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Next week I begin my new adventure with Satmetrix, the Net Promoter Score company. It’s a dream come true for me and it means I still get to work with credit unions through the Member Loyalty Group. Yay!

My office is in San Mateo so I’ve rented a studio apartment in the same town. Bay Area real estate is insane. San Francisco is the second most expensive rental market in the US (Honolulu is number one).

My sister Daedre (pronounced daydream – drop the “m”) is the Queen of “vertical” living. IKEA is only 12 miles away. Her plane lands at 7:45 this morning. She flies out at noon tomorrow, I fly to London at 7:30 tomorrow night (for my first week of work).

Our challenge: to create a gorgeous, comfortable, functional living space in 36 hours. We are starting from scratch. I arrived yesterday with my Mazda Millennia packed full of clothes, shoes, my favorite picture of Mark, bathroom stuff and one flying pig.

My sister has a process she uses for every move. She creates a scale floor plan using graph paper and makes little furniture pieces (also to scale) so you can play around with the room without breaking your back. The apartment is basically one big room, with a separate very small kitchen and bathroom. The main room is almost perfectly square and has a huge picture window on one wall with an amazing view.

Daedre asked me what my requirements were. I need a real bed and I don’t want to eat dinner on the couch. So we are going to try and get a bedroom, dining room and living room in 412 square feet. I am writing this from the Marriott Courtyard. And looking at this room, I think we can do it.

Stay tuned.

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Is it just me or do these mid-week holidays mess you up? And I’m not just talking about the drinking and eating. Here’s why I think we should pass a law against mid-week holidays.

  1. You experience two Mondays in four days.
  2. You have to go back to work the “Monday” after the big one which could (should) limit your consumption.
  3. Your trash day is moved up a day. You know it. I know it. I don’t trust it so I still drag it to the curb on my regular trash day.
  4. You get two Fridays, but on the first one you get ripped off with only one day off.
  5. If you’re self-employed everyone you work with or want to work with is out of the office. Which means no emails, no calls, no interaction.

toklxmas_hangovercuresWhat if we make it a law that Christmas and New Years has to be celebrated on a Friday? No one seems to mind when we have “President’s Day Observed.” There’s no outrage over that. Technically December 25th was not Christ’s actual birthday so we’ve been “observing” it all along.

Thursday businesses close at 2:00pm, Friday is the holiday. Saturday is the recovery day and Sunday is the Lord’s day. Back to work nice and fresh. Nobody gets hurt.

Who’s with me?

This morning a dear old friend posted on her Facebook page the first concert she ever went to – and it was with me. KC & the Sunshine Band. I think it was 1975. And it got me to thinking about the old days. Cuz that’s what you do when you….get old-er.

And so I give you, young children, what life was like before the internet.

1. To find a restaurant, we pulled over to a phone booth, grabbed a phone book (if someone hadn’t already ripped it off) put a dime in the machine, dialed the restaurant and asked for directions. Which means we had to have a pen and paper.

2. We drove to Crystal Ship Records when the new Carole King Tapestry album came out and hoped they still had a copy. If not, we drove to Crystal Ship records again and hoped they had a copy.  Rinse and repeat, until they had a copy.

3. On our birthday our mailbox (meaning the physical one at the end of the driveway) was filled with paper birthday cards.

4. If we wanted to make split pea with ham soup we asked our mom for the recipe. She made us re-write it on our own recipe card because she wasn’t about to loan us hers – soup stained as it was.

5. We made sure we were sitting in front of the television on Saturday night at 11:30pm on NBC (one of four channels on your TV) to watch John Belushi on Saturday Night Live. If we missed it, it would be years before we could see it again.

6. We had to read books to do book reports. And the books were made of paper.

7.  We had to get up off the couch and flip the record album over.

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8. We asked the librarian where the book was in the library that held the information we needed. Like what does this rash mean?

9. We played board games on a board.

10. We went for walks, and sat in restaurants and talked to each other, we didn’t post every moment in time on Facebook – we lived those moments.

And then 38 years later thankfully we could post that moment on Facebook because it brought back some really great memories.  Thanks Julie.

I stopped watching the news about a year ago. Sure, it keeps me in the dark about a lot of things local, political, musical and Miley Cyrus. I like it that way. I can’t start my day with a barrage of news about things in which I have no control. It only adds to my frustration.

2769-1-boston-baseball-news-red-soxGiving up the news is somewhat like giving up carbs, or meat. When people ask you if you “Saw that horrendous thing on the news last night involving dead children and puppy abuse?” you have to explain to people that you don’t ingest that. That response is often met with disdain. One person went so far as to say I was irresponsible for not keeping up on current affairs. Really? I wanted to say “Tell me one thing I should know about that makes me responsible?”

I get all of my news from The Daily Show and SNL’s Week-end Update. Keeps me informed, just enough, often makes me laugh and seldom makes me want to crawl in bed and cry.

Now about America’s other past-time. Baseball.  I can honestly say I have never ever been to a game or watched a game on television (in its entirety – I mean I’ve been in bars where it’s on – but wasn’t there to watch it).  I know how the game is played (thanks to my mom forcing me into softball in the second grade – hated it!).

But this year I have made an exception – for the World Series only – because my niece married a Worcester, Mass boy. And I adore him. If you’ve ever met a born and bred Boston fan – well, you have to root for them.

Here are my observations about baseball. And how it relates to working for a corporation.

1. There are so many games (meetings) that most of them don’t really matter or keep the general public’s (employee’s) attention.

2. During a game (work day) there can be hours where nothing really important happens.

3. The scores (against an opponent) usually happen based on an error. Not on anything outstanding happening. So the competition screws up more than you and you win.

4. You don’t always have to have the appearance of being horribly fit to be on the team.

5. It appears you can take a break and just shoot the sh*t whenever you feel like it.

6. There’s tension watching a game being played. The activity comes in bursts and depending on the outcome can be replayed and replayed until you can’t take it anymore.

grab7. Continuous spitting, nose blowing (out a nostril onto the ground) and adjusting of body parts is not looked at with disgust. Okay – there thankfully is no parallel in the corporate world – it’s just WHY do they do this on National television???

So there you have it. My take on America’s past-times.

Go Sox!

keepitcoopHave you ever planned a really big event? Something you’ve worked on for months? Lots of moving parts, lots of meetings, many calls, legal crap of course, but tons of fun stuff too?

And then that day comes.  You wake up with butterflies in your stomach. You’ve dreamt about everything that could go wrong – you’re surprised just how organized you are.  It’s in the universe’s hands now.

And so was that day for me – last Wednesday. The first annual Keep It Co-Op Community Concert at the Santa Fe Railyard starring singer/songwriter Craig Carothers and Grammy Award winner Don Henry.

This moment was actually years in the making for me. Without boring you with the details I was able to combine three things I really love into one perfect moment:

1 – Craig Carothers – see Chapter 3 of my first book for the backstory on why I love Craig so much.

2 – Santa Fe, New Mexico – the first time I ever visited the City Different I made a vow – I would retire (aka die) here.

3 – Credit Unions – I am so proud of what I’ve helped build here in Northern New Mexico with our Keep It Co-Op! Campaign

And so I give you…..the perfect moment. Oh, and picture a light summer breeze…sitting in a lawn chair…….and this happens.

Mark turned 50 earlier this year and I had no idea what to get him to celebrate the big day.

After all, I got a cordless Dyson on my 50th, so the pressure was really on.

My friend Matt suggested I buy him the “Up” band by Jawbone.  It’s kind of like the Nike fuel band, but a little tougher looking.  Mark’s a gadget guy so it was the perfect gift. And to make it even more meaningful I got a matching one. We were going to get fit together.

Jawbone-UpThis thing is like Santa – it knows when you are sleeping, it knows when you’re awake – seriously. It tracks heavy (snoring) sleeping, light sleeping, when you get up in the middle of the night to pee. How long it took you to fall back to sleep after getting up. It was crazy.

You can set it to buzz after so many minutes of being idle. A subtle reminder to get off your fat arse and move around. You can log in your food intake. You can invite other people to watch you sleep.  It tells you when the battery charge is getting low – three days in advance.

It’s the most annoying thing I’ve ever owned – and one morning when it kept buzzing/bugging me I ripped it off and tossed it in a bathroom drawer. And there it sits. Alone, in the dark. Wondering what I’m eating.

I think the reason I hated the Up band so much was the dependency of the thing. The same reason I chose to not have children. They always want attention – you have to keep feeding them (so I’m told) and make sure they go to bed on time, etc. Who needs it?

Mark on the other hand LOVES his Up band. Just one more gadget to watch instead of talking with me. Mark has two iPhones, an internet radio, and a weather station on his night stand and sleeps with the UP band around his wrist. He knows precisely the temperature and humidity level outside, and how heavy the morning traffic is on the Edens.

We have an Octane Fitness elliptical trainer in our home. Mark works out almost every day on that thing. He has also entered into a competition at work through Nuvita. He wears a heart rate monitor while working out so he can reach his target cardio level,  the eliptical tracks calories burned so that can be charted, and then he logs in his minutes, uploads his steps on the Up band. It’s his Nirvana and he looks great.

I think I”m going to strap on my sneakers and go for a walk.

leme

Only a marketer could do this to us. Lure us into buying 25 different “styles” of black socks. If I had to do it all over again I would have loaded up on one style. And then when they started to die – load up again – on ONE style. But it’s so hard to do. Think of the wall of styles you’re accosted with at any decent store. All of them individually displayed on their cute little hangars, with a thin piece of tissue stuffed inside so that, like a dog, you are enchanted by the sound of the crinkling. If you did want to load up on just one style you would look like a hog. Destroying the display by leaving a gaping hole and a lonely silver post where the lovely socks used to be.

Last week I gave up matching my black socks. I’m done. Now I just reach in the chaotic drawer and grab two. After all, 50% of the sock is covered by my shoe and the rest by my pant leg. Who cares?

I guess it’s because I’m getting older and realizing that life is just too damn short to sit on a Saturday afternoon squinting, holding up socks in the natural light, laying them side by side, checking their textures to make sure I get exactly two alike to marry. And then the disappointment and mounting frustration of the stray socks.

I’ve noticed that I have more and more of these since I got two dogs……hmmmmm…….someday I’ll find a bounty of black under my fridge. I’m sure of it.

A few words in support of controlled substances. We’ve all been given them whether it was for wisdom teeth removal, super bad cramps, minor surgery. They put you in a kind of fog……you really don’t care much, you sleep often, your motor skills are delayed, your speech a bit slurred. The warning about operating heavy equipment is to be heeded.

I read somewhere (on the internet so it had to be true) that these meds may get in the way of your recovery. Because, well, you CAN’T operate heavy equipment while taking them so how will I ever get back to work? There’s always one zealot in the crowd that says “Drugs are bad.”

So on Tuesday I decided to stop taking my pain meds. After all, the pain wasn’t that bad and I could not accept the doctor’s “sentence” of six weeks to recovery. I was on day five and thought I was going to go crazy. There are only so many movies you can watch. So many reruns of Chopped and House Hunters International. I had trouble walking across the room I was so groggy. I was sleeping all the time. LAZY. I’m a doer. I’m not a couch potato.

Big mistake. The pain got ahead of me. I was no longer in control. And fight as you might, when your body says “You are going to slow down bitch because you have just had major surgery” your mind will lose that battle.

Today I am back in the fog. I am going to embrace this sabbatical by exercising my mind. My dear friend Matt Davis sent me the book Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. I’ve been told I’m a very creative person. This book is basically a guide to honing that skill and becoming an Olympic Gold Medalist in creativity.

I’m only on chapter three but one of the things the books reveals is this: creativity or the “Aha!” moments that spark innovation happen during idle times. Not when you are surrounded by data, in a basement meeting room with flip charts on the wall, fluorescent lights hissing, bad coffee pouring and some facilitator’s reminding you of the rules of brainstorming.

I’m going to blog my Aha moments – on drugs – in the fog. And then when I’m on the other side – we’ll see if we have something.

Stay tuned and stay on drugs!

 

I was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital (nicknamed by the locals St. Victims) for major surgery last Friday. They have a surgery check-in entrance. It was lovely. Very New Mexican architecture, clean, nice music, good lighting – which was important because it was 6am and I was instructed to not wear any make-up. Everyone that is having any kind of surgery that day is queued up with a number. I was assigned lucky number 13. Not kidding.

I was by far the youngest person in the surgery waiting room. You could tell the outpatients by their giant parking passes. Lucky number 13 didn’t get a parking permit – I was there for three days.

They called my number and I went back to the surgery prep area. Eventually all the waiting room people were separated by curtains as we disrobed, donned our gowns that tie in the back, our booties and hats. We met our nurses, our anesthesiologists, and finally our surgeons. Any questions? Nope. Number 13 was ready to go. The actual surgery room was very clean – they had rock music playing – dare i say it was festive? Let’s do this. I knew, from all my friends that have had surgery that you won’t remember a thing beyond those first seconds so just breathe deep and go.

Recovery room – like a bad dream – coming out of a fog writhing in pain. The first question they ask, on a scale from 1 to 10 how bad is the pain? I gave it an 8. I got a big shot of morphine. Back in the fog.

Coming out of the fog again and this time I was in another world. Another building. Another planet. I was in the bowels of St. Victims. Actually I was in the maternity ward – which is ironic since I was in there for a complete abdominal hysterectomy. My doctor was kind enough to arrange a private room – so she put me in maternity because apparently St Victims wasn’t birthin’ no babies last week-end.

There was a tiny television anchored too high on the wall. There were two vinyl chairs for guests – one with a giant rip down the center. The hospital bed was ridiculous. They showed me how to work the controls (up and down buttons). Some idiot built these to rest on the side of your elbow. So let’s all do this together. Lay down and pretend you’re in a twin size bed. Oh, and you have no abdominal muscles – and you need to sit up – now tweak your arm around so you can press a button that is resting up against your elbow. Go on. I’ll wait.

For the first 24 hours I was on an IV with a morphine pump. They handed me a Wii like control and when the light was green I could push it and get a nice rush of drugs. It took about 10 minutes for the light to go green again. For hours this is what I waited for. Death grip on the controls – and push – ahhhhh……

Day Two: I haven’t eaten anything for two days. Only water. But I have no appetite. Plus, the cliche’ about hospital food started at St Victims. They brought me in my prison tray last around 6:00. A black tray with a black plastic mug of broth (instant cuz i saw the gooey powder residue in the bottom) a plastic cup of green jell-o (every kids favorite) a banana popsicle, slightly melted, hot tea and apple juice (also in a plastic jell-o cup with a foil lid). I passed. They brought in the same tray for breakfast but the tea was iced. No thanks.

Then it happened. So quickly I barely remember it. A very large nurse, no smiles, almost like this was the favorite part of her day, said, “Okay, the IV needs to come out'” Before I knew it, her large girth was squashing my belly as she ripped the tape off my arm and unleashed my morphine. This is where I met Nurse Mean Jean. My keeper. Gulp.

I was no longer in control of my pain management. I had to rely on this person to a.remember what to give me when and b. care enough to actually do it.

Let’s just say she possessed neither quality. Now my new button was the nurse button. Conveniently located next to the up and down bed buttons – see paragraph six above.

On one occasion it took three times to get her in there. This was about 1 in the morning. She was probably napping. She hobbled in, had three different pills to give me and they all came in the hermetically sealed blister packs. As she was opening the third it popped out and dropped on the floor. She grunted as she bent over to pick it up and I saw her wipe it off on her pants and hand it to me. I hesitated for a moment and then thought about the repercussions of refusing this pill. It’s like sending your meal back with a surly waitress in a restaurant.. Only at this restaurant I have to stay the night and guess what? I can’t go to the bathroom without Nurse MJ. So I took the pill.

I know, right? I weighed the options. Take it, get some horrible disease and get back on morphine or take it, nothing bad happens and I get to go home the next day alive.

This my friends is why you don’t send pills back in the hospital. Just take your medicine.

This morning I was laying in bed, listening to the relentless rain, making a mental checklist of all I had to accomplish in the next 24 hours. I’m in the middle of the 23rd move of my adult life. And hopefully my last. Why so many moves? Job changes, life changes, partner changes….bad choices, bad juju. It’s no wonder my favorite costume for Halloween was a gypsy.

This is the first time I have EVER held a garage/moving sale. Normally I would haul the stuff to Goodwill but this move is different. Mark and I are finally combining our two homes into one. Our vacation home in Cochiti will officially become our permanent residence! Yahooo!

So – it’s time to really purge. Both houses are fully furnished. We have two of everything essential.  The Cochiti house also has the distinction of being the smallest house we have lived in. Just 1234 square feet on two floors. I love this challenge. Most moves you grab a box, open a cupboard or a drawer or closet and start packing. This move I have three boxes. Toss. Sell. Move.

Donation has a built in anonymity that prevents your brain from going to the place of “Do you think anyone would really buy this?” And for the most part, the stuff I’m going to sell I purchased. I paid retail. What does that say about me? Nevertheless, I’m not sure anyone would buy my inflatable palm trees with coconut bra. We’ll see.

Moving is both humbling and introspective. Here are the things I am learning about me:

1. I am a hoarder. Not like the Buried Alive freak show – but there are some things I have a difficult time throwing away. My obsession? Mark refers to it as my “lotions and potions” cabinet. When I travel I have to bring home the little soaps, shampoos, bath gels from the hotel. When I buy make-up it’s ONLY when they are having a give-away with purchase. Consequently I have a bounty of tiny bottles of foundation, moisturizer, the wrong color lipsticks and Barbie size eye shadow kits. Can’t throw them away. Oh, and you know how your big bottle of shampoo always runs out before your equally big bottle of conditioner? I stow the half empty conditioner bottles. Then there’s the graveyard of make-up purchases gone wrong. Usually it’s an impulse at a drug store and the eye shadow is too glittery, the lipstick too orange, the stick blush (bad idea). And then there’s wrong product – mousse that smells weird, hairspray that is too sticky, hair gel that was meant for a mohawk only. I keep them all. It’s not their fault they came home with me. I picked them up.

Yesterday I got a construction strength black garbage bag, took a deep breath and tossed it all. Used make-up is not something you give away or sell. It’s too personal – like underwear. And those little hotel bottles – most of them were so old they turned weird colors. I have no product back-up. No in case of emergency use this crap make-up. I am aesthetically flying without a net! For the first time in my life. It feels good.

2. I was born to sell. Setting up this garage/moving sale has been the opposite of a chore. Maybe it’s my marketing background or the fact that my dream job growing up was to do the window displays for Nordstrom. I have four tables and I’ve set them up (decorated them really) by themes. Mark and I love to entertain, and when we lived in Seattle we threw some epic theme parties. But now we really don’t have the room for all of our party props. One of my tables reflects our Tacky Tiki phase. Complete with ukelele, Tiki cups of all colors, even a kleenex dispenser of a Tiki god – you pull the tissue from his nostril. Really quality stuff.

Last night we invited family and friends over for wine and an early showing (taking – not buying). My sister-in-law complimented me by saying “Oh my god this is the most gorgeous garage sale I’ve ever seen!”

Our sneak preview night revealed a few things I must be prepared for with the general public.

1. The iPad has rendered many garage sale items obsolete. CDs, books, board games, cookbooks, televisions, VCRs, DVD player. It’s almost like I’m Borders trying to liquidate my assets.

2. You have to explain some purchases.

Q: “Why do you have a bathroom towel set that is dry clean only?”

A: “We were staging our Seattle house and I got them on-sale-on-sale at TJ Maxx”

Q: “Why are you selling all of your lawn tools, including your mower?”

A: “We are moving to the desert.”

3. You have to be okay with people not liking/wanting your stuff. Case in point, I cannot believe that not one of my friends/family scooped up my “bag-o-bags!” Possible hoarder obsession number two.

Tomorrow the public comes. It’s predicted to rain all day. I’m going to serve hot coffee and play nice music. I’m going to be prepared for people dickering. I’m going to let go.

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