So: Texas is popular

Not sure what’s happening in 2014, but we have more visitors coming this year in the first 5 months of the year than any other year we’ve lived here. Some are first time visitors, others are back for more shopping/eating/sightseeing. And it seems like many people are considering or being transferred to the Dallas area.

I’m delighted. And excited! I don’t even care about the cleaning.

We have guests coming for a friend’s concert in April (Maysa–she’s an amazing jazz singer. Check out her site Maysa.com). They’re coming from Colorado and Virginia so far, but you never know if our Detroit pals might make the trip.

Then we’re being invaded by the Canadians in May.

Lots to look forward to!

And your gratuitous dog photo of the day:

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So: Sofa Christmas

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Hi everyone! Merry Christmas!

Q4 2013 was exceptionally busy and filled with travel so that’s why I dropped off the face of the planet.

Like every year, I had big plans for my much anticipated Christmas break. The Urban Farm is in shambles after our ice storm at the beginning of December so i was going to clean it up. Same with the container plants and front yard.

No dice. It must wait.

The lesson of this Christmas is to be still, to be patient, to let others do everything.

You see, I’ve broken my tibia. I wish I did it in some glamorous way, skiing triple black diamond runs in Vail, snowboarding in Lake Louise, or even shoveling elderly neighbors’ driveways in Toronto (many people there are still without power).

But truthfully, it was during last Sunday’s morning walk. It was not icy. It was completely dry. We went a different way than we usually do since we saw a woman with two large dogs looking nervously at the 4Gs. And I stumbled on uneven pavement and fell down in incredible pain.

Of course, after sitting for a few minutes, I got up and finished the walk. But two hours later I asked Bruce to drive me to the closest urgent care clinic.

I’m sitting here with a bag of ice on my foot. I have a big boot I need to wear for 4 weeks and crutches. Near the end of the day brings more inflammation although I’ve spent most of the past few days on the couch with my foot elevated. It’s not fun. But it’s a sign I think: to slow down, to enjoy the little things, to appreciate the things I take for granted.

So my wish for you (and me) this Christmas season is to appreciate. Enjoy the treats and once-a-year delicacies. Move and enjoy your body. Love the ones your with and those far away. Treasure your memories and reflect upon them.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Hug your dear ones tight!

Speaking of dear ones, the Gs had some pals visit this afternoon so today’s gratuitous dog photo isn’t as lively as some:

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The extra dog closest to the camera is Zak. As you can see, they had quite a Christmas play date!

So: The engagement and wedding day

Julie tells me that a lot of you read my last blog.  Thank you for that.  I promised to write about the engagement and the wedding.

The Engagement

I wanted to make the engagement really special for Julie.  I wanted her to remember where we were engaged, so I asked her about her favorite places in NoCal and she kept on talking about this creek near the Campanile at Berkeley that she used to read and think at.  Yes, Julie is super smart and is a Cal grad with a double major.  I landed in SFO and was headed to San Francisco, but Julie wasn’t feeling well and was tired, so we went to her place.  After dinner, I got down on my knees in her cramped eat in kitchen.  I said my well rehearsed proposal and, of course, she said yes (Psst, we are married).  We called her parents to tell them we wanted to share something with them. Her mom said “well we are going to the gym” and Julie talked her into waiting until we got there.  We grapped a bottle of Dom Perignon and went to their place.  I didn’t ask her dad for her hand in marriage since that would not have set well with Julie. When we told them our newss Her dad congratulated both of us and welcomed me to the family.  Her mom said “Cmon Dick, let’s go to the gym”. Even though Julie tried to talk her into celebrating with us, they left and so did we. We eventually came back, but that took ten years for me to care about her mom.

The Wedding

We got married in St. Lucia at a Sandals Resort.  We were married on December 7th, 1995 on a very hot and humid day.  I was sent to meet Ms. Kay Jackson in a very cold room while things were being prepared.  I noticed she was stalling and asked her what was the problem.  The Governor of St. Lucia forgot to sign our license before he left for his golf game.  She had sent someone to get the signature.  I called Julie to tell her the problem and she told me that her dad said I had decided to leave.  NO CHANCE of that happening.

For some reason, Julie decided she should wear a hat.  Now, she had worn a Cal baseball cap on the weekends when we would grab coffee, but no other type so this was out of character.  She was wearing a beautiful dress and I had a new tailored WOOL suit that was a stupid idea with hindsight.  I am not sure why she wore nylons, so you will have to ask her.

IMG_4265 Her Dad left his regular glasses on the plane, so he looked like a CIA agent for the entire trip.  Since he was an officer in the Marines it seemed to fit.

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We both wrote our vows and were practicing them during our trip. The morning of the wedding we both agreed to read them to each other as the words were important to us.  Mine was kind of long, but it did end with “you are my complement and my completion”.

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It was a seriously hot and humid day and I was STUPID for wearing a wool suit.  But even more annoying was the cheesy photographer who didn’t know when to stop.  I finally told him we were done.  I was hot and I wanted a beer.  My father in law decided he did too.  This was the last picture before we sent the photographer on his merry way.

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Needless to say it was a special day and one I never forget.  We have gone through a lot in our lives together. We have lived in two countries, had seven homes, multiple jobs but the common denominator has always been the development of our partnership and love for each other.  I can truly say that I love Julie more every day. She is a very special person and you should take the opportunity to be her friend.  She is a great friend. I know. She’s my best friend.

The years have been a lot of fun.  We have aged a bit, but we have earned every wrinkle.  Here is a more recent picture of us with the 3G network.  After the recent events in the world, I hope that you have hugged your love ones a little tighter.  I know I will when she comes home.  Thanks for reading. Bruce

family 2012

Sow: bugged

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Even though it was Monday after a long weekend, I wasn’t sad to get back to work: my muscles and back needed to rest!

Even better: today was like my birthday all over again. Whoohoo! Two shipping delayed gifts arrived and I enjoyed a fun online shopping spree (thanks, Reesa) and sharing (and eating) delicious chocolate during conference calls (thanks, Mel)!

I also saw my sweet boss for the first time in a week or so and she gave me gifts for the urban farm!

She is an avid digger in the dirt too and found a super cool ergonomic shovel from Canadian retailer Lee Valley. Now I can’t wait to plant something this coming weekend — or sooner if I can figure out what container plants to add to the patio. And I have on my calendar that this weekend is time to plant okra, a plant that apparently does awesome in our surface of the sun summer temperatures.

She also found me a new bug for the garden (photo at top of page). Isn’t he cute?

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He’s going to live in the stock tank with the spinach and red velvet lettuce. Both are growing like crazy! I guess they’re happy with the weather change. So am I!

So: fashion victim

This may surprise you but I really don’t like to shop. Part of it stems from preferring to dig in the dirt rather than dig through racks at the mall. Part of it stems from fashion trends like skinny jeans, ultra low rise anything, knit dresses and the bikini which really do not work out well for me no matter how faithful I am to the gym and to a specific calorie count. I’m short but not really petite, curvy, and muscular.

Don’t get me wrong, I like cute clothes. And I love shoes probably because so many fun choices that actually fit my feet. Cowboy boots, mary-janes, all sorts of athletic shoes, platform boots, Chuck Taylors, flip flops, sandals, wedges, pumps, sling backs, peep toes, I love them all. Trying them on is fun especially since Bruce is a certifiable shoe-a-holic and probably has more pairs than I do (he is in a special status in DSW’s rewards program, thanks to his habit) and would never tell me that I already have three pairs of black pumps.

My souvenirs from Barcelona in 2009: SHOES!

My souvenirs from Barcelona in 2009:         shoes from Camper (yes, I still have them)

When it comes to actual clothes, my wardrobe needs refreshing. My loathing of shopping is so deep that I could  count my 2012 visits to a clothing retailer on one hand. In the pants/skirts/other bottoms department, my closet looks respectable, but not in the tops. I need to fix that in the next few weeks since spring is coming in Texas and so are spring client meetings. Ugh.

Most pressing however is something appropriate to wear to a women’s luncheon that I was recently invited to. Recently, as in yesterday. The luncheon is on February 1, which is only two weeks away.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be too stressed about going to a ladies’ luncheon. I have plenty of business appropriate dresses that I can throw on at a moments notice and look just fine. However, one of the requirements of attendees is that red must be worn. Ok, two problems: my wardrobe is mostly black (duh, I am in advertising on the creative side) and two I hate shopping. And although red is an official color of my sorority, I don’t really have anything red anymore. Well, except for my favorite red shoes, but I thought I should go all out  and get into the spirit of the event with a red dress.

My favorite red shoes (also by Camper)

My favorite red shoes (also by Camper)

So what’s a gal to do? Well, not run to the nearest mall because it closes at 9 pm on a weeknight and I knew I’d need more than a couple of hours to go from store to store to store. And this weekend is not available for a shopping adventure since we’re going to visit my twin nieces. One thing I do not do is procrastinate with stuff like this because nothing’s more stressful than a nth hour race through the racks and finding nothing appropriate.

Instead I got out my trusty laptop and headed to a variety of major retailers while parked on the sofa next to a snoring Guinness. Next week, many nice red dresses will arrive at my office. I’ll take them home and try them on. I’ll have a variety of accessories and shoes at my fingertips to help with the decision process. The winner I’ll keep, the others will get returned to their bricks-and-mortar outlets in Dallas.

Why didn’t I just go to the stores in the first place? In addition to the time challenges of the next few weeks, I checked the inventory of these various frocks and guess what, the other ladies attending the luncheon (or perhaps red is just really popular here) have already purchased them! There really wasn’t anything in stock locally. This surprises me since Valentine’s day is next month and red always seems to be popular this time of year.

Don’t worry, I’m actually ok if someone else is wearing exactly the same dress. I’ll congratulate her on her good taste and compliment her shoes which hopefully will be nothing like mine.

 

 

 

 

So: get up, go

Motivation isn’t at an all-time high today. My “get up” is kind of gone. An extremely long day with a full work day plus a delayed three-hour flight then another long day with a delayed three-hour flight made waking up at 5 am for the also  3G Network’s walk really tough. Not even sure that they appreciated their walk since they too are very tired (and are all snoring).

sleepy George (photo taken by Bruce)

sleepy George looks like I feel                       (photo taken by Bruce)

Days like these are not my smartest, nor are they my swiftest. Problem-solving and creative solutions don’t come as easily as usual. So I’ve been puttering around, trying to jumpstart my brain. So far, it’s not working. Today’s a day when even the simplest tasks can get screwed up or take three times as long. I’ll have to be very careful and over think everything. Right now, I’m not even sure that I’m stringing these sentences together in a coherent way.

Now, I could go back to bed for a little while and show up at the office around noon. No one would blink an eye at receiving an email from me saying I’ll be in late. No problem taking a couple of hours for myself. But I need to “go”. I have stuff to do, people to see, meetings to attend. Clients that are expecting me to do my job to keep their projects going.

So I will putter for a bit longer. Today is supposed to be warmer so I’ll uncover the garden before I leave. Unpack my suitcase. Gather up all the papers and work stuff I collected yesterday. Take a long shower and let the water bring me back to life — like a parched plant in on a hot Texas afternoon. Break my “rule” about only having 2 cups of coffee a day.

With that plan, I should be awake by lunchtime. If you need my input or an important decision made, you might want to check with me then.

So: middle seat view

I travel a bit for my job. I love traveling and airports and have since I was a little girl. When I was a kid going to the airport meant either than someone was visiting us (like Grandma and Grandpa) or that we were visiting someone (like Grandma and Grandpa). Or we were moving to somewhere far a way and much more interesting than where we were living.

Airports for me, even with their security checkpoints, expensive food and drink prices, and often grouchy flight attendants (at least on American Airlines which is based in Dallas), are a place of excitement and anticipation. And people watching. Nothing I like better than to observe what’s going on around me.

One business trip last fall, I saw Santa Claus at DFW. No joke. He was in “civilian” clothes: a Christmas themed dress shirt and red tie with a jingle bell necklace for good measure. Not being quick enough on the iphone camera’s draw cost me a shot that would have made many children’s day. Hell, it made me believe too. It makes a good story though.

This trip had no Santa sightings, just very little sleep, lots of delays, a death-defying taxi ride, and very crowded flights. But what days like these teach business travelers is to be grateful for the good things that come to them. Even if they’re little things.

So while I write at 10,000 feet I am grateful for the following:

1. Wifi so I can catch up on work (and today’s post).

2. Being in the middle seat between a snoozing relatively handsome (that’s for you, Kate), reasonably sized man and my snoozing coworker LIsa rather than two large business men that have been working hard all day and are in need of a shower.

3. Getting on the earlier flight and beating the snow storm that is apparently hitting the east coast sometime tonight.

4. Tracy for watching the 3G Network so I didn’t need to worry about them.

5. Not having to be awake from 5 am CT until 1:30 am ET like yesterday.

6. A very hot shower to wake me up this morning after 5 hours of sleep.

7. A fantastic training session complete with a funny attorney.

8. Finishing up the training session early.

9  Being small enough to actually think the middle seat is fine for 3 hours.

10. The improvements made to the Philadelphia airport including the nice little wine bar where we killed a bit of time before the flight.

There’s something magical and transformative about travel. For me it always has the promise of excitement or a funny story to tell afterwards. People to see. New places to explore.

Even last nigh’s “death cab” adds a bit of novelty to this trip. A cab driver who was not only out of touch with his customers (he got out of the cab at one point to talk to his pals), didn’t know where he was going, and drove like a bat out of hell, makes for a tale that can be scaled up or down depending upon your audience.

On Saturday morning I get to do it all over again. But this time, my excitement wil be the excitement i felt as a kid going to visit my grandparents. Except now, I’m the attraction. Oh, and so is Uncle Bruce. We’re going to visit our twin nieces who just turned 3. They just got big girl beds and had a birthday party. They are ready to play Barbies with Uncle Bruce and have a tea party with their company. Maybe they’ll wear princess dresses. Or dig in the dirt. I can’t wait to see their little faces and hear about what’s going on at school.

Oh and it will be nice to see my brother and sister-in-law too.