.

While walking around Times Square, I literally saw a man with a large parrot on one shoulder and one very large snake in each hand. He was walking around among the crowds. I AM SO GLAD HE DIDN’T COME CLOSE TO ME. It was too freaky for me. What great people watching!

Did you see the Today Show on Tuesday morning? Katie Couric was on top of Rockefeller Center with the Rockette’s, because it was the first day you could go to the top in 20 years. Of course, we needed to see it. The experience was very cool and well worth the $14. It was a clear and beautiful night. I was most enraptured by the Empire State Building. It was so beautiful.

Finally, we grabbed the subway back to Grand Central and the train back to White Plains. I got back to my hotel about 1:30. It was a late night for me but well worth it.

I must get back to NYC to spend a little more time looking around. It was a great evening.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Great Weekend

Have you ever had one of those weekends that you just don't want to end? We did.

It started, for me, on Thursday. I took the day off so I could get the house in order before the big weekend away. This was my second of 4 weekends away from home this month, so the extra time helped set my mind at ease. I cleaned house in the morning and shopped in the afternoon. Overall it was a great day. I also dropped Maggie off at the vet and took Meghan to Mom Davis' house, since she was keeping her for the weekend.

Friday morning started early. Lorenzo, Alex and I had a 8am flight out of DFW to O'hare, so we needed an early start. At 4:44 a.m. Alex came running into the room. He was dressed, his teeth were brushed and he was ready. Obviously, he is my son, as I had been lying in bed for a half an hour awake too.

We got going and headed to the airport. Disappointingly, we discovered that the Chick Fil-a on Macarthur didn't open until 6:30, so we ate that the Chili's in the airport instead. Lorenzo genuinely enjoyed my newly earned gold flight status, as we had special (and I mean shorter) security lines and got to board in Group 1. I must admit, I am enjoying it too.

The flight wasn't exciting and I am glad for that. Alex finished his October book reports, so we could enjoy the weekend without homework over our heads. Once in Chicago, we got in the rental and headed to South Bend.

Traffic wasn't too bad, except for some construction on 294 and 80. We arrived at 1 and stopped in for a quick visit with Putt. Lunch was at Macri's and then we headed to the bookstore for shopping.

After doing our part to bolster the Indiana economy, we had a quick visit with Karen Putt at the alumni office. From there, we split. Alex and Lorenzo headed to the band practice, while I walked over the the Grotto. All of the candles were lit and it was beautiful. There was a priest giving blessings. I thanked God for another wonderful year of blessings and feeling refreshed, went to meet Alex and Lorenzo. The band practice was going well. Alex made some friends with his football and was enjoying running around with them.

From there, we made our trip to Meijer to support the tailgate. I got the supplies for Bloody Mary's and we added a few other items.

We had plans to meet Jeff Squyres at Doc Pierce's for dinner at 8. Alex was showing signs of fatigue but wasn't ready to give up yet. We headed to dinner and met up with John Shipman and one of Jeff's computer colleagues. We had fun remebering stories and catching up. About 5 minutes before dinner was served, Alex put his head down and fell asleep. He didn't wake up until morning. Poor kid. When he did finally wake up Saturday he said, "Mom, I don't remember eating my popcorn shrimp.". That's because he didn't.

So, Saturday morning, we awoke early again to prepare for the tailgate. Lorenzo and Alex went out for coffee, donuts and Chick Fil-a, (he was not to be deterred!), while I got up and ready. We helped Putt, Karen Putt and Erin load the cars and headed to campus.

The tailgate was in full swing by 8:45 with flags flying, beer flowing and Mary's mixing. A great time was had by all.

The game started at 1:30 and Alex and I sat together. It was raining slightly, but our ponchos kept us and our nachos dry. There was a family sitting next to us with a son of eight, who made friends quickly with Alex. There were many touchdowns and most were in our end zone. We were in the upper deck behind the students. Alex had a great time and enjoyed the interception for a touchdown the most.

The game ended and we stayed to watch the band play and sing our alma mater. It was a beautiful day for Irish football.

We met Lorenzo back at the tailgate and partied with the group until the sun was well set and the crowds were diminished. With a pizza from Brunos for dinner, our day ended with us watching the replay as we nodded off on the couch.

Sunday, Lorenzo, Alex and I had breakfast at Bibblers and headed back to Chicago. We bought a lottery ticket, because you can't win if you don't play and the jackpot was $125 million. Our flight was again, uneventful, and we made it safely home.

It's been a while since I have seen the Irish win at home. My last few trips to ND have had heartbreaker endings. I am glad we got a win this weekend. But mostly, I am glad to have a family like mine.

Alex was extremely well behaved for the weekend. Lorenzo and I had fun and got to meet some old friends. My in-laws took great care of Meghan, as always, and we all got home safe and sound. This is one of those times that it's really good to be me.

Monday, October 17, 2005


It's just not fair that the only 5 minutes of the Irish game that I saw were the most gut wrenching and ultimately heart breaking of all.

Then you add the continuous stream of "oh, it's too bad", "tough loss, Lynn", and "maybe next year" condolences I have received and it's like I can't forget Saturday.

I am proud of the Irish. They played well. We proved USC is not un-stoppable, just damn lucky this week.

Keeping the perspective, for me, helps. The past 3 years we have lost by 31 points. ND has not even been competitive in the second half during the last few years. This year, nail biter is the only word to describe the game. We looked good, period. I am very proud of our team for that.

Oh, if only ...

Lorenzo, Alex and I are heading up on Friday for the BYU game. I hope Charlie has the boys ready, because we need a home win.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Competing Allegiances

Oh, to be in South Bend this weekend. Lorenzo and I are really struggling with our obligations and our desires this week. All of you ND fans who can't be in South Bend are probably feeling the same. The kids are ready. Meghan has her ND t-shirt on today and her cheerleader outfit is ready for tomorrow. Alex has his jersey ready for tomorrow. Meghan has been practicing "Go Irish" and Alex is singing The Fight Song.

So, what's the problem, why aren't we there?

It's my fault. When Lorenzo and I put in for tickets this spring, I didn't want to go to SC. Yes, I was a skeptical believer in our ability to be ready. I am at fault.

In addition, we have a few personal commitments this weekend. Alex has soccer games. I am attending a few bridal showers and we're basically out of town the next 3 weekends. Reality, life beyond ND football has intervened.

I am sure some of you don't comprehend that statement. "Life beyond ND Football" may not compute. For my other friends, you're probably saying "Lynn and Lorenzo are finally joining reality". (Mica I mean you.) Say what you may. Think what you think. This reality is not easy for us.

ND football has been our Saturday religion for 13-15 years. It's a tough transition beyond it. BUT, we will be back.

AND, we will be in South Bend next week.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Grand Opening

Lynn has been traveling a lot lately for her job. She is currently in Florida now but will be back here tonight. This weekend will be the Grand Opening of the new Firewheel Center Mall that is about 3 miles from our home. We have been looking forward to this for a while since it has some nice anchor stores (Dillard’s, Foley, Barnes & Noble) and several other stores where Lynn and I like to shop. There are grand opening event all weekend for it. There will even be a 15 screen AMC theater adjacent to the mall but will not open until later this year. This will be so convenient come Christmas shopping season.

On the kid front, Meghan is, for the most part, potty trained. She has not gone while she is sleeping and has not had an accident for a long time while at her daycare. She is also learning new words everyday and has a tendency to mimic everything you say with pretty good accuracy. Her independent streak is not letting up as evidenced by her desire to climb into her safety seat in the back of my car. She also has to get out by herself while saying, “I do it. I do it.”

Alex made us very proud this week by making the ‘A’ Honor Roll at Kimberlin Academy for the 1st six weeks of school. He has been doing well on his homework and reading a lot more than the summer. Alex has also been doing well in soccer having scored the first goal of the season for his team. In a classic setting, he played goalie for most of the game and after the half, coach put him at the forward position. In no time at all, he and Caleb, his teammate took the ball into the opponent’s side of the field. With Caleb handling the ball, Alex, moved ahead, called for Caleb to pass to him, fielded the pass, then moved on to score the goal. It was just a perfect play.

Notre Dame is now in their bye week having gone 4-1, the one loss having come at the hands of Michigan St. in overtime. No one thought they would be at this point. Charlie Weis is the man. He has taken a 5-6 team with basically the same players and made them into this offensive machine. Not to get to carried away but the amount of yardage that ND is gaining is high compared to last year and raking 9th in the nation out of 117 teams. Now the not so good part, the defense still needs work and the secondary is still a trouble spot. However, it does seem that the Irish had adopted a bend-don’t-break philosophy, so while opponents score they do so with field goals and late TDs when the game has already been decided. When the Irish come off the bye week they will be facing USC. Ugghhh. These are the 2-time National Champions USC team that will be coming into ND Stadium next weekend. I have faith in Charlie to come up with a good scheme against this USC team but I am not sure the talent is there to stop USC and come out with a win. But ohh if they did……..

So in lieu of watching ND play, as this is their bye week, I will be attending the Texas-OU game this weekend, thanks to my Uncle Ernie. He got tickets and since he has extra I will be joining him. It will be nice to not really have to have a lot invested emotionally in the game. I would like Texas to win, since I grew up a UT fan but I will not be heartbroken about it if they lose. It will be good to get out and see a game.

We are due a load of wine from one of our favorite wineries around Napa later in the month. Vincent Arroyo Winery http://www.vincentarroyo.com/ is a local favorite and Lynn and I ran across it on the wine tour that we took there for her birthday trip. Our standing order with them should be coming soon. That, in addition, to the wine we recently got from our trip to Temecula, CA will make for a closet full of wine.

All for now.


Monday, September 26, 2005

AHH Football Season - I love fall

It's been another great weekend for Fighting Irish fans. The Irish beat Washington and the Martinez household was happy again!

When you add my son's excitement about Dallas beating the 49er's yesterday, all is well. He didn't have such great weekend last week. Not only had the Irish lost a heartbreaker to the Spartans in overtime, but then the Redskins beat his Cowboys on Monday night.

I was actually smiling as I wrote that. You see, I am a born and bread Redskins fan. Living in Dallas, is of course, very hard for me. When you add that my in laws, my husband and my kids all cheer for the Cowboys...Let's just say the drought of the last ten years has been tough. Of course, I've have stayed loyal!

So, in the spirit of the game last week, Alex and I bet on the game. It was a big and important bet. If the Redskins won, Alex had to buy me a piece of candy. If the Cowboys had won, I was to buy him a piece of candy.

Yesterday, I got my candy. We were at Northpark mall and hit the Godiva store. Man, that Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle was absolutely fantastic. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!

Poor Alex, I know he's only six. But, he honored his bet like a man of character. And, his Cowboys won yesterday afternoon. I am very proud of him. He's a good kid.

Remember, Go Irish, Beat Boilermakers!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

India - Delayed but finally!

I am home. I have recovered from jet lag and the cold I caught while there.

When I last posted, I had not yet worked with the AIESEC students. I survived it.

I was partnered with Farhan from Pakistan. He was a great partner. Together, we realized we both talk fast. We also realized that our shared MBA experiences made the material seem easier to teach than it actually was.

The AIESEC group is demanding. They are the idealistic young people we all probably were at the age of 21. Their standards are high. They believe they will change the world, instead of the world changing them. I believe there are some in the group of 550 who will maintain their energy and focus, so that they do change the world. I was reminded of my former self in working with them. I was reminded of the idealistic way I viewed the world, before the cynic in me was trained to believe that you must let go of things you can't control.

You may have wondered why it's taken me so long to finish my post. I could cite many reasons, like my busy schedule or writer's block. In truth, though, I have used this time to really absorb my experience.

I have also thought of myself as someone who is very open to new things, people and experiences. I have always believed that I can handle any situation. As an adult, I have often been accused of being over-confident and strong, so I am rarely shaken in a work situation.

The trip to India itself was amazing. The people I met from Cadbury and ABN-AMRO were fantastic, and I will keep in touch with them. However, my experience with the AIESEC students (or at least one in particular) was not as wonderful.

First, let me explain that comment. Farhan and I had prepared for 3 days to facilitate a leadership training on the Johari window, the formation of teams, and situational leadership. We were both fairly comfortable with the material and presenting it because of work experiences. We had a group of 30 students in our class.

The room was not ideal. I am not kidding when I say it was a stage dressing room. Literally, behind the stage, with mirrors and toilets. So, it wasn't ideal. It was also very poorly ventilated. To me, it was hot. When you add that I woke up with a sore throat and fever that morning, you can imagine how well I was taking the day.

Now, add 30 students who have been partying together for the past 5 days. Most were operating on less than 5 hours of sleep. Our group had about 20 girls and 10 guys. They all spoke English, but their mastery of the language varied greatly.

Ok, so it's hot, they're tired, I feel crappy, and it's time to teach.

Luckily, Farhan was there!

We dove in the the students were responding fairly well. For the most part, I would classify them as intelligent and agressive. These kids really do want to make the world a better place. As the discussion of the Johari window progressed, many of the students wanted to focus on how to tell your leader, when they are doing a bad job. Ok, we all know that is never a fun conversation. I made a recommendation to use examples and try to lead your leader to a conclusion, especially if you don't already have a strong or previous rapport built with that leader. Then it happened.

This person (female) asked very bluntly, "Can you give me recommendation that isn't patronistic?"

I was floored. AND, I am really not used to being floored.

The first thing that came to my mind was "how rude!".
Next, "man would I love to put her in her place!"
Finally, "she's waiting for an answer...."

This may not sound like a big deal, but for me it really colored my whole India experience. This woman was American, so it's not a cultural or lack of English problem. If I worked with her, I would have pulled her aside and asked her to try not to be rude in front of others. BUT, I don't work with her. She saw nothing wrong with her question. She continued behavior like that throughout the day. She really was convinced she was the cat's meow.

Too make it worse, all of my Cadbury and ABN-AMRO colleagues had great experiences with their students. They weren't taken aback, offended or anything but impressed by the AIESEC students. That caused me to really question if the problem I had was my own, instead of the student. Was I really that closed to feedback? Was I really than unable to deal with a strong person?

Obviously, it's taken me weeks to answer that question.

So here's my answer. Rude is rude. She was rude. I am not perfect and I am not always open to feedback, but I do know you can give and receive it in a manner that doesn't close down the other person. Clearly, this woman needs to learn this skill.

AIESEC wasn't filled with people like her, but instead the other 29 students were hungry, smart, aggressive and ready to change the world. They want to make a difference and that is a very good thing. For others who get an opportunity to meet or work with people from AIESEC, remember, they are smart, agressive and trying to make this world better. I am glad I had this experience, and I am glad I can now close it.

If you haven't seen my pictures, here's a link....

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ohhh yesssssss...

Well the Irish are 2-0. Having beaten a then 22 ranked Pittsburgh team and , within the last hour, a 3rd ranked Michigan team in their home stadium. ND last won at Michigan in 1993 when I was a senior and later went on to contended for the National title. The first half of the today's game was basically the Irish continuing the same offensive plan as they had against Pittsburgh. The second half was us sitting on the ball for the most part, playing pro-style keep away. While I am none to pleased with the second half, that first half against a top 3 team was pretty good. I am liking what I am seeing from this team but they have a loooonnnggg way to go. I fear we may have lost Rhema McKnight in this game with what looked like a pretty bad knee injury. While he is typically not the X or Y receiver he has an uncanny ability to pop-up in the middle, open and with soft hands. Next up? Michigan State at home. No team is a push over, especially when they are playing Notre Dame. Michigan State will be ready to take on the Irish.

On other notes, Meghan wore her ND Cheerleader outfit to the Gamewatch we attended today to see the game. Very cute! Alex and I wore our ND football jerseys.

As I may have mentioned before Alex is a Tiger Cub Scout now and I have to work on teaching the Den cheers and chants at the next meeting which is Monday.

Lynn is back from India and has finally gotten used to the local time zone. While she did not get sick with 'Delhi Belly' she did catch a slight cold the day she returned which she is nearly over now. Check the link to see pictures.

Meghan has gone for 3 days without any accidents in her quest to master potty training. This is barring any overnight accidents which will be taught later. While this will decrease the amount we spend on Pull-Ups, the number of times we go to the bathroom with her has increased 10 fold.

Alex is doing VERY well at Kimberlin Academy and has the progress report to prove it. His reading ability is growing every day and sometimes he surprises me with the words he can read. Initially, subtraction presented some small difficulties for him but after a couple of weeks he is starting to get it.

Soccer season starts in a couple of weeks for Alex and I will be a referee again for the games. This year,however, the quarters are longer and the kids play positions.

All for now.
Go Irish! Beat Spartans!


Friday, September 02, 2005

And so it begins....

Its time again. Time for ND Football. I know I know, you are thinking, this guys is nuts. This is all he talks about, well, that and his trombone. Yea well, true, but its not just football, its Notre Dame Football. :)

As of this writing we are 1 day 8 hours from kickoff. Now a lot has been said on Charlie Weis and the hopes that he will bring back ND to the glory it once had on the national stage of collegiate football. In fact, the matchup between Pitt and ND puts two former NFL coaches against each other both with recent departures from the NFL and both having faced each other in NFL matches. Alot has been said about how Weis has altered the attitude of this ND team. Personally, I think that is the key to this season and not the win-loss record. I am pretty sure ND will not be in a BCS bowl this year. The competition is just too strong, and in reality a team can only afford one loss to get to that tier of a bowl. Thinking long-term, however, the attitude of the team and the attractiveness of the staff at ND is what will win over the future recruits. Winning the recruiting battle will be crucial to the upcoming years at ND. The wins will come, especially as Weis brings in his guys from the high school pool. The smart, athletic, nasty guys that get it done on the field. The guys that are prepared for every game, and not relying on mystique or legend to take the ball to the end zone. The guys that hit hard enough to make you see Elvis (the fat one). The guys that can celebrate in the end zone without looking like a Broadway dancer. The guys that will realize the tight-end is open in the middle since the Z-receiver dragged the MLB with him out of his zone.

On another note, the Haiku-Ninja has joined blogland and is posting what has become a new and unusual Notre Dame tradition. The football haiku. Please have a look and be entertained.


Monday, August 29, 2005

August 29

Hello again! It's actually the 30th now here, but I'd like to share my experiences from yesterday. It was a very busy day.

I slept in yesterday and it was wonderful. It was 10 before I got out of bed. Our session started at 1pm, so I wasn't late and could catch up on the sleep I desperately needed.

Lunch was at 1. We had our group of Cadbury people and ABN-ABRO people together completely for the first time. Food ranged from Indian to Thai to Cream of Mushroom soup. I had three bowls of the mushroom soup, as it was good and very "American". I enjoyed it a lot and was very hungry, having not eaten since lunch the day before. For those of you who don't know, Thai food is very big in India. This was news to me, too.

So then the session began and finally some questions I have been asking since being told I got to come were answered.

For example, what is AISEC? What does it stand for? Why are we here? What will we do?

So, since I know now, I'll share with you.

As best as I can explain it, AISEC is a 57 year old exchange program for college age students. AISEC used to stand for something, but has recently re-branded itself with just it's name as AISEC, so it doesn't really stand for anything anymore. College students join AISEC for the international exchange and leadership opportunities it provides, as it is a complete volunteer, student run non-profit organization that completely turns it's members every three years. Cadbury and ABN-AMRO are corporate partners who help share leadership development programs with the students and often offer internships. Other international corporations who participate include Microsoft and Unilever. They offer other types of assistance whether through funding or job opportunities for "graduates". AISEC lives on university campuses, so it's a very YOUNG and VIBRANT organization. There is lots of dancing and laughing and staying up VERY LATE. The exist in 90 countries and many of the people here for Cadbury or ABN-AMRO had heard of them. It's not big in the US, so for the few American's here, this is a very new experience.

Yesterday, after we learned about AISEC, we began training for our Developing Leaders Day. We will be paired off with someone from ABN (one Cadbury and one ABN employee) to teach a room of 30-35 AISEC-er's about leadership. Our focus will be the Johari window and situational leadership. Yesterday, we learned mostly about the Johari window. To give a quick recap, the Johari window is a theory of building relationships. In any given relationship there are four dynamic stages: Arena, Blindspot, Untapped Potential and Facade. (You should think of this as a 4 block quandrant with arena in top left, blindspot in top right, untapped potential in bottom right and facade in bottom left) As you develop a relationship with another person, you naturally want to reduce the facade by sharing more about you and reduce your blindspot by learning more about the other person. By reducing the unknown, you are increasing the area of the arena and therefore deepening your relationship and trust with the other person.

In addition, we had to learn a dance. AISEC has developed a culture of dancing, so it's our job to fit it. For those of you who know me, you know I like to dance, but normally am less bashful after a beverage. The dance we will do includes classic moves like the lawn mower, vanity smurf and some fishing thing you would only recognize if I showed you. We should definitely get some laughs, I think.

Today, we have more training. We will focus on situational leadership and then head over to the AISEC party. It's a bazaar which will have elephants, snake charmers and palm readers. I'll take my camera so I can share the experience.

More to follow soon!

Aug 28

I have arrived in Delhi. I think the last time I slept was for one hour in the Frankfort airport business class lounge. I tried to sleep when I got here, but the street noise and aroma kept waking me up. Plus I was very afraid of oversleeping. I am sure I'll sleep better tonight once I get to Agra.

So far my trip seems to be a trip of smells. The plane, the airport, passengers, cigarettes, my own mosquito repellant...I expect to grow accustomed to the scents soon, but haven't yet. My trip has been relatively uneventful, except for the ride to the hotel last night. The driver was worse than any cabbie I have ever seen. Lanes here, are a suggestion, and any sort of driving rules are definitely not enforced. There was a cow in the road and that was the only thing that made the driver hit the brakes until we arrived at my hotel. With blood pumping and adrenaline rushing, I was very glad to get to the Raddisson. My nerves are still a bit frayed, as I am quite tired and a bit nervous. I look forward to my destination at the Taj View Hotel.

I must also mention breakfast. The food was fine, but the music was...repetitive. Yes, you see there was a continuous instrumental version of "I love you more than I can say" playing. As much as my body demanded caffeine, I had to take leave of the restaurant to escape the music.

We had a five hour bus ride to Agra from Dehli. The bus was air conditioned but the roads were very bumpy indeed. In India, apparently the horn is as common as a turning signal in the US. The drivers use the horn to warn pedestrians to get out of the road. They use the horns like we use high beams to tell slower cars to get out of the way. They use horns to show impatience and generally, they use horns. The noise, of not just the bus I was riding in, but of other vehicles on the road kept me from sleeping much on the way from Dehli. Besides, there was too much to see.

The people are very friendly. They frequently wave and smile at us through the bus window. Often, I feel oppulent as I sit in the bus with air conditioning and two seats to myself, while they have 5 people crowded onto a scooter. (That is not an exaggeration!) I saw monkeys and more cows. I saw many stray dogs. The saris on the ladies were beautiful and I saw many little girls whose smiles reminded me so much of my Meghan. Oh, I do miss the kids!

We arrived at our hotel about 1pm. It is named the Taj View, but that only means that you can see the tips of the Taj from the top floor of the hotel, about 5 rooms. I had suspected as much, but had to laugh anyway.

There was a large group of Cadbury and ABN employees that arrived at the same time. We had lunch and headed out to see the Taj for real. WOW! I can really only say wow, as my descriptions would only be filled with words and the experience was amazing!. I took over forty pictures, and when I get home and Lorenzo can download them for me...I'll post them for you. We had a wonderful experience.

Did you know the four pillars outside of the Taj Mahal actually lean? They are not perpendicular to the ground, as you would expect. Why? Because the designer wanted them to protect the main building and if they should ever fall, they would fall outward, not inward towards the tomb. Did you know the Taj was designed by a 22 year old? The precous gems that inlay the marble of the Taj range from jade to onyx. Oh it's beautiful. Not only that, did you know that all four sides of the Taj are exactly the same? If it weren't for the movement of the sun, you could not tell them apart. You walk barefoot onto the actual building. You can feel the heat of the sun permeating from the marble. On the shady side, you can feel the coolness of the marble. It really was an experience for all of the senses.

After our 2.5 hours at the Taj, we headed to a shop where descendents of the artist families who inlaid the gemstones into the marble still work today. We got to see a pair as they worked. What an amazing craft. If you come here, you should be warned that many people will try to sell you things that look like the art from these families, but you can easily be fooled and swindled.

Speaking of swindled! Oh the peddlers! They literally attack you when you go out. I was amazed. Of course, I am clearly a tourist and they target me worse than some of my counterparts who blend it better with the population. It's ok, I know how to say no and move on. Besides, it's part of the charm, right? Ok, at least part of the experience.

By the way, about the weather. It's hot, but not terribly so. It is very much like Dallas, so I can't complain really. There is air conditioning in my hotel, so I have been quite comfortable so far.

It's actually Monday here now. I slept in this morning, because our project starts at 1. I'll try to write again soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Leaving Soon

As many of you know, I am heading to India later this week. I have been preparing for this trip most of the summer and am now pretty excited about this endeavor. But, truth be told, I am nervous too.

As a preview, here are some links of my accomodations:

Pretty spiffy, huh?

Looks pretty nice right?

These are clearly beautiful places, but the in between spots aren't so lush. I know this will be an interesting trip. I will meet facinating people, see new things and have a great time, but I am nervous. I lived in a foreign country as a kid, where we were reminded how not to be "ugly Americans". I hope I remember those guidelines.

I know I am spoiled here with my air-conditioning, clean tap water and bug zapper...and I know I'll appreciate it even more when I return.

I am excited and nervous, but I know it'll be great.

I'll have Lorenzo help me post pictures upon my return. Take care!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Dilbert Worthy

I am sure all readers who work in any corporate environment have had their share of Dilbert moments. I have to share my most recent one.

The department I work in is "semi" IT. I say that because my department manages a really big database and tends to know more about how it works than our actual IT department. In addition, we have more people in our team who fundamentally understand database structure than our IT department does. (Of course, that could be my misconception)

Anyway, one of my colleagues found and reported an issue in our database to our IT department. For this to make sense, you must understand that components of our database are viewable through an extranet site. In this instance, information that should be viewable on the extranet was not being shown. She double checked the source data and the information was tied, as far as she could tell, so she wanted to have IT look at the joins.

57 hours later, the ticket was closed by IT. Without even consulting us, they determined that our user needed a new monitor.

I believe that says it all.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Chapter 3 - Risk Averse

Before I jump into the next chapter, I have to mention Alex's first day of school. I can't believe he's in first grade now. He catches the bus right outside our house. I just love this picture Lorenzo took this morning.


I opened my first savings account when I was 8 years old. I remember going into Navy Federal Credit Union with my dad and some money I had received for my birthday. He wanted me to save it. Of course, being 8, I wanted to buy something important like a Barbie or candy, but no, Dad told me to save it. I did, of course.

From then on, when I got money, Dad would usually strongly suggest I save half and spend half. Generally, baby sitting, summer jobs, and any other money I got over the years went into that account. I watched it pile up. When I finished high school, I had just over $2,000 in that account. I needed every penny for ND.

After 4 years of building debt instead of equity, (college does that to all of us, right?), I got a job and tried to start saving again. I didn't save half, who could? But I did have a crafty plan. You see, I was traveling a good bit, being in sales. So, I had an expense account. Well, I'd pay my business costs out of my own money, and when my reimbursement came in, I deposited into a different bank. FOR ALL YOU DEVIOUS PEOPLE OUT THERE, THIS WAS COMPLETELY ABOVE BOARD. I was young, naive and COMPLETELY honest back then. By putting my money in a place I couldn't easily access it, I was able to save almost $3,000 in a year. It came in handy, later when Lorenzo and I were paying for our wedding.

So, what did I find? Well, saving is as easy as choosing to do it. The rainy day fund, in the coffee tin in the cupboard, never worked for me, because it was too tempting to have money sitting around accessible. However, a barrier to my funds made the world of difference.

So, I am financially, by nurture a saver. Ok, how does that make me risk averse?

Let's discuss my professional history, sort of. The week I graduated high school, I knew I needed a summer job. For those of you who have been to Quantico, Virginia, you may know that there aren't many great jobs for non-military, non-degreed personnel. Me, I was just looking for some summer work. So, I went to the places that were most likely to hire. I should add that, at the time, I could only borrow my parents' car. The job had to be close by. I started at the local Burger King. On Okinawa, BK was the only fast food place, so I had a bias. No luck, I wasn't 18, and you couldn't work at BK until 18 due to the flame grill. Bummer. Next, I headed to Wendy's. I filled out an application and was told the manager would call me.

I still didn't have a job, so I went to McDonald's. I didn't really want to work at McDonald's, but not having a job, wasn't a pleasant idea either. So, I went in. The manager was on duty and hired me immediately. I went home and told my parents I had a job!

A few years later, I was finishing ND and needed a job in a bad way. All that school loan debt headed straight at me and no job was not a pleasant future. I should state that my dad offered to let me come home to NC and look for a job after I finished. I was comforted by that option, but really wanted to find my own job. I went on 18 first interviews. I went on about 5 second interviews. I got an offer. General Mills wanted me...to move to Detroit! Before I accepted, I was told I had an offer with a bank in Virginia. No details, though. I had no idea if the salary would be ok. Would there be benefits? The Virginia job was closer to my parents, but the Detroit job was closer to Lorenzo. Yes, these were factors to me! What's the saying? "A bird in the hands worth two in the bush." General Mills was the choice. When the Virginia bank offer came, it was lower anyway.

So, I am risk averse professionally. Onto dating...

When I was in high school, I wasn't much of a dater. As a matter of fact, it was my junior year before any boy's reciprocated feelings for me. I'd like to think they just weren't mature enough for me, but I was probably just the brainy, nerdy red head. So, anyway...With dates being a rarity instead of common, my philosophy was the first one who asks, is who I say yes to. This philosophy worked well, since generally only one person asked me out for any night. Until Prom, my senior year. I actually had 3 different people ask me to Prom. That was completely unexpected for me. Not only that, I wished I had gone with the third person. So, everyone once in a while, the risk averse part of me doesn't pay off. Since I am not dating anymore, I am perfectly comfortable with that, though!

So, I guess whether it's finances, professional or personal, risk averse is a good way to describe me. Whether by nature or nurture, I've become the person who doesn't bet in Vegas. It's just not worth the risk.

I guess that ends my three part series. I hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Chapter 2: Early Bird

Do you know any Marines? Have you heard of boot camp? Do you know what time drill instructors rouse Marine recruits at boot camp? Let's suffice it to say, early. Now imagine being raised by a man who spent over 20 years in the Marine Corps. That only begins to explain my early bird habits.

I have strong early memories of my father running into my sister and my bedroom with a large stock pot and wooden spoon hollering, "Good morning! Good morning! Good morning! Rise and shine!" I remember being told to get up at 5:30 on Saturday mornings so that we could get a good breakfast before starting the yard work. I remember hearing, "We do more by 9 am than most people do all day." It's true for the military personnel and true for their families by association.

When I left the family home and went to college, I was so used to getting up early that I really bugged my room-mate with my schedule. She was a natural night person, so we definitely clashed. To complicate matters, my dad tended to call at 6 am. My room-mate, justifiably, thought I had the strangest family. In defense of my dad, there was a time difference, so it was 7 where he was, but 7 was still too early for communication to my room-mate.

I am a firm believer of the idea that you are what you are, when it comes to sleep. So what does that mean really? Well, it means that regardless of when you go to sleep, your natural pattern will remain with you. For example, throughout college, I stretched my bedtime to 11-12pm most nights, while still rising at 6am most days. Tired as I was, I couldn't comfortably sleep easily past 6. It was just my way. I was and remain a morning person.

My kids have become the same. The schedule I live by, has trained them to be early risers. They rise daily between 5 and 5:30, but they go to sleep between 7 and 8. It puts kind of a crimp in any night life I may have, but you may have noticed by now, I don't even really pretend to have a night life, except for the occasional date with my husband.

That fairly well sums up the early bird piece. Soon Chapter 3 ... Risk Averse.

Chapter I: Foodie

I must tell you about how I got to be here. It all started in my mama’s kitchen. Of course it did, right? Don’t all foodies learn to love food at home? Well, my mama was a great cook. I say was, because she doesn’t cook much any more. “Now that the family’s gone, there just isn’t much a reason to cook a big pot of spaghetti or a pot roast on Sunday”, she says. And I can’t really argue, she’s right, cooking for one is not easy because managing portion sizes to the point where you don’t have to eat the same thing for a week is a real challenge. I tried it when I lived alone, and soon pretty much gave up, too.
Anyway, back to mama’s kitchen. I can remember helping her in the kitchen in my earliest memories. Whether it was that Sunday after church pot roast or chicken & dumplin’s on a cold wintry day, watching and eventually helping her turn ingredients into a satisfying meal for the family was the epitome of love to me. It always seemed that mama, who demonstrated her love for us in so many ways, did it most eloquently with a big meal.
Every Sunday morning, we would start the week with a trip to the commissary. Up and down every aisle, we would go each week. We’d plan menu’s, consider prices and add treats for the family. We’d leave the store with two full carts most weeks, but know for sure that we’d be back the following week. Of course, with a family of five who love food, it’s tough not fill two baskets, especially once the kids grow into their teen years.
When we got home, we’d put away the food, clean vegetables and fruit and begin to prepare the Sunday meal. My favorite was fried chicken. Daddy’s originally from the south, so even though mama’s wasn’t, she learned to cook as his family had. It made for a great combination of foods crossing the palate over the years. When you add the years we spent in Japan, there was ultimately no food I wouldn’t try at least once. Mama, she learned how to cook most all of them, and by osmosis or dedicated lessons on a particular dish, I learned them too.
So I do the same now, for my family. I am happiest when I am preparing the meals. It really doesn’t matter what stage the preparation is, either. For example, I’ve been experimenting with gardening for about 5 years, so that I can have my own source of some ingredients. This year, it’s tomatoes and cucumbers. As a matter of fact, I’ve got tomatoes out the ears right now. Oh, they are wonderful! Last year, I had chili peppers. From jalapeno’s to habenero’s, I had ton’s of peppers through out the summer. Next year, I am planning to extend my gardening space, for the express purpose of being able to grow even more vegetables.
I don’t just grow vegetables though. I have a raspberry bush and two blackberry bushes. I also have experimented with mint. If you’ve never grown mint, I don’t really recommend it. It’ll take over your space. It grows like squash really, and will dominate your entire garden, or you’ll fight it forever. Quite annoying.
So from the garden, I head to my kitchen. I LOVE MY KITCHEN. It has 5 windows and looks into my back yard. It is big enough to entertain in, while still feeling cozy. My husband put a radio/cd player in the kitchen so I can jam while I cook. If you want to see me at my happiest, you’ll find me there on a Saturday or Sunday, chopping or cooking. My kids will be running through with their Tonka trucks and the radio will be playing songs I can sing to. I can’t easily recollect a time that I am more relaxed or content than those times.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Introduction: Lynn the Risk Averse, Early Bird, Foodie

So there I was sitting on the piano, wearing nothing but a smile. I've always wanted to use that line in a conversation. It suggests my story will be racy, exciting and even sensual.
Sensual, that's probably not the word my friends would use to describe me. Sensual suggests confidence in oneself. It suggests beauty and a connection to the external world that I don't pretend to understand. The closest I could come is probably savory. Come on, admit it, can't you just imagine the taste of a rich chocolate cake with deep creamy icing. The cake, moist and almost melting on your tongue. The icing lingering on your lip to the point that you must wipe it away. Is your mouth watering? Mine is.
I am a chef by hobby. Perhaps you could tell from my passionate description of that cake. Being a chef as a profession is not practical for me. Why? Well, the hours stink. Consider when you most often eat out. If you make a reservation at a restaurant, the average dinner time will range from 7 to 9 pm, with dinner often lasting into the wee hours of the morning. I am not a night person. As a matter of fact, I am the complete opposite of a night person, most days rising at 5 am and heading to be around 9pm. So, as you can see a chef job would probably not be ideal for me.
Of course, there is always a breakfast / lunch place, and believe me, I've considered it. I make great breakfasts. I have mastered waffles, pancakes, all varieties of omlettes, eggs, breakfast meats and most recently fritattas. I can make muffins, cinnamon rolls, various breads and even operate a cappucino machine from a stint at Gloria Jean's Coffee Shop in college. Ultimately though, no matter how much I love the idea of running my own business, there is risk.
Risk is something I don't handle well. Strangely, regardless of subject I tend to be extremely risk averse. I can't really articulate why, but suffice it to say if there is a conservative and safer position on one side of any spectrum, you'll generally find me there. So why do you need to know that, well, so you can understand me, I guess. What have you learned so far? I am a risk averse, early bird, foodie, who wishes she was more exciting, or at least confident.

Chapter I "Foodie" to follow

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bits and one Rant

  • Watched Mind of Mencia on Comedy Central last night freaking hilarious, being Hispanic myself I could relate to a lot of the jokes. Still, I think everyone would find something funny about it.

  • BTW, if you ever get a foot amputated and don’t want to part with it just do what this guy did, but you may have to move to Lawrence KS. Check with your local law enforcement.

  • Freakshow of the week award goes to Noel Divine from Florida.
    Soon to start his junior campaign, Noel is already projected to be a blue-chipper in the recruiting field as a running back. In the pictures found in the link he was 15 years old and doing a 315 lbs bench press and a 225 lb incline. Oh, did I mention he is also the adopted son of Deion Saunders? Deion is moving him to the Dallas area and putting him in a 2A school north of Frisco. To his credit, Noel has gone through a lot for a teenager as both his parents are dead and until the adoption was living at a friend's house.

  • The Space Shuttle Program is grounded again all because of a plate sized piece of foam. Okay I am sure there is much more to this but I am rather disappointed. It is my opinion that we need to stop spending tons of money on the Space Shuttle and start to focus on the next generation vehicle that will take us back to the Moon and Mars. I think we are starting to see the beginning of the end of the Shuttle program. We need to start diverting funds to the next program and get back in the game. Private companies are already able to achieve manned sub-orbital flights on their own and, more than likely, in ten years will be able to get to low even high orbit on their own. While this is not a bad thing I think the US Government should be a leader in this field. I think Congress has to make a rule that NASA will be funded, not with a yearly budget, but with a planned goal based budget that will prevent NASA wasting time begging Congress for scraps every year. I also think NASA should start asking for money from the general public and fundraise like public television does. I am sure there are laws against it but in this case there should not be.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax & Cabbages and Kings

If you read this often, you know of Meghan's love of shoes. This relatively new phenomenon has grown because of her recent birthday. She received 4 pair of "dress up shoes" for her birthday and has been clomping around the house ever since. This weekend, while shopping with my mother in law, (who I believe contributed the "Shoe Gene") I saw a harbinger of things to come. Lorenzo and I should buy stock now in all fashion shoe houses, because we are in trouble.
We were in Foley's at Northpark. Meghan's feet are growing and they had a significant sale, so I agreed with Susanna that we should check out the children's shoe section. Meghan was thrilled to see the shoe department. The department was in total disarray because of the sale and lack of salespeople (that's another story), so I sat down on the floor and started sorting through to find some that were her size.
Meghan had a plan of her own. She first demanded "shoes!". This, of course, means "Mom, please take off my current shoes." I obliged. She then started taking random shoes she found and trying them on. If she couldn't get the shoe on herself, she would come to me, take my cheeks in her hands, turn my face toward her and say, "MA!".
I found 5 pair that were her size. 4 pair were tennis shoes of different varieties and one pair were a dressier shoe. They ranged in color from white to pink, some had lights, some had velcro, one had princesses on the side. For those who don't buy kid's shoes, they have some very cool features these days!
Meghan was very willing to try on all 5 pair. She stood up, took a few steps in each. She didn't fall in love with any particular pair. Instead she continued on shopping. She found a pair of size 11 black low top converse that she liked. (She wears a size 6.5.) She found two different pairs of boots she liked. The first was a pink suede, fur lined boot that covered her entire leg because it was so big. The second was a rainbow striped ran boot that was also very big.
If there were ever a time to have a camera phone, shoe shopping with Meghan is that time. I was exasperated by her patience to continue trying on new shoes! I finally selected one pair of the tennis shoes to buy for her. She had no interest in those shoes, though, because she had already tried them on. She would have been perfectly happy trying on shoes until the store closed. My daughter is a shoe salesperson's nightmare at 2. I can only imagine her teen years.
Luckily, after I bought the shoes, she did indeed want to wear them. So in her new pink tennis shoes, she strolled out of Foley's happy with her shoes.
Ships and Sealing Wax and Cabbages and Kings
I didn't really have posts for the others, but had the Lewis Carroll quote in my head.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Of things Blue and Gold....

So as most of you know Lynn and I are Notre Dame alumni. We have just completed an annual ND ritual that ranks high on the list of many alumni.

The Notre Dame Football Ticket Lottery.

This process is very involved. Perhaps too involved in the eyes of observers, who I am sure just don't understand the need for all the fuss. It is just a football game. No, I say. It's Notre Dame Football. BIG Difference.

To say ND makes money off of this lottery is an understatement. I mean, how can they not? Your first step in becoming eligible is to become attend ND and graduate. Thus you just spent a ton on tuition. Second, once you are alumni you have to contribute to the ND Annual Fund in order to get the form that will allow you to enter the lottery. Making the contribution does not guarantee you will get tickets. This contribution is a minimum $50 for Young Alumni (those that have graduated within 7 years) and $100 for Alumni. Once that is taken care of you wait for the lottery form to show up in the mail sometime in April. At this point you pick the games you want to attend and how many tickets you want to buy. Note that there are limits on the number of tickets you can purchase per game. Single ticket prices this year were $56 dollars each. This, of course, is up from last year. Oh, and don’t forget the $15 mandatory service charge for each application. So once this is sent in you get to wait till mid July to get the results. Thankfully, we won tickets on all but one of the games we requested. Ironically, we can only attend one game this year (BYU) so we are helping out others in need with the tickets we will not be able to use. You can figure out that the cost of just getting a ticket can be high, but it is ND Football. You could say we are a bit obsessed.

Now can this possibly be worth it? Well in a word “Yes.” The people that we get to see and times we spend together there are certainly “priceless.” Win or lose, it is like one big party. ND does not have a Homecoming game anymore and has not for quite sometime? Why? Well, it is a moot point. So many alumni come to the games that there is not a need for one. You are bound to see someone you know in a chance meeting.

As of this writing there are 43 days left till kickoff against Pitt. Go Irish! Beat Panthers!

On another ND related note I have recently altered a trombone of mine in anticipation of next years ND Band Alumni Reunion. I know, I know, I am crazy and wacky but I should get good T.V. time, lol. I am including pictures below.

For those who care, this is a used Blessing B128 model I got at a music store. The trombone had been refurbished so I got it at a good price. The hardest part of this process was finding someone who would do a good job relacquering the bell. I had heard of, and seen, other trombones that had custom lacquer jobs but no one in the DFW area does this. Well, not without spray paint and some tape. So I asked around and after about a month heard that Brook Mays bought a respected music store in Abilene that was known for its refurbishment talent and had become their new Brook Mays Refurbishment Center. They also did custom lacquer jobs. SCORE!

After a few email exchanges I was set. Basically, I only wanted the bell of the horn relacquered. The original slide would serve as the ‘gold’ in the blue/gold motif I wanted. The bell had to be stripped of its original lacquer and then nickel plated. The nickel would allow the blue to show up better and not be tinted by the actual brass underneath the original lacquer. Once the nickel set in the blue lacquer was applied. This is just like the normal brass lacquer that is applied to horns, just, well, blue. With the nickel background the blue turns brighter. You take care of the blue lacquer just like you would on a normal horn so there is no hassle with maintenance. I am very pleased to say the least.

Note the mouthpiece. This is a 6 ½ AL Kelly Crystal Blue mouthpiece. It is made out of Lexan which is similar to the material that comprises bulletproof glass and safety eyeglass lenses. This also has the advantage of not conducting heat or cold. Pretty neat huh!

I have figured out how to put some permanent links on the sidebar to the left of this writing so be sure and check those out. It lists other blogs, ND related stuff and trombone related stuff.

  • ND Nation is a message board for ND Sport Fans, and not just football.
  • Blue Gray Sky Blog is another ND Football related link but with great writing and well thought out articles.
  • Jeff Squyres is a very good friend of mine from college and you can see how he is handling is computer related work and twin daughters at the same time.
  • nonchalantsavant post some rather interesting finds on the internet and will entertain you at the office while you are bored
  • The Phantom Professor caused quite a stir at a local university here in Dallas with her behind the scenes look at the state of academics and the mental state of her students. This is good writing and reading.
  • The Online Trombone Journal is the online haven for trombonists around the world.
  • I perform with the NDTC
  • GrooveBone is an internet radio station devoted to trombone performances and the music behind them.

I will list links for Lynn once she tells me what she would like (This is a hint).

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bravery is the heart that loves beyond all reason

Last night, at dinner with a very dear friend, I discovered a new level of respect for those who love deeply, in a very classical "un-requited love".

I remember reading stories and poems written hundreds of years ago obsessing with the idea and complete romance of un-requited love. Oh, to be pined for as the subjects of those works were. That was the ultimate in romance to me.

I really never considered being the "lover" instead of the "love-e". The very idea of putting my heart out there so openly, so exposed, was not only scary to me, but it was the complete opposite of romance. It would be perfectly fine to be loved by someone, but to love someone so deeply and completely, who didn't love me back. To me, that was un-fathomable...Until yesterday.

My very good friend has had a few too many forays into un-requited love, in my opinion. A heart shouldn't be broken that many times. It doesn't seem fair that there are those who have truly loved so deeply, and then there are those, who will only allow themselves into a relationship where they are the object of love.

Ultimately, though my friend has not yet given up on love. With or without my sage wisdom (ha ha), my friend knows that to love truly and deeply, and to ultimately find love in return, you must allow your heart to be exposed and raw. Pain and risk, be damned. To love, you must be brave.

Typhoid Lynn

So in preparation for her trip to India, Lynn has had to get immunized against all sorts of diseases that we don't really have to worry about here in the States. 7 shots in all. Not only that but the typhoid immunization is actually a course of 4 pills every other day until gone. These pills contain attenuated Salmonella Typhi bacteria and they are in our fridge. I just find it kinda weird that bacteria that has killed millions in the course of our history is sitting next to the butter, attenuated or not. Thankfully, her last dose is tonight so that will be over with.

I am back on nights for six weeks. Ughhhh.

I found a rare version of the Notre Dame Victory March done by Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra on the internet recently. It was recorded from an old 78rpm and is a very decent recording. Basically it is a swing version of the famous tune. I also found a John Valby version of the same song. Valby's version and lyrics are, well, not very polictically correct and should not be heard by anyone younger than 30. The lyrics might make a Marine blush! :) It should be noted that Valby can be considered the father of the old Trombone Pre-Rally drinking songs that were sung at ND. This is more of a forgotten art now since pre-rallies (quick 20 to 30 minute parties given by section or sections after marching practice of a home game and before that night's pep rally) do not exist for the ND Marching Band anymore, or so they say.

Saw, The Grudge, last night. I would say it is pretty much like The Ring, but only at half strength. Glad I did not pay to see it at the theaters.

Alex is becoming quite a reader over the summer and is doing well on his summer workbooks. It is amazing to see how much he soaks up knowledge wise.

Meghan has all her teeth for her age but two and is slowly getting a bigger vocabulary. (Previous sentence editted, thanks Anonymous)

All for now.....


Friday, July 08, 2005


Images through glass
Flow by fast
Light changes
Colors vary
Sounds dim
As the days pass
The reflection too
Fades into

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lynn's Thoughts on US "Leadership"

I have been listening to the news on radio and T.V. for a few days in preparation for the G-8 summit. Unless you have been in a hole, you know that the plight of poor nations, particularly in Africa, are a major topic of discussion.

Those who know me, know that I am not the biggest fan of our current president. His decisions are not at all aligned with those I would make in his position. In my opinion, he is in the back pocket of big business and since they have bank rolled him and the congress we are focused on US business alone, and have even forgotten the people in our great nation.

I am disappointed that we have moved from a nation that leads other nations to a nation that offends, disappoints and even attacks other nations. We have sent our troops to Iraq and Afghanistan for un-successful missions. We are asking the working people of the US to give up their families and fight in a war that we will not win. It seems to be un-endable, unless we pull out. Our president wouldn't understand that, because when he "served his country" he did it in the US without the pains, longing and frustration our military servicemen are now feeling away from home.

My father fought in Vietnam. He served his country with pride for over 20 years in the US Marine Corps. I am proud to say I am a Marine brat and that I have known many honorable men and women in all services throughout my life. I never served, but I hold those who follow the orders of our Commander in Chief in the up-most regard. They are doing as ordered. They deserve hero parades. They deserve better pay. They deserve to be in a war they can win, or they deserve to come home to their families and country that loves them.

At the conference this week, it is rumored that Prime Minister Blair will try to get the 8 nations present to agree that global warming is a problem that must be addressed. I wish him very good luck getting America to agree. It seems that would be a great coup. Our current administration seems to believe that though global warming is a problem, it's a slow problem. Yes, we should reduce the gas emissions but slowly.

In truth, the United States emits well over it's fair share of harmful gases. The emissions will only grow as emerging nations industrialize. However, to keep the US ahead in economic development, our leadership would prefer to ask companies to voluntarily reduce emissions. For those who work for companies in America, have you ever known them to voluntarily do the right thing? Do companies in America reduce paychecks for CEO's and Executives, or lay off the masses? Do CEO's and Executives lose their pensions and health coverage? Do companies even pay taxes in your district?

We may be a great nation, but I think that is because of the painstaking work done by the American public in spite of our leadership. If I wanted my company to make political decisions, I would have gone to work for the government instead of private industry. President Bush would be an inspiration if he made decisions based upon the people who need him to lead, instead of the companies that pay for his elections.

I didn't vote for him. I hope and pray, that we can find a candidate that is willing to make the hard decisions. I want to find a person that will bring America back to a leadership position in the world, instead of one that holds the others back.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Lorenzo here. First of all, Happy 4th of July! A heartfelt thanks to all the servicemen and servicewomen that are busy doing their duty here and abroad.

July 1st was our daughter's 2nd birthday!!! Whoo Hoo! She is a big girl now. We had a small party for her and family and friends which was quite fun. Meghan, it seems, has a thing for shoes. The gifts that got the most reaction were 'dress-up' shoes that came with a Barbie 'dress-up' kit. Her eyes lit up and she let out a loud 'Shhhhoooooeeess!!' for everyone to hear. Too cute!

Meghan with her ssshhhhooooeeess!!! Posted by Picasa

Also this weekend we had Lynn's brother, Mike, and his girlfriend, Tracy, in town. It was good to have both in town as it had been a while since Lynn had seen her brother. July 3rd the four of us were able to go to Sambuca in Addison, Tx to sample the fireworks that were part of that city's Kaboomtown celebration. Also, of note was the band playing there. Idle Hands is a coverband whose keyboardist also plays in the trombone choir that I play in. The four of us were able to enjoy a great night on the town and some awesome fireworks.

Previous to this was the North Dallas Trombone choir's June 29th performance at the St Andrews Methodist Church in Plano, TX. Talk about a venue. I walked in and was pretty impressed with the Church. The architecture reminded me of Bass Performance Hall in Ft. Worth, well, minus the Mezzanine Level up, but dang! This church also has the third-largest pipe organ in the area. Just a beautiful piece of work.

St. Andrews from the stage/altar Posted by Picasa

The organ and my trombone to the right Posted by Picasa

I walked in and played note or two and noted the acoustics. The sound delay was, well, in my mind, perfect. I looked up and saw why. The ceiling has acoutic damping layers. The woodworking, the flat-screen plasma tvs in the foyers, the sound of the organ, this was a awesome venue. What made it even cooler was that we played one piece that had organ accompaniment and fortissimo and fortississimos toward the end. Gotta love controlled loudness.


I am doing research for an exciting trip I have coming up. I found out last week that Cadbury is sending me to India in late August.

Developing Leaders Day is a consortium initiative jointed developed by Cadbury and AIESEC International (http://www.aiesec.org/). 15 Cadbury employees were picked to join in teaching young people from across the world about leadership. I will be paired with someone from AIESEC and we will prepare lessons and then teach for a day.

All of this will take place in Agra, India. For those of you who don't know, as I didn't last week, the Taj Mahal is in Agra. I am so excited to get to see that magnificent structure. It will definitely be a memorable experience.

However, the trip over will probably be one I'd like to forget. I called Friday to make my flight plans and here are a few details.

I depart DFW on Friday 8/26 at about 3pm. I'll fly directly from Dallas to Frankfort, Germany. I have a few hour layover there before I head to Delhi, India. I arrive in Delhi at 2am local time on Sunday. From there I have 5 hour trip (they did not specify mode of transportation) to get to Agra. Once in Agra, I have to adjust to the time zone changes and prepare to work.

When I return home, it'll be even better. Many of you know that my birthday is Sept 4. I'll have the longest birthday ever, this year. I leave Delhi, at 2am the morning of Sept 4 and fly back to Frankfort. Again, I have a layover for a few hours and then head home to Dallas. When I land it'll be 3ish local time, still the 4th. Hey, at least I'll get home for my birthday!

I don't know a lot about this trip yet, but I am extremely excited. This will be a great chance to see and learn and I can't wait!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Security is in your pants

Lorenzo and I planned a day to take Alex to Six Flags a few months ago. We thought it would be fun to spend the day with just him and enjoy the park together. Meghan just can't enjoy an amusement park like him yet, and this would be a good chance for us to have some fun for just Alex.

Wednesday was the big day. I was excited to have a day off work in the middle of the week, and spending the day with my two favorite men is always wonderful. We were up early, took Meghan to Blue Ivey and went out for breakfast. We decided to go with IHOP because it's closest to the freeway. There I did discover that Funnel Cakes for breakfast aren't just available in Arkansas. Somehow, I avoided them again.

After a good breakfast, we hit Starbucks for coffee on the way to Arlington and got on the road. Since there were three of us in the car, we could use the HOV and got there in record time.

Upon arrival (before the park opened), we had a few minutes to people watch. Those of you who know me well know this is one of my favorite pastimes. You can definitely see interesting things when people watching. Wednesday was no exception.

I was covering Alex and Lorenzo with sunscreen when a beat up Hyundai pulled into the lot near us. This four door sedan was full of people. As a matter of fact there were 3 adults and four kids in the car. (Actually, one of the "adults" could have been a teenager, but she was smoking a cigarette, so I assume she was 18.)

I feel I must describe this car, because it was the whole scene that made it memorable. The car was black. It had no hubcaps on the wheels. There was a major dent in the hood of the car that had clearly been beat back into "normal" shape. The paint was rusting in spots. There was a sunroof that was damaged pretty badly. The chrome that should have laid flat to the sun room was at about a 45 degree angle to the roof of the car. The windows were down, suggesting the air conditioner wasn't working. This car was in bad shape.

First, the smoking teenager/adult got out. She sucked the cigarette to the filter in one quick strong draw. It was actually impressive to see a cigarette shrivel that fast.

Next, the four kids in the back with her came scrambling out. They appeared pretty normal. The smoking teenager/adult proceeded to arrange her too short shorts that were clearly riding into the nether-regions. Her mother/sister got out next. I believe they had the same tailor for their shorts, because she soon demonstrated the same issue.

Finally, the driver/father/brother (oldest man) got out. He held the door open called to one of the 4 kids. After watching for a few seconds, I realized he had asked for help putting the windows up in the car. He didn't roll up the window, however. Instead, he literally pulled the window up from inside the door frame and had his assistant hold the window while he pushed it closed.

The security system wasn't completely engaged yet. No, this man had a plan to ensure his car was there when he returned from a day of coasters and fun at the park. So he opened the hood of the car and removed two different components from the car/engine and slipped them into his pockets. (I am obviously not a mechanic and I don't claim to be) I really had to ask myself if any self respecting thief would choose to steal this beat up, window doesn't work, Hyundai instead of the other functional cars in the parking lot.

After they headed into the park and Lorenzo, Alex and I were sufficiently protected from the sun, we headed into the park behind this clan. We had a great time on Wednesday riding coasters and walking around. We got back to our car around 3:30 and the black Hyundai was still waiting. I hope they made it home safe.

Forget Lojack, forget The Club, just drive a beat up car and carry small necessary components in your pockets...Security is in your pants!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Funnel Cakes for Breakfast

Happy Monday from Arkansas!

I am up hear for a little known retailer meeting. It seems weird to say "up here" when I am referring to Arkansas. Somehow, Bentonville seems down south and Dallas doesn't to me.

Regardless, it's been a interesting trip, so far. I had a 6:45 flight from DFW. Since I live in Garland, a 4:00am wake up call had me pretty hungry when I landed. On my way to our office, I passed an IHOP and thought, "Breakfast sounds good to me." Quick u-turn, and yes, I was seated quickly with coffee waiting.

My waitress was training, so I had the belief I would get some service from one of the two waitresses who came for my order. I was wrong. I was handed a menu and noticed that they were serving funnel cakes. Yes, you read that right. I should remind you I was in an IHOP, not at a state fair. The options were eggs, 2 links sausage and a side of "red, white and blue funnel cakes", or you could add a side of funnel cakes to any order for $1.49.

After I read the menu twice, and double checked the other tables, to ensure this wasn't a joke for the out of towner's, I decided to pass on the funnel cakes. However, they were very popular. The tables on both sides of me order the tasty treats.

Don't get me wrong. At the state fair, I am as ready for funnel cakes as the next gal, but with breakfast, I'll have to pass.

In case you're ever in need of funnel cakes for breakfast...Arkansas is the place!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wynn, Chocolate Volcanoes and Tales from the Road

I’ve been on the road more than home lately. Without email, text messaging and voicemail, I am sure this would be a lot harder than it is. Luckily, with all the technology, I am not as out of the loop as I would have once been. Now, that I have properly bowed to the technology gods, I can continue my entry.

Last week, I was at a conference in Vegas. My boss was supposed to attend, but was moving, so I got to go. The location was The Wynn. Wow It is a beautiful hotel/casino. I put the words in that order because it really seems appropriate.

For those of you who don’t know, The Wynn opened this spring. It is one the newest Vegas Casinos, but it was created with a business traveler in mind. For example, the desk had a printer fax with the cable internet access. All wires were provided by the hotel. The phone service was VOIP. Customizable voice mail was available and the business office was well equipped.

For the non business visitor, there were many amenities that made the customer feel special. For example, two robes and set’s of slippers available per room. Two flat screen TV’s, one in the main room and one in the bathroom. Also, cable music stations were available. HUGE BATHTUB! When I say huge, I could lay down in it. I know b/c I did. Stand alone shower and his/her sinks. And for the perpetual dieter, which I am not, there is a scale. Of course this is on top of the other standard hotel amenities you would expect. PS. For women, the hair dryer is a good quality, not the wall unit.

What about the rest of the hotel, beyond the room? There were about 5 restaurants I saw. I didn’t experience any of them. I was on a business trip. However, the Spa is very nice. The massage is well worth the cost. The pool area is large. It’s not particularly family friendly, (Mandalay Bay is better), but it is pleasant and a great place for adults to relax. And, for those interested in sunburns in weird places, there is a topless sunbathing area. For the high dollar sunbather, there are cabanas to rent including food/drinks, shaded cooled sofa, and bed/lounger. It looked decadent.

Finally, since I was on business, I must comment on the meeting facilities. They are a long walk from the room, but they are good. You would think, in a casino, you’d hear slots and smell smoke. Not so at all. The only downer was there was no wireless access in the meeting rooms. Seemed like a missed opportunity to me.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend the Wynn if you’re staying in Vegas soon. It was really a nice place to be.

On to Milwaukee, and no I am not kidding!
I am at Miller today. This is an industry meeting for DSD and it’s not as exciting as I might have hoped. Hotel wise, I am staying at the Milwaukee Hilton. No need to elaborate, it’s a Hilton, and very non-mentionable.

However, dinner last night had a great story. We were at the BBQ Brew house. It’s a steak, ribs and microbrew place. What a great concept for a restaurant! The dinner was good and the beverages flowed freely. Finally, it was time to order dessert. A colleague from PepsiCo, Gina, ordered the Chocolate Volcano. For the women reading this would seem to be a great dessert choice, right? Well, in a very high school like moment, when the dessert was delivered, I was definitely glad I opted for the cheesecake instead.

Gina was presented with a dessert that can only be described as extremely phallic in nature. It was chocolate, it was standing up, it had a hard coating (like a dipped cone at Dairy Queen) and a drizzle of cream from the peak. Poor Gina. The laughter, jokes and comments were reminiscent of a high school lunch room and it only got worse as she tapped it with a fork and announced, “It’s really hard”. My cheeks hurt from laughing.

If you’re ever in Milwaukee and head to the BBQ Brew house, I recommend passing on the Chocolate Volcano. Gina said it was good, but the harassment may not be worth the taste.

Tonight, we are heading to a Brewer’s/Cubs game. Go Cubs!

I head home to Dallas on Thursday and head to Houston from there. Alex and I are visiting Pam for wedding planning and beach visit. It should be a good but busy weekend.

Monday, I am heading to Arkansas. I now know that business travel isn’t near as glamorous as I used to believe. With such exciting locales, it’s kind of hard to be ok with missing my family.

Luckily, after this round of travel, I am on a brief hiatus. I don’t expect it to last, but I will enjoy the time home. I am so blessed that I have Lorenzo, two grandmas, and a grandpa to take care of my family when I am gone. I couldn’t be on the road without the peace of mind they offer.

If there are two take aways from this entry, remember Wynn – yes; Chocolate Volcano - no.