Sunday, July 24, 2011

Come Fly With Me....It's a Good Life

I would love to use this as an excuse for my lack of posting of late, but the truth is, I'm not sure what has been holding it up...a lack of general creativity perhaps?  But what I will say is my life is much different these days than it was only 6 months ago.

The MERGER is nearly a done deal.  And by that I don't mean the signed deal which was completed two years ago this month.  I mean the INTEGRATION, which from here on in will be a capital letter and dirty word from my perspective.  If MERGERs bring polar opposite feelings of anticipation and fear, INTEGRATION delivers on both with a healthy dose of frustration, powerlessness, confusion, and in the end, you are either in a better position than you started or a worse position....but you are never the same.

I am in a "better position" career wise, but I'm also working harder than I ever thought possible to get to the end of each day and each week.  I have a great team of people made up of individuals from both organizations, and I've managed to keep my VP/Boss while Boss Lady and I are now equalized.  My "better position" requires a lot of moving around.  Small moves like running in and out of Manhattan every couple weeks for meetings, and big moves like Europe every few months for conferences or events, and continuing moves like the one I take today which is the constant back and forth from NY to Denver. 

I have been to Denver nearly ever other week since early May.  Every. Other. Week.  It's not a brutal trip - about 3.5 hour flight which is quite doable even in the cheap seats, but it's a bit boring and I'm not sure it helps me to make progress on the actual work on my desk that can help the company succeed.  I'm learning some agility.  I'm learning how to pack and not get anxious about forgetting things.  I've definitely learned to rent my own car while on the road rather than rely on others or just do car services.  And I've learned about the fast food to fine dining choices in the Highlands Ranch area of Denver.  Denver is Mecca for my company - being the U.S. headquarters. And it's an interesting turnaround for me as I always worked in headquarters and had people fly to me!

In today's day and age with internet, video conferencing, and cost constraints (not to mention carbon footprinting), it amazes me that there is this insistence that I be there in person for so many things.  But as long as they don't make me uproot my life and move there (and really, there hasn't even been a whisper of that so far), I'll keep flying the friendly skies back and forth. 

Over the next couple of weeks Hubby and I will be ships passing in the night...he is off now golfing and by the time he returns I'll be on my way to the airport.  Then I return late Thursday night (really Friday wee hours) and he leaves Friday AM for a weekend convention returning Sunday night.  I leave Monday AM for a quick overnight trip to Syracuse and return Tuesday night, and then we have my mom arriving for a long weekend/birthday celebration, and as she leaves on Monday, so do I, off again to Denver for 4 more days. 

This is my life.

And really, should I complain?  I have a loving and understanding husband.  We have two jobs that are stable and paying the mortgage and all the services (lawn, housecleaning, etc) that help us lead this busy life.  We have food in the fridge.  A new Ethan Allen couch.  A (knock wood) healthy family.  And our military family members are thus far in friendly posts. 

Tripping back and forth to Denver is the least I can do to earn this good life we have.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harry Potter....Lives? You'll See.

Far be it from me to spoil the ending for those who have not yet seen the final movie or read the final chapter.  This is rather uncharacteristic of me as many people know it is hard for me to keep secrets.  I'm someone who processes info by sharing and bouncing thoughts off others...so keeping something solely to myself is tough.  Luckily, I only have to keep the Harry Potter secrets from those who have not read the books or seen the movie. 

I was recently on a long flight to Europe and noticed the man next to me was reading the first book in the series.  Now this, I thought, was one of two things...someone re-reading a favorite or just starting fresh. Eventually there was an opening for conversation and I asked.  His response, "This is all new to me....but my girlfriend insisted I must read the series."  I already knew the answer to my next question, but it still seemed to surprise him...."A new relationship, right?"...."How did you know", he asked.  Because, only a new boyfriend would pick up a book like Harry Potter - if he hasn't already gravitated to it by interest - only a new boyfriend freshly in  love and trying to please his new mate." 

I swear he blushed a little. Sweet.

I have one friend who persists in asking me, "So, tell me, really, does Harry Potter survive or not?" 
And I persist in answering, "You'll see...."

Which drives her batty.

Oh the small joys in life.

Having read all of the books, at least twice each, I've known the ending for some time.  But I've enjoyed rediscovering the stories over and over again by viewing the films or by re-reading the pages of the book that can't possibly fit into the films by picking up the books over and over. 

Last night, I got to enjoy the culmination of the series as it was brought to screen in Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows.  And it was, forgive me, magical.  The visuals were stunning and the acting was pretty darn good.  Of course it lacks the depth of the book, even split into two films it is impossible to infuse all the detail of every battle, every close call survival, and every crushing defeat and death. 

So yes, someone...or rather someones do die. But I'm not telling you who. 

You'll see.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good-bye Old Friend...Hello New

Today we said good-bye to an old friend.  A fluffy, comfy, but a little frayed around the edges friend.  This friend was a perfect fit to us for many years, but you know how friendships can change, become worn out...when you've spent too much time together, you just get a little tired of one another.  And yet...when a friend has been around so long, you are almost molded to one another...you may even find you look a little alike....and as you've aged, you both have your sags...your lumps and bumps in a variety of places...but you love one another all the same.

Good-bye old friend.  We knew you well.  We used you and abused you.  We shared many a good time, and a few bumps and bruises.  You kept our secrets, including helping us hide our money, our kitty's favorite toys, and even a crumb or two, or three....and for all those nights you cradled our asses, we thank you.


And so we welcome a new friend to the home.  A little brighter, a little hipper, a little fresher and ready to take on new challenges, but still humble enough to continue to cradle our asses and serve as a special retreat for those afternoon naps.


New memories await us my firm well framed friend.  And with your grown-up price tag, I expect you to stick around a very long time.

Oh, and I solemnly swear...no eating in your presence...at least until we get used to one another.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Amsterdam Cook-off

During my recent business trip to Amsterdam, we had an evening event dubbed, Culitainment.  This meant hopping on a bus and heading to De Kookfabriek.  Where we quite literally worked for our dinner.

video

This was only a small portion of our prep activity as recorded by a colleague with a time lapse app on his iPhone (I have got to get one of those eventually).  I know it is too fast to see, but I'm in the foreground in the left side (in and out of frame).  My job?  Placing beets in a criss-cross pattern on each plate.

We did not win the context (boo hiss, the fix was in) despite completing our prep and cooking first for EVERY course, giving up part of our dessert for a table that broke one of their dishes, and remaining friendly and working well as a team throughout the night.  BUT we did eat a fine meal, make new friends, drink nice wine, and have a pretty good time.

Who knew a bunch of executives, scientists and engineers could do this?