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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Settling

Peanut and I are settling in at home after a crazy wonderful whirlwind month!

I've got him restocked on food supplies and he has practically slept off all the exhaustion from keeping tabs on grandpa and grandma constantly. He seems awfully tired! He must have had a wonderful vacation too.

I'm getting over my post sales conference cold quickly thanks to the power of zinc and Nyquil. Tomorrow I may even pick up a few groceries for the first time this month.

I've got big plans to to decorate for fall this weekend so I can get out the warmer blankets. I've also noticed that the long-neglected yard may finally require a little attention.

It's just the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oktoberfest!

Oh what fun there is to be had at Oktoberfest!

I hauled my Rabbi friend North with me. We both had the sickies, but after a Friday of zincing it up, we bravely faced parade day with only beers in hand. And brats. And other german treats I can't pronounce, but enjoyed thoroughly.

We had a great time catching up with the radio (and former) radio folks. We bopped back and forth between them and my friend, Kohlrabi, on the other side of the street. This is where the annual trunk photo was snapped.

We floated along like fall leaves on a crisp breeze, landing finally at the fest grounds with leaves in our hair and gyros in our tummies. We bundled up as the sun set and the temperatures dropped. We managed to get in some visiting with friends and family and witnessed a glorious Ring of Fire by the Jim Busta Band.

As we trudged back through downtown on our way home, I noticed it was 830. It had been a full day of fun and we were done! All of us were sound asleep before midnight dreaming of drinking gloves and Oktoberfest flair to share next year. Magical.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interesting Turn Of Events

Something interesting has been happening. It used to be that I had a lot of anxiety related to our annual sales conference. As a matter of fact, this time last year I was probably blogging about it. But this year was absolutely fantastic. Best sales conference ever.

I think there are a lot of contributing factors. Most obviously that this is my eighth conference, I've worked for two markets, and I just know more of the people then I did five years ago. That always puts me at ease. I find myself being much less introverted.

Also, just the experiences I've had over the last two years have forced me outside of my comfort zone and given me plenty of opportunities to work on some of my issues. Picking up and moving to another state was a big deal. Having nobody to call on for entertainment, I made my own and found out I am capable of a lot more on my own than I would have previously given myself credit for. I surprised myself even more in Florida on my recent loner vacation. I just keep building my confidence.

And last, but certainly not least, I have fantastic coworker friends! I had a full car of girls and we had the most fun on the road. The travel was enjoyable, our training together was good, and we had fun, fun, fun. I work with some pretty fantastic people! We're back and excited to kick some butt this year!

Monday, September 19, 2011

On The Road Again

And I'm back on the road for our annual sales conference.

We're off to a slam bam start. We arrived Saturday early enough to hit up the water park. I played like we were five years old and it was fantastic. Once our entire market arrived, we dined at Buffalo Phil's. We decided it must be a distant relative of Buffalo Bill...possibly a second cousin...twice removed. It was delightful. After a quick rubber snake in the bed prank everyone retired for the evening early.

Sunday was our first day of training and thanks to a new shorter sessions format, the day just flew by. Before I knew it we were winning the presentation award for our market's effective advertising campaign. And then it felt like moments before I was tackled to the ground off my bar stool. Pretty sure my hip was broken. I'm starting to feel that now.

All in all, it has been wonderful. And there is plenty more fun to be had.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last Hurrah

On my final day in paradise I planned to get up early to enjoy breakfast with the married couple before they hit the road for a cruise departing from Miami. I ended up saying goodbyes after their breakfast and before mine.
Being the last of the crew left behind, I finished my breakfast and headed out to the beach for one more dip in the warm Gulf waters. As I sat on the beach letting the morning sun dry my swimsuit, a gaggle of birds flew over and said their goodbyes as well.
I packed up my beach bag one more time and headed back to my room to finish packing my bags, load them in my Dodge Avenger, and complete my checkout by eleven.
I drove the length of the island, past Lovers Key State Park, through Bonita Springs, and on to one last adventure in Naples. My aim was an antique mall, but I got sidetracked by a Whole Foods store I wanted to check out. I picked up a couple super tasty snack bars for my eventual day of airport travel and continued on my antiquing way.
My navigator led me right to nothing. I couldn't find the antique mall I had been looking for, but after a few trips around the block and down nearby streets, I laid my eyes on another antique store and settled for that.
I was drawn immediately to the front corner of the store after it caught my eye from the street. It had a lot of 50s/60s items and beautiful furniture. I wished I lived closer so I could take a piece of that furniture home with me, but I knew I had to look for something much smaller. I browsed the entire store with my eyes scanning for something of the Florida variety. I really wanted a treasure that would remind me I found it in Florida.
After a sweep of the whole store, I made my way back to that first corner and almost immediately I noticed a white ceramic flamingo I had obviously missed before. It was love at first sight. I picked it up and marched it over to the counter for a thorough wrapping.
Wrapped in my beach towel and clothing, it nestled into my carry-on for a long and thankfully safe journey home. It makes me smile everyone I catch a glimpse of it on my mantle. We could all use a little more beach in our everyday lives!





Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunday Funday

Sunday was a winding down day. Friends began to go their separate ways. Some headed off towards Orlando early in the day. Those of us that remained hit up the pier and the shops for a little funday.

I enjoyed creamy strawberry cheesecake ice cream down by the pier. I purchased a few little things in the shops and resisted the temptation to buy any of the cute purses or bags.

Then we drove to Sanibal island for a little exploration. We saw a less than spectacular lighthouse, perused shells on the beach, and hunted for fancy glassware in the shops and wildlife at the refuge. And one of us even saw a flamingo (not me).

After returning to the hotel, I burned up a little of my rental car gas shuttling to the airport and secondary hotels. I returned to my room after dark and spent the evening getting my suitcases back in order and then lounging on my balcony under the bright moonlight.

It was a perfectly glorious day followed by a fantastically relaxing evening.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Big Day

Saturday was the big day! I spent my day on the beach and accompanying friends on a parasailing adventure. Free boat ride for me! Then we rented boogie boards for quality Gulf floating.

When all the sand was rinsed off, I traipsed back out to the beach for the wedding! It was HOT in the afternoon sun, but quite breezy and ultimately lovely.

The reception followed at Doc Fords with an outdoor dinner and even a live band. How lucky was that? They even got a first dance and everything. The dancing continued at The Beached Whale with a 90s cover band and topped off with rooftop drinks.

Probably the best wedding I've ever been to. Hands down.

My Pelican Friends

With a little alone time I ventured to the pier where I found my first pelican friend. There was a storm rolling in, so our time together was brief.

Back at the Shell, I ended up joining the post rehearsal dinner party for a little drinky drinky and cards. These folks are just as goofy as pelicans, but a whole lotta fun!

I found myself in great company.

Pontoon Get Together

Upon arrival in Florida, I rented a car and set my GPS for the Pink Shell in Fort Myers Beach. I met up with some of the other wedding guests at the hotel bar and ventured into town for a few more drinks after the gigantor mosquitoes chased us away.

Friday I spent most of the day with the rest of the wedding folks out on a pontoon boat. It was a glorious day for boating and floating. We performed a little shell seeking on a beach on the Gulf and then spent the rest of our time floating along the beach in the strong current.

Funsies! I did get a little too much sun right out of the gates, though.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Paradise

I've been soaking in every drop of paradise. I wish this picture had turned out better, but it will have to do because my phone battery died and it was my last sunset on the Gulf...for this trip anyhow. I'm already plotting my return.

La sigh... My bags are all repacked.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hop Hop

So I worked late Wednesday even though I said there was no way I was going to work late. I planned to hop on over to the West side of town to do a little shopping after work, so a couple of hours later it was 830 and I was finally rolling into my driveway.

I hit the ground running to get all packed up, but it took a lot longer than I anticipated. I kept thinking of things I needed to do. I was definitely scattered!

I wrote out some bills, took out the trash, and layed out my clothes for the early alarm. I snuggled into my soft bed about 1230. I clicked on my guided meditation and tried to let all of the little thoughts and to-do lists ease out of my head like the air from a day-old birthday party balloon.

So relaxed.... Deep sleep...

A little too deep. I slept through both alarms set for 3. At 4 I practically lept from my bed. I had planned to leave by 4, but by some miraculous unicorn pixie dust power I rolled out of the driveway onto the dark street at 415.

By 540 the security guard at BMI was joking with me about my shoe scan (I was still not awake enough to get the subtle humor of airport security folk). I glided up the escalader, made a pit stop in the restrooms, and boarded my flight.

And here I am in Chicago for the morning to people watch and wait for my plane. I'm just a hop, skip, and a jump from a beach in Florida!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lilly Paddin'

I've landed back home momentarily after a whirlwind holiday weekend. Peanut is delivered safe and sound to his vacation villa in northern Trempealeau. I miss him already.

After a severe stomach bug attack to end my otherwise perfectly acceptable weekend, I'm happy to say I'm feeling better finally. My return was delayed and so was the pile of work waiting for me.

I'm super pumped to cram it all in tomorrow along with all of tomorrow's work, and the work to prep for my vacation. That's the way I roll. Because in less than two days I'll find myself hoppin' on over to a beach to let the sound of the ocean wash away any excess stress.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day Late And A Dollar Tired

It's late. It's too late. And I'm so tired.

If only my motivation would strike earlier in the evening. I did really well right after I got home. I picked my one pepper and prepared it for freezing. I washed and froze juicy strawberries, plump blueberries, vibrantly green asparagus, and meat, meat, and more meat.

Luckily I was prepping dinner in the process because I hit my energy wall and had to break for food. I made asparagus with garlic and a garlic pepper encrusted steak. Did I mention I love garlic? Then I sliced up a cucumber for tomorrow's snack and cooked meat to haul to work and on the road.

So the fridge is all cleaned out, trash is out, and my bright red suitcase is bursting at the seams after I got my second wind! I'm mostly all prepared for the first of my September getaways. I just need to work my tail off tomorrow so I can get out of the office early and join the rest of the suckers on the highways and byways for the holiday weekend. It has been a long time since I headed North on 55. I can hardly wait!

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