Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Forever, in a good way

Many of you may know that tomorrow is Lorenzo and my 9th wedding anniversary. Yes, 9 years ago, many of you were with us in South Bend with the snow and excitement of the wedding.

You may remember the rehearsal dinner at Bruno's. Man, that was good pizza.

Perhaps you remember that the organist forgot our wedding. She showed up, but a little bit later than planned.

Maybe you remember the beautiful snow over the rolling hills of the golf course out the windows of our reception hall.

Or, maybe like me, every detail is a cherished memory. Whether it's waking up that morning, and talking to my sister as I tried to style my very long hair or my mother's ice cold hands as she buttoned my dress; or, my soon to be mother in law coming in and snapping pictures of the preparations, so that I would have some pictures to keep. (I am a terrible photographer, because I never remember to take the pictures!) I remember my dad standing with me in the back of the church and saying, "Last chance to change your mind", as he prepared to give me away. I remember crying through the ceremony, but happy tears. I remember having my veil knocked off as Jeff hugged me. I remember shivering with my bridesmaids as we took pictures after the ceremony. I remember dancing with my whole family, old and new, and having to ride to the hotel in the "Nookie Wagon".

I really can't believe that we've been married 9 years, because it seems we've always been Lyn-ZO. It seems we've always had Alex and Meghan. It seems I've always had him to lean on, talk to and come home to.

Well, without the right person, marriage is more work than wonderful. With the right person, it's still a bit of work, but mostly wonderful. With Lorenzo, it's just as I hoped it would be. With Lorenzo marriage is part of what makes me the woman I am.

Happy Anniversary, Lorenzo.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiday Decorations

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, as we did. You can see by this picture that laughter was had by all!

Well, except for Saturday night. Man, the Irish didn't have the game I was hoping for. Oh well, 10 and 2 is still better than 8 and 4 or 7 and 5. We may be BCS bound, or maybe it'll be the Cotton Bowl and we'll have some house guests. We have the house for it!

We had a great few days off. Alex, Meghan, Lorenzo and I spent lots of time together. The kids are really enjoying their playroom and riding bikes in the 70 degree weather. It's great to live in Texas in November. That'll change later this week, though, when the cold front hits. It's supposed to be 20 degrees on Thursday morning. BRRR

We are attacking our Christmas shopping as quickly as possible. We got a few things finished this weekend, but still have more than half of our shopping to finish. Then there's the wrapping and Christmas cards to send. It seems this time of year we don't slow down, but I really love it! It is my favorite time of year for sure.

The kids helped me decorate the tree on Saturday and we are working on our exterior decorating strategy. Lorenzo is really helping with the plans and I am sure we'll get the new house looking festive really soon.

I hope you are all taking the time to enjoy the holidays. Remember to slow down and just enjoy the sparkling lights on a tree.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Redskins for Brady!

I threatened Lorenzo that I would blog about the Redskin's need to draft Brady Quinn in the draft, so now it's real. Of course, it's sweet for me, because even though I lost Alex to the Cowpatties, my Meghan is a Redskin's fan. As a matter of fact, she can sing Hail to the Redskins almost as well as she sings The Fight Song.

Well, Happy November everyone! I guess I should say Happy Thanksgiving, as we are fast approaching my favorite holiday. It's been a crazily busy fall. Alex just received his 2nd report card of second grade and he made the A Honor Roll, again. His soccer season finished at the end of October with more wins than losses and a few goals for Alex. He is doing great. I can't believe he'll be 8 years old in a week. It's amazing how fast kids grow.

Meghan is doing well. She continues to amaze me day after day. Besides her singing of football songs, she has been busy learning the alphabet and working on her manners in school. She is coming along quickly.

Lorenzo is about to finish another round of night shift and we are looking forward to getting him back to a normal sleep pattern. I have finished my travel for 2006 and am so happy to be home for the remainder of the year.

We are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving in our new house. We moved in 3 weeks ago and are still putting everything in place, but we really love the new house. Lorenzo's office is much bigger than his previous room. As a matter of fact, we are looking for furniture just to fill it out. Of course he is more excited about his media room, but it will be a while before we're ready to put that together. I think he dreams of it anyway, as I see him collecting every electronics store ad he can find.

On the other news front, I am getting a new job in January. I'll soon officially be the Director of Sales: Emerging Markets. To Cadbury, Emerging Markets means Casual Dining in my case. So that means my team and I will be out at great places like Gloria Jean's Coffee Shop and Panda Express trying to establish distribution for great brands like Snapple, Orangina and Nantucket Nectars. In addition, it makes me one of the two most senior women in our sales force. Exciting, isn't it? Anyway, I get a company car again, and boy am I looking forward to that. The CRV has been a great car, but the miles are piling up on her. It'll be nice to be rid of that additional monthly cost.

Well, that's about all the new news. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and don't eat too much!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Viva Dr Pepper

Lorenzo and I have returned from the Dr Pepper Bottler meeting in Las Vegas. Our company has a meeting annually where we entertain our Dr Pepper bottlers and share with them the marketing plans for the new year. I was invited to talk about "data" with a number of our bottlers. Spouses were invited, because most of the bottlers bring their spouses. So, Sunday Lorenzo and I boarded American Airlines and headed out to Vegas.

The flight out was full but uneventful. We were supposed to meet the first of many bottlers for a drink that evening, but he decided "data" wasn't exciting enough to leave the tables on a Sunday night. I wasn't complaining as it meant Lorenzo and I got to have a nice dinner instead. We had a wonderful meal and the desserts were to die for. Lorenzo had a chocolate banana concoction that was divine while I had a chocolate mousse that was heavenly.

Monday was a relatively quiet day with Lorenzo working in the morning. The Wynn has an excellent internet connection if you're curious. I had a few meetings with a few bottlers and they were quite productive. In the afternoon we walked the Strip and gambled at MGM Grand. The tables have a $5 minimum bet at MGM Grand vs. Mostly $15's at The Wynn. After our LONG walk, we hung out by the pool until dinner.

Dinner was interesting because we got to meet Mike Golic. Mike is the Dr Pepper spokesperson this year and he was at the event signing footballs. We got our picture taken and chatting with him for a minute. Being a fellow ND alum, we felt we had something great in common. After our encounter with Mike, we networked and socialized until late in the evening. Lorenzo was out with my former boss until the wee hours gambling and people watching. It seems they had a good time.

Tuesday morning held many meetings, intertwined with good and bad impersonators. We saw a BAD Prince, and decent Springsteen and an awesome Tina Turner. Tuesday afternoon was a golf day for the bottlers, so Lorenzo and I hit the shops looking for better shoes. My feet were killing me!

Tuesday evening was the big event. Dinner was out by the pool and it was good, but the big event was the private concert with Rod Stewart. There were about 200 people in the room and we were really close. Lorenzo will be sharing our pictures later. It was really cool. When the concert ended there was more socializing and another late night for the two of us.

Wednesday morning brought more meetings, a show with Bill Ingvall and long flight home. It was after 8 when we got home last night. We were tired but Lorenzo is now much more suspicious of all my business trips. I am sure he wonders how much work I really do, after all the fun we had in Vegas. My case is not helped by two additional meetings in Vegas this fall, but hey, that's my job!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Birthday and Other News

Happy Labor Day! I hope you all enjoyed the day off in honor of my birthday. It rained here and the angels sang hallelujah. Yesterday's weather couldn't have been more wonderful given the hot dry summer we have endured. How many people do you know who would be so happy to see the rain, all day, on their birthday. Further evidence of my quirks, I guess.

We have had a busy end of summer. Alex is back in school. He is a second grader now and is enjoying his new classes. He has decided he likes science best and want to do "liquid science". We think that means chemistry. He has asked us if it would be ok for him to be a scientist when he grows up and how can we say no to that idea?!? Of course, Lorenzo and I want to encourage this curiosity, so any ideas you have for experiments for Alex, send them our way.

Meghan is now officially in pre-school instead of daycare. Her new teacher is Ms. Pearce and she really loves her new class. Her favorite class mates are all boys. (Shocking considering her best friend is her brother, right?) Nathan Colwell, Thomas and Parker are the boys she speaks of most often. It sounds particularly cute, as she speaks of them as hers. For example, "Today I played trucks with my Nathan Colwell." Ms. Pearce seems to love having Meghan in class, she told me that Meghan likes to be her helper and often helps keep the kids in line. When the class gets noisy, she is known to put a hand on a hip and say, "Guyyyyyys". Hard to relate the intonation, but I think you get the point.

Lorenzo and I have had an interesting adventure in home news lately. We have been discussing the idea of buying a bigger home for months, and had previously decided to sell this house in the spring of 2007. Well, on a whim, we looked at some new build options and initiated the process to build our dream house. Ten days later, we stopped and luckily, recouped our initial investment. We have decided to be a bit more methodical in our choice, but are still preparing the house for sale in the spring. As a result, our house looks a little bare as we prepare it for showings, etc. I am glad we "jump started" the process, but I am also glad we've slowed down.

This weekend was a great one and we were able to share it with many of you. Lorenzo threw me a birthday party on Saturday where we watched the Irish win (thank goodness) and had some laughs. It was a great party with good friends and good food. Pam even came in from Houston for the event. It also marked ten years since Lorenzo proposed to me on the steps of the Admin Building at ND. Wow the years have gone by fast, but they have been happy years indeed.

In about two weeks my fall travel schedule ramps up again. Lorenzo will be joining me for my first trip as I have been invited to the Dr Pepper Bottler meeting at the Wynn and spouses were included. We are excited about that trip. When we return, I head to Chicago for three consecutive trips, one of which is the ND Stanford game. We're taking Alex to that and it should be a good time. From there I head back to Vegas for a second conference and then I am home for 12 days straight! Next it's off to Philly for a week and then I return for the weekend and head back to Vegas for another conference. Finally, I have a trip to St Louis and I am done with travel for this year. (I think) At that point, it'll be mid-November so I'll have a turkey to buy and a birthday party for Alex to plan. Our big boy's going to be 8 at Thanksgiving. He's growing so fast.

Well, that's the news from Chez Martinez. I hope this finds you well and take care!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oh Canada

Last week I got a reprieve from the Dallas heat. My job took me to Toronto and wow, what a beautiful city. If you've been a long time reader, you remember Corralling Cats. The Toronto meeting was another in the saga of the Global Data Synchronization Network standards development. It was so exciting, that's it's taken me days to get over the meeting to be able to write.


But, there was an element of excitement. You see, I was "out of the country" when the UK terrorist ring was discovered and broken up. I had the luck to wake up Thursday morning in my hotel to hear of the possibility of flights blowing up over the Atlantic.

I was scared. When 9/11 happened, I was home. My only family member traveling was my mother in law, who was thankfully, on Southwest Airlines. She arrived safely home that fateful September.

Last week, I monitored the internet all day to understand what I could and couldn't board with. And, whether or not I would be able to fly. My mom, Pam and Lorenzo were all trying to contact me and ensure I was ok. People at work, were calling and e-mailing me, also worried.

We broke our meeting early because the Toronto airport said we should arrive at the airport 4 hours before our flight. After two hours in line and getting through customs, I found many of the colleagues who had been at the meeting, at the bar. We re-convened our meeting in a much more casual setting. After a toast the the people who discovered and prevented this tragedy, we all dived into our 9/11 stories. Some of colleagues had been on the road and drove home. One had been in a hotel next to the towers the night before. She had an early morning meeting and got safely away before the tragedy.

I was here in Dallas, working for the general. (General Mills) I remember wondering where everyone was. I had been at my desk at 7 and nobody was around. I walked toward the noise, (our conference room) and saw the second plane hit. My productivity for the day was obviously over. The general let us go home early to be with our families that day. I remember holding Alex and thinking that our world would never be the same.

In some ways, it is the same. In some ways, it's not.

Travel seems to be rebounding fast since the actual tragedy was avoided. I can tell you boarding is much faster. There isn't as much advantage to having airline status, though, if everyone is checking their bags. There was plenty of overhead space on my flight home. There were entirely empty bins. But hey, I'll gladly check my bag for safety.

Heck, I'd fedex my bags to my destination if required!

If you have to travel, remember hydrate first! And please, be safe.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Today is August 3 and it's hot. Of course, the rest of the country is dealing with tremendous heat too. When I heard the Minneapolis was hotter at 5am than Dallas, (yes, I said a.m.) than I felt I shouldn't complain. I remember many people had no AC in their houses. Thank the good Lord we have AC!
However, today, the radio DJ announced that today is our 21st day of over 100 degree temperatures. The cold front that will cool most of the country isn't coming to Dallas. I feel license to complain.

Alex has just over two weeks until he starts the second grade. I can't believe how quickly the summer has passed. Of course, I am looking forward to school starting for a few reasons. Number 1: It means fall is closer
Number 2: It means FOOTBALL is closer
Number 3: Our schedules get normal again

Alex, of course, like any kid, isn't looking forward to school as much, but I think that will change when it starts.

Meghan is doing well, except for a recent case of extreme stubbornness. I am blaming the heat instead of her similarity to her mother of course. I have noticed that she likes to go where-ever I go, lately. For example, whenever we run out of something like dog food or paper towels, she'll say "We can get more at the grocery store. I'll go with you." It's really cute. I know she won't want to go to the grocery store forever. Alex has definitely gotten past the fun of the grocery store and would much rather ride his bike, if given the option. I guess they do grow up!

Lorenzo and I hosted a great BBQ this past weekend. We had many friends attend and a few who couldn't make it. It was definitely a lot of fun, and I am so glad we have a nice big kitchen. With the heat of the day, a smaller kitchen might not have fit all of our guests. It worked out nicely.

That's about all I have. I hope some cooler weather finds you soon!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Where did June go?

I can't believe it's been more than six weeks since my last post. Summer has been flying by and it certainly doesn't appear to be slowing in the near future.

I think I'll start with the most recent events and head backwards in time.

Meghan had her 3rd birthday on Saturday. We had her actual party on Sunday which she really enjoyed. Her cousins from NC were here to visit, so we had a decent size crowd. I can't believe she's already 3. How time flies!

My sister and her family came to visit for the fourth. Jason, my nephew, is a few months younger than Alex and the boys had a fantastic time together. Carly, my niece, is 18 months younger than Meghan which is pretty noticeable now, but will get better as the kids age. I really had a great time with them.

Alex visited Hondo recently and talked his grandparents into taking him to the Alamo. He had heard about the site, but didn't really understand why it was important to Texas history. He enjoyed the visit.

Lorenzo has recently finished another 6 week long night shift stint. Though working from home isn't as bad as 12 hour nights in the office, I know he's glad to be back on day shift.

I have been traveling about once a month recently, with trips to New York, Nashville and Atlanta on my recent iteniary's. Work is keeping me very busy, but hey that's why they pay me the big buck.

Lorenzo and I visited ND for my 10 year reunion. We say a lot of my classmates. Some of my ROTC buddies were there, and it was great to catch up. Liam and Pam, Joy and Andrew and Rachel all kept me and Lorenzo company during the weekend. The weather couldn't have been better with temperate days and cool nights.

We don't have a whole lot of new things going on. We're recovering from the great visit with Susan and her family and preparing to drive to Houston for the weekend. It should be fun.

I hope all is well with you!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Adventures at Mike's Wedding

My baby brother got married on Saturday in Roxboro, North Carolina. We flew to Raleigh on Thursday to participate in the festivities.

Alex was the ring bearer. Meghan was one of three flower girls. I was a bridesmaid and Lorenzo was an observer.

Tracy, Mike's bride, is a wonderful lady with a great family who was very hospitable. Tracy's Dad used to work for the local Pepsi bottler, so we had business in common.

The accents were a little stronger than Lorenzo was used to, but we managed to communicate and have a great time.

Thursday we arrived and headed to the mall to get Alex's tux. He was wearing a black tux with tails and a lavender vest/tie. He looked great.

After a successful fitting, we headed to Mike and Tracy's house for a barbecue and a few beers. Susan and her family arrived and a good time was had by all.

Tracy detailed the plan for the next few days including nail appointments, bridal luncheon, rehearsal, hair and makeup appointments and, of course, the wedding! Lorenzo asked if he would see me before Sunday and sadly, he wasn't kidding.

There was drama with a bridesmaid who didn't want to pay for her hair and nails, but beyond that, the weekend went smoothly.

The Spa Gallery, where our hair and makeup were done, is on top of a muffler shop. The ladies who helped us were fantastic, even if the location was a little strange. No weird noises or smells so I can't complain.

The wedding service was beautiful and the weather couldn't have been better. The reception was a lot of fun with lots of dancing and laughter. My mom's Aunt Mary and cousin Barb came from Virginia. My dad's sister, Aunt Betty, brought her daughter, Cherry, and grand-daughter, Amy. My cousin Kevin, brought his wife and children also. I hadn't seen most of them in about 8 years (since Susan's wedding) so I really enjoyed seeing them.

We spent Saturday evening in the hotel lobby visiting with the family and I really enjoyed re-connecting with them.

We had breakfast Sunday at Biscuit-ville and my craving for good southern biscuits was fulfilled. Somehow the McDonald's breakfast from Saturday wasn't near as good. Then it was time to head to the airport and get home.

The trip was great. Between the laughter and happy tears, I couldn't have asked for a better wedding.

Congratulations Mike and Tracy!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Meghan and Mom Cooking

Meghan and I were cooking this weekend while Alex was out playing with his friends. She is getting so big as you can see.

We had a good time making shish kabobs and finidini.

Alex was having great fun with the new friends in the neighborhood. He came back soaked and dirty. He was playing in "the nasty place". Yes, that's what he called it. I made it clear that I am NOT OK with playing in "the nasty place". He got the message.

I hope you have a great day!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Barcelona and Other Events

I have been gently reminded that we haven't blogged in while.

It's been a busy spring with soccer, travel, trombone events, piano recitals and school events.

Last night Meghan performed in the Blue Ivey Spring recital. She and her class wore yellow and had yellow duck hats. Meghan had been singing her songs and performing her routine around the house continuously in the past week, so I was pretty sure she would steal the show. Instead, she reacted the same as Alex to his first show. Meghan stood up on stage with her class with her hands folded in front of her. As they sang and performed, she smiled nervously and stared at the audience. Regardless of her fear, she eventually sang a little and even moved. We were all so proud of her performance.

Last week, Alex had his first piano recital. He played Three Little Pigs and Lambs at School. He did a great job as always.

Lorenzo performed with some of his Trombone buddies at a Lutheran Church last Friday night for Holy Week services. It was a cantata. For those, who like me, don't know what that is, it's when there is a choir and group of musicians join together to perform. Yes, I recognize that's not a technical definition, and I am sure Lorenzo will happily correct me for those interested.

Alex has his last soccer game of the spring season tomorrow at 3:30. His skills have continued to improve and it's really fun to watch. His team won a few more games than last season, so they enjoyed it more.

I have been in town for 2 weeks straight and am actually writing this blog from a Texas zip code today. Who knew?

Mom and I returned from Spain on April 7th and WOW! Barcelona is beautiful. I could live there and I did notice there is a Cadbury Chocolate Factory in Barcelona, so I smell opportunity. Or is that chocolate? Either way, I highly recommend visiting that city. The food, architecture, people and pace were wonderful.

You should make time to walk along the beach. There are nude ones so the people watching can be very intertaining! You should have Cava Sangria. You should see Sagrada Familia. You should slow down and enjoy the moment!

Walking the beach along the Med has been on my "Must do before I die list", so I am happy I have done one more!

We had a long layover in London. If you want to see pictures, shoot me an email and I'll send you some.

We are all well and miss you. I hope to hear from you soon!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


B lue Ivey School, Meghan's pre-school, is celebrating The Week of the Young Child next week. They asked us to write a letter explaining why our child is special to us.


Meghan Katherine Martinez
July 1, 2003

Some of my earliest memories are of dreaming of being a mom. I remember imagining a day when I would have a daughter of my own. I would buy her pretty dresses, put bows in her hair, and paint her toenails. Together we would have tea parties, go to the grocery store and sing silly songs all day.

When Meghan arrived I was on top of the world and have remained there. From the day she was born, I have marveled at her smile and her laugh. She has grown into an amazing girl.

Meghan is special to me because of her “Meghan-ness”. She loves to dance and sing and laugh. She loves to play with her brother, feed the dog and help mom. She loves to ride in “mommie’s red car” with the windows down and the radio up. She loves to have her nails painted, her hair brushed and to shop for shoes.

I love Meghan because she isn’t scared to ask for a hug and kiss, seven times in a row. I love Meghan because she knows what she wants and tries to get it. I love Meghan for her sense of adventure and her passion.

Mostly, I love Meghan because she is Meghan and that’s all there is to it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What's New In Martinez Land?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's Friday and I am feeling a little Irish today.

It's been a few weeks since I've blogged. I have been home and working on my next series of travels.

For example, today I head to NC to attend my soon to be sister in law's bridal shower. I am very excited to see everyone. Mike and Tracy are getting married in May and I am very excited for them. Alex will be a ring bearer. I am a bridesmaid with Susan, and the whole event will be fun!

In another week or so, I am heading to Chicago for a day or so, and I do hope I'll have a productive meeting there. On 3/31 I am heading to Barcelona! Not only, is this a business trip for me (so free), but my mom is traveling with me! The meeting is one of those industry events to change the way retailers and suppliers transmit data. I've got to admit that I am SO excited about this location versus Purchase, New York.

In April, I have a few trips to Atlanta and Chicago. In May, again to Atlanta, New York. June is South Bend (10 year reunion!) and New York again. Then, I think I get July off! Whew!

Meghan and Alex are great! Alex has been on Spring Break with Lorenzo this week. They went to Hondo last week and visited with Great Grandma. Since returning home, they've been busy with all other sorts of fun activities. Movies, bowling and shopping...Next year I want to take Spring Break off!

That's about all of the new news. I hope you're well!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hotel Rants from New York and Connecticut

So this week, I have been in New York, again. I am at another of my glorious industry meetings where we are trying to change the way suppliers and retailers conduct business. The fun is just absolutely beyond words.

I picked a different hotel for this trip. I have been staying in the Hilton Rye Town each of my previous trips. It’s close to my meeting locations, but it’s a crappy Hilton. Some of you may thing that’s a repetitive statement. I think it’s crappy because, even after you pay the $9.95 for internet service, you’re not guaranteed to actually be able to connect. The showers and bathrooms, in general, aren’t clean. That means the floor hasn’t been mopped upon check-in, the mirror is smudged and the shower/tub is stained or has residue. Finally, the beds pretty much suck.

So, faced with the option of sleeping at the Hilton for 4 nights, I decided to shop for a new hotel.

My company pays $187/night for the Hilton. (What a rip off!) I wanted to ensure I paid no more than that for another hotel. The options were Marriott Courtyard in Rye ($139), Crowne Plaza in White Plains ($169) or Westin in Stamford, CT ($170). Marriott tends to be reliable, but usually there is a reason for a $40 different in hotels. Some colleagues are at the Marriott, and I am taking it out of my option list based upon their feedback. YUCK. The Crown Plaza is a near a mall, and has good restaurants nearby. It was booked for this week, but I think it is becoming my hotel of choice in the area.

Ultimately, I chose the Westin for this trip. I love the heavenly bed and shower, in general.

Unfortunately, this Westin is not up to snuff. In my Starwood member profile, I have requested a non smoking King room. However, upon check in, they gave me a room that had someone else’s stuff in it, and next to the ice machine. So, I headed back to the front desk. When I told the guy, “there’s someone in the room”, he gave me attitude! I asked, “since you’re getting me MY OWN ROOM, can I have one that isn’t next to the ice machine?” Again, I got an eye roll. A few minutes later I got a room. It was empty. It was a non smoking room. It wasn’t a king. But I was tired and not ready for another fight.

The good news was wireless was available and free.

There are only three WEAK lights in the room. It is too dark!

The layout of the room is poor. For example, if you want to watch TV while sitting on something besides the bed, you’re SOL. The desk IS the same continuous piece of furniture as the dresser and the TV is on it. So along the wall opposite the beds you have a dresser, with a 25” TV on it, right next to the TV is the desk work area with phone, right next to that is the minibar and then the “chair” against the window but facing the beds. So if you chose to sit in the chair, you can watch the beds, but couldn’t see the TV. AND you can’t move the chair; there is no place to move it. If I want to work at the desk while watching TV, I am approximate 12” from the TV. Not an optimal watching scenario.

Parking is in a garage under the hotel. As a woman traveling alone and sometimes late at night, I don’t feel particularly safe in the garage. So, I have to use the valet, at an additional charge. I did use the garage the first day, but last night, I used the valet. Maybe I am being paranoid, but I didn’t see any cameras in the garage, and I just wasn’t comfortable with the risk

The restaurant is “gourmet”. You can choose from a $7.00 bowl of clam chowder (this is an appetizer quantity too) or a spring mix salad for $12. There are a few other options, but if you’re not a cuisine type person, you’ll not be pleased with the options. There are many entrée’s available, but the prices range from $25-$52 per plate. For these prices, I’d rather go to a “good restaurant” that doesn't just serve as a profit contributor to the hotel. If I am going to pay at least $25 for an entrée, make it a steak and a good one.

Monday, for lack of options, I ate the chowder and went to bed hungry. Tuesday, I ate at the bar and had a Kobe Burger. The other options at the bar were less gourmet-y, but not to my liking. Wednesday, I missed dinner altogether, because I was at my meetings until very late. Tonight, I will avoid the hotel for dinner at all costs. I’ll find SOMETHING as an option.

So, for all the benefits of the heavenly bed and shower (and I do like them), I won’t stay at this Westin again, most likely. Let’s hope my next New York trip has more notice and I can get into the Crowne Plaza.

Be speckled, Jeweled and Pedicured: Martinez Metrosexual Tendencies & Other Stories

It’s been a while since Lorenzo and I have blogged. All is well, just very busy. Here are some recent Alex & Meghan stories for your reading pleasure.

Alex got his first set of glasses last week. He now looks more like Lorenzo than ever. Our running joke has always been the “Mini-Me” qualities of Alex to Lorenzo. When they wear their glasses, and ND sweatshirts and jeans, it is even more clear to any observer. Alex is very proud to be wearing glasses like Lorenzo and I. He said, “Now I am part of the family”. Meghan, as a result, wears her Dora sunglasses even more often than before.

Meghan has increased her demands of painted finger and toe nails. I made the mistake of showing her all of my nail polish colors a few weeks ago. As a result, she has decided purple and red toenails are the best. We have to do them in an alternating pattern to have the “finished” look of preference.

Alex decided he needed a haircut on Sunday. His hair was not long, but it was not as neat as he preferred. He pointed out that his sideburns had grown longer than he liked. I had to laugh, as the kid loves to have a haircut, but doesn’t see the need to shampoo his hair daily. Seven year old boys are a hoot!

Meghan discovered the costume jewelry that Susanna passed down. I have been keeping it for Meghan. We put on some clip on earrings, a necklace and her Dora sunglasses for church a few Sunday’s ago. She caught herself in the mirror and turned to me and said, “Mama, I LIKE it.” If I didn’t already know I was in trouble, it’s confirmed.

Alex, in the continuing challenge of being a 7 year old boy, seems to be unable to wear a pair of pants (jeans or other) without tearing a hole in the knee. He has now 9 pair of pants. 4 of them have some sort of a hole in at least one knee. I patched a pair (or two) but the patches didn’t last either. I have decided the blessings of the situation are: you only wear pants for about 4 months in Texas and his legs grow SUPER fast. I am not thrilled with my son wearing pants with holes in the knees, but he can’t seem to keep from putting holes in them, so in order to save the remaining 5 pair from additional holes, I let him wear the hole-y ones more often than I’d like.

Meghan, who seems to be more like me everyday, has apparently developed a sarcastic side. While driving in the car the other day, she asked me to open her bottled water. After opening and returning the bottle, I asked her, “Can you say open in Spanish?” She responded, “Open in Spanish”, to my chagrin and Lorenzo’s laughter. Just so you know, open in Spanish is “Abierto”.

Alex and I are reading “The Phantom Tollbooth” together, when I am home, in the evening. I have been enjoying reading this book again. Whether stories of the Dodecahedron, the Absence of Rhyme & Reason, or the Dangers of the Land of Ignorance, I have been fully enjoying discussing Milo’s progress with Alex. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.

Meghan and I enjoy Madeline stories. Alex comes in to hear the story each night. The three of us have definitely decided we must go to Paris and see the places that Madeline sees in the stories. I love that my kids are, at least developing, the wanderlust I continually demonstrate. Poor Lorenzo, he’ll be dragged all over the world by the time I am done telling the kids about the cool places we should see!

Alex and Meghan are great playmates, but her aggressive nature and his gentle nature tend to be a very dangerous combination. Last weekend, Alex was resting on the floor when Meghan “mounted her horse & demanded he walk”. She then announced, “I have a horsey!”. The cowgirl in Meghan shines through! I am sure the Texas side of the family will enjoy that.

Some of you may know that Alex’s school is participating in a Jump Rope for Hearts program. His school sent home a form describing how to set up an on-line site to “collect money”. Alex, being his father’s son, wanted to be one of the people who actually did set up the site. We did it together and sent the link and “request” to grandparents and god-parents. Alex is apparently one of about 15 students in his entire school to set up the website. Not only that, but he blew away his goal of $50 with this program. Thank you if you GENEROUSLY supported Alex and his school. I was amazed by your collective response and Alex was very proud of his website and results.

Meghan has developed a love of Veggie Tales. Chick Fil-a gave a CD of 4 Veggie Tales’ songs in her recent kids meal. She has figured out how to make her CD player play and how to adjust the volume…up. She loves to replay her cd. My favorite song is about Larry the Cucumber and his Lost Hairbrush. Apparently, it is also Meghan’s, as she sings along with that song every time. She isn’t always on key and she isn’t always clearly articulating the lyrics, but she does enjoy the song. Lorenzo and I enjoy listening to her “sing” it, too.

Alex recently lost a school library book. It was a biography of George W. Bush. I believe he checked out this book about 6 times this year, already. I am not particularly comfortable with Alex’s interest in our president, but you all know, I am very supportive of Alex’s interest in politics, generally. I am hoping, that like myself, his political opinions will grow (and change!) as he does. At least, since he lost the book, he can’t read it again. Lorenzo thinks it’s fishy that the book disappeared. I can only say, I have no knowledge of the location of the book. $22 later, we have re-imbursed the library and reminded Alex to be more careful of future library books. I hope he doesn’t find any more Bush bio’s.

I hope you enjoyed the stories. Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I hope you enjoyed the recent Alex story about the love note.

Last night at dinner, I discovered the note, wasn't a note at all.

As part of the "100th day of school" celebration, each kid brought 100 of some edible item for use in trail mix.

Haley Hicks brought in conversation hearts. She didn't give the "call me" heart to Alex, but instead turned her 100 hearts into the teacher. The teacher then gave Alex a handful of the trail mix that happened to have the heart in it.

I asked Alex if Haley knew about the "call me" heart.

"When I saw it, I said, 'Haley, this says call me'."

Haley just shrugged her shoulders.

So, Alex isn't the romeo I thought, at least not yet.

Thank goodness, I definitely wasn't ready for that yet.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Race & Relationships

I have to share an Alex story from the other night.

The four of us were sitting down to dinner when Alex asked Lorenzo, "Dad, are you Mexican American?"

"Yes, Alex and so are you," Lorenzo responded with a smile.

So, Alex turned to me and said, "So, Mom, you're African American, right?"

Trying to suppress a smile, "No, Alex I am not African American."

"What are you, Mom?"

"They call me Caucasian. But, I am mostly English, German and American Indian."

"Well, I told Trey you were African American," Alex said very matter of factly. "I'll have to tell him the truth tomorrow."

"That's fine Alex. Why were you talking about this?," Lorenzo asked.

"We just were," with all the sincerity of a 7 year old.

"Alex, do you know what an African American would look like?" I asked.

"I guess not mom."

"Do you remember Brendan from soccer?"

"Kind of."

"Hmm, how about Condeleza Rice?"

"Yeah, she went to Notre Dame and works for the President, Mom."

"She is African American, Alex."


And he went on to finish his dinner. Who knew that explaining "race" would be so easy?
Alex announced that he has received his first love note.

Sunday, after church, Pam, Meghan, Alex and I were in Starbucks enjoying a morning beverage. (I highly recommend the Cinnamon Dolce Latte - they taste like a cinnamon roll!)

"Mom, I got a love note."

"What?!", as Cinnamon Dolce Latte comes dangerously close to coming out of my nose.

"I got a love note."

"Who gave it to you?"

"Haley Hicks"

"What did it say?"

"Call me"

"Do you want to call her?"


"Do you like her?"

"No, she likes Purdue." This couldn't have been more frank!

At that point, Pam was about to lose her non-fat upside down caramel machiato through her nose.

Yes, it's ND or nowhere.

Too bad for Haley Hicks.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Cell Phone Etiquette

We have all seen it happen. You're in a public restroom somewhere, and you hear someone else talking on a cell phone. Why they chose the restroom to have this call, who knows? So, you ask yourself the question, do you flush?

I believe that there is a key decision to be made. If the talker, rude as they are, is also in a stall, flushing is ok. Why? Well, they are going to have to also. Plus, maybe they'll get the hint.

However, if they are by the sink, having not entered the stall, then I can see an argument for delaying the flush, as long as possible.

Let's take an example. You are on a business trip, and your son calls you. You excuse yourself from the group dinner table and need a quiet space to take the call. One option is the bar. Option two is outside. Option three is the restroom. Personally, I avoid the restroom at all costs, but I can understand the need. HOWEVER, I wouldn't enter the stall!

I was at the office the other day. I heard a lady come into the restroom. She initiated her call FROM THE STALL. I was in shock. Timing was not her ally, because there were many flushes occurring.

The questions in my head ranged from "Who is she talking to?" "Can't they hear the flush?" "She is ok with them knowing she is in the bathroom!?!" By the way, she was clearly speaking to her boss. I certainly wouldn't call my boss from the restroom!

I don't get it at all. The restroom should be a private experience, as much as possible even in a public restroom.

It appears that some of the few remaining privacies are being killed with cell phones.

And with that, it's time to flush.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Chihuahua Chapter 2

In my last entry, I think my frustration was obvious. In reflection, however, I've developed a sense of sympathy for The Chihuahua.

She must be a very unhappy puppy. In the last day of our meeting, we cats were hissing or sleeping as she barked. She clearly realized her bark was not a meow. She realized that she was in fact, not, a cat and eventually stopped barking. Defeated and alone, she retreated to the back of the room.

There was a sense of victory for the cats. We had defeated The Chihuahua. It was like someone have given us catnip in the room!

I watched The Chihuahua leave. She left alone. No one said goodbye. Her tail between her legs, she left.

I must admit I truly feel for her. She really could be happier if she could read people. Any one of us cats have hissed at another cat, but we realize when we must stop hissing. Somehow she never learned when to stop barking.

In my early 20's, I had a boss accuse me of being a chihuahua. She counseled me. She taught me to hiss and de-clawed me. I resented the exercise at the time, but without a doubt I am now grateful.

In a team setting, to be successful, you must read the room. You must also control your own emotions. Finally, even if you have a chihuahua in a room of cats, you must try to de-claw them and teach the dog to hiss.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Corralling Cats

Yes, I am from Texas, but I am no Cowboy. I have no experience with a Cattle roundup, but being a participant in industry standard setting bodies, I am gaining extreme experience corralling cats.

I have spent the past 3 days in a group made up of manufacturers, retailers and service providers with the express goal of developing and implementing a series of messages to transact price information electronically.

For those who don’t work in the Consumer Products Industry, you should know that today, sales representatives across the world take price data from their internal company’s systems and fill out paper forms to be given to retailers. Some retailers, then literally publish that information in what they call a “price book”. The price book was the main way some manufacturers gather information about their competitors’ prices on items.

In other words, today’s non-electronic methods are not particularly secure. But, it has been the way in which we have operated for at least the ten years I have been in the industry.

The people involved in this committee are mostly from a technical background. They have never actually filled out these forms or seen a price book. So, they are trying to find an extremely secure method to transmit that data. Worthy goal, yes, but it has totally impeded our ability to meet our goal.

I should probably describe the data flow, so that the rest of this makes sense.

I am a manufacturer called Lynn’s Cookie Company and I send my Chocolate Cookie prices for Lorenzo’s Grocery Store to my contracted data pool service provider, X. Lorenzo’s Grocery store uses a different data pool service provider, Y. So, X sends my data to Y. Y then sends my data to Lorenzo’s Grocery Store. (See below)

In addition, there is a standard setting body that has to certify that X & Y meet certain standards.

Readers, I am not the most technically savvy person. However, my experience is deep enough to know that security, as important as it is, can impede our ability to process data in a timely fashion. However, this is my first encounter with the concept of security impeding a group’s ability to even create a hypothetical solution.

I am so frustrated with them. First, I have heard a number of comments.

“My CEO says it must be secure, because it’s our price data.” Fair point, but if you tell your CEO it’s secure, he’ll believe you, as opposed to checking himself, right? And given the billions of records that will be transmitted daily, and broken into spearate pieces, the likelihood of a mean spirited body discovering the price of Lynn’s Chocolate Cookies is slim.

“My company is only willing to allow a partner with which I have a contract to view my data. All else must be passed through encrypted only.” If the standard’s body has certified both of them, then why don’t we trust both?

“But the ideas you’re proposing mean I’ll be changing my backend systems.” DUH! This is a change. Today there is no standard, so when a standard comes change follows.

We all know that my patience, especially in a business environment is not known as endless. However, when you add to this environment, a personality that:
Can not ready body language
Is extremely willing to shanghai the group’s progress based upon her inability to understand the material
Is blunt to the point of rude, continuously
Well, you can imagine that I have really enjoyed this meeting, right?

So, I have been sitting in meetings, with a group of cats who can’t agree, and added a Chihuahua[1] to the meeting, who thinks she’s a cat, but clearly doesn’t think or process as quickly as a cat. And, as natural for a group of cats with one dog, (or dog-like creature) the cats have left (at least mentally) and the Chihuahua keeps barking. Unfortunately, for us cats, we’ve got no-one who can remove the dog (we’ve all been de-clawed), we’ve got no one who can lead us cats anywhere (cats aren’t really known for group behaviors anyway), and we can’t leave (without our claws, we are relegated to being indoor cats).

The good news is that this meeting is over, and we’re not getting together again until the last week in January. I am concentrating on growing some claws in the meantime.

[1] For those who love Chihuahuas, I do not intend for this to be a slight against their personalities, but instead this reference is due to the striking resemblance between the person and an actual Chihuahua.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I've Been Working on the Railroad

Have you ever noticed that the melody of the Texas Fight Song is the same as "I've Been Working on the Railroad"?

Well, living in Texas, and having Uncle Ernie as a graduate, Texas is one of the few schools that we also root for in college games. Thanks to Uncle Ernie, we have a bottle opener that plays the Texas Fight Song when you use it. Meghan loves it and has figured out how to cue to the music without a bottle. Of course, since I am not a Texas grad, I have delighted in teaching Meghan the words to "I've been working on the railroad", each time the melody plays.

Lorenzo rolls his eyes, and Alex's always finishes the song...LONGHORNS!

As you may have guessed, we've heard the song a few times in the past day or so.

I must admit, I was quite happy to learn that the Longhorns won. It's always ok for me to see USC lose. However, the funny part was listening to Meghan sing "I've been working on the railroad, all the live long day" every time the song starts.

We may live in Texas, but the kids are ND born and bread.

GO IRISH! Beat Georgia Tech....Ramblin Reck... or bumble bees!

And, Congratulations Longhorns.