four-year texaversary!

Can you believe it’s been four years since I moved to Texas? I have to celebrate this every year because it simultaneously feels like I’ve lived here a lifetime and a week.

This year in Texas…

I voted in Texas. Not that it really counted for much, but hey!

I ate mountains of queso and tacos. And Takis. And avocados. And the cucumber lime Gatorade that I love so much.

We hosted a bunch of friends on our air mat and couch. If you love Mexican food and warm weather, make your reservation today!

Some friends met us for wine walks, and we pretended to like wine.

We explored some suburbs (ok, like three of them, but we tried).

Josh and I visited Amarillo to hike Palo Duro Canyon. That felt very Texan.

I did spend some weekends in Dallas, at least I think I did?

dennis and michelle visit

Dennis and Michelle visited us this weekend and we ate and drank our way around Dallas. I think I now need a cleanse. Whenever Josh and I crossed the threshold of lapsing into our non-public weird selves, they would step up their game and raise their freak flags just a litttttle higher.

I’m not sure we stopped talking, laughing or singing the whole time they were in town. Josh and Dennis played some Tom Petty for us when we decided we’d rather hang out than pay to see him in concert. Both nights we stayed at our apartment and listened to music while catching up.  Sometimes the best use of time is hanging on the couch. We roughed out an idea for The 2016 Election: The Musical! (Dibs on the KellyAnne Conway bit part.) We showed them TopGolf and the JFK museum. Michelle and I swapped a bunch of book recommendations and we got caught up on each others’ travels.

On Saturday, we kicked off the taco crawl wish Josh’s homemade breakfast tacos. Then had Torcy’s for lunch and Taco Dinner for dinner. So much queso.

We finally figured out the shows when we met (I met Michelle in Hello Dolly and Dennis during Joseph, we think) and discussed our dream roles. Thank you, Whitecliff Summer Playhouse. It’s kinda great how we all knew each other as individuals before we became couples. Maybe that’s part of the reason we all get along so well? Or maybe we’re just nerds who might break out into the same song at any minute.

Some of the tacos from the great taco crawl of 2017. 

things i want to tell you at 5:40am

I get my best ideas late at night and first thing in the morning. It’s like my bed radiates some powerful energy- the closer I am, the better and clearer my ideas are. Pretty sure I’m on to something here.

Since I rise to greet the day at 5:15am these days, no one wants to chat. I save all the texts I want to send until 7:30 or 8. That’s a lifetime.

At bedtime, I lay there and tell Josh all my deepest, darkest hopes and dreams. Then he rolls over and lovingly says, “Are you done? I’m really tired.”

If you were awake with me, here’s what I’d tell you.

Just when I get into the nitty gritty trip details, I realize that a week is not a long enough time to spend in Peru. I would say the same thing if we were staying three months. There are so many things I’d like to cram in and who knows when or if I’ll ever get back? Will said the same thing last night, but it’s a little late to change our plans now.

Country music has been particularly rough lately. I used to be a casual listener, but woooooof. Occasionally I bop over to one of my country presets only to be disappointed. It’s always better in the summer, so maybe there are better tunes on the horizon?

I finally finished my little video for our trip to Cuba. It makes me laugh, we had a blast.

Last night as I finished my book and was ready to go to bed, my bedside lamp turned off. Either the bulb burned out at the EXACT right time or we have a ghost. We’re the first people to live in our unit, so the only reasonable explanation is that our building was constructed on an Indian burial ground.

Everyone keeps telling me about new podcasts that I really need to listen to. The problem is I have a huge backlog of old ones taking up precious space on my phone. So little time, so much listening. How do you keep up?

My hair is getting long. It’s getting heavy too. Whenever I put in a ponytail I have to find a sweet spot on my scalp that doesn’t hurt. This is the universe whipering in my ear, “Get a haircut.”

Happy *almost* weekend.

chase daniel golf tourney

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a golfer, but I’m a fan of the idea. I’m also a fan of volunteering at golf tournaments, I guess.

A couple Fridays ago, I spent a day doing photos and video for the Mizzou fundraiser in Dallas. Josh and Brandon played, while I bopped around on a golf cart drinking beer and filming on my GoPro.

Some former football players played the tournament. I was impressed with how nice and accommodating they were while I was filming. Some of them had douchey reputations, but that wasn’t the case.

I wish I could color balance it better. iMovie doesn’t give me a ton of options with that, or maybe I’m doing it wrong. Our GoPro doesn’t have a view finder or a screen, so filming is a little bit of a crap shoot. I’m getting better at figure out how close to get and how wide the picture is.

My computer is full of clips from Sanibel Island and Cuba, so those are next on my to do list. I need to find some time to get them done before Peru, not to mention the three new library books and training for a four day hike. If you don’t see me until May, you know why.

pile on

As an airline employee, it’s hard to miss the unfortunate story about the guy getting ejected from a United plane. It’s unfortunate for the guy who was bleeding and being yanked against his will. Working in social media, it’s equally unfortunate for the airline who was following procedure (offer comp and then call security) to deal with all the backlash.

No one is worried about the actual details after seeing the video.

We all know it’s not indicative of any company’s temperament or treatment of customers. This was one uncooperative person who was chosen after an unfortunate series of events, including the last-minute rerouting of a crew resulting in an oversell. This is an industry standard and happens all the time. This time one guy didn’t cooperate and security got involved. They shouldn’t have been so rough. That was bad.

It’s certainly not typical. We know that. We know that.

But thanks to 24-hour news and social media, we’re piling on. We share and comment and like and chirp. I’m guilty, heck, I’m writing about this on my blog.

It’s not just the internet though. This weekend I was at a wedding shower and someone voiced their concern about the risks of miscarriage and how she knew a lot of people lately that had one. Immediately everyone piled on, everyone knew someone or had one themselves.

While I’m all about any excuse for people, especially women, to share openly about taboo topics, are we truly supporting each other or just dogpiling? The person who was the center of the conversation was talking about a healthy pregnancy, so all the chatter felt negative and unnecessary considering the circumstances. I felt that at the time, but my sister put her finger on it during the drive home.

As I spend my time trudging through the unactionable responses and “me toos” at work, I’m reminding myself to not be part of the problem IRL.

Havana, Cuba

Working for an airline gives a gal the travel bug. It’s a big company full of passionate travelers, so it’s easy for me to get swept up in planning my next trip. We just started offering service to Cuba in December and some coworkers came back raving. I planned a trip with my work wives and our significant others to spend a weekend in Havana.

I know that seems like a really short trip, but we went 100mph, so it didn’t feel too short. Our group covered a lot of ground in 48 hours. Since Cuba is still developing its tourism infrastructure, we found the balance between not enough to do and missing out on stuff. Of course I could have spent a month there, I say that about every place we go (except Amarillo), but two days was great.

At the airport we changed some cash to cuban pesos and taxied to Hemingway’s Cuban house called Finca  La Vigia. The house was cool, but they had a tent set up with a Cuban band and a bartender that got our trip started on the right foot. Mike had been before and he was livid they didn’t make some sugar cane drink he liked, but we made do.

I managed to negotiate with our taxi driver to stay while we hung out and take us back to town for our dinner reservations. Don’t say those 7.5 years of Spanish were for nothing. I used my Spanish pretty often on the trip- it’s not pretty, but it gets the job done.  Also, the taxi driver slowed down three times to lean out the window to ask someone for directions. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary, I love that.

I read we needed reservations since the good, private restaurants were small and filled up fast. We didn’t run into that problem, but it didn’t hurt. Everything in Cuba is pretty small and old timey, especially the streets, bars and restaurants.  From what I read and saw, not much has been updated in the last sixty years. You can feel the charm and the sadness of a place that’s old and full of history but wasn’t well-kept. I don’t know enough about the political situation to have a strong opinion, but the people didn’t seem any more poor than any of the other Latin American countries I’ve seen. Besides two signs that said “Viva Fidel,” there weren’t any blatant signs   or propaganda that they didn’t live in a democracy.

One of the perks of Cuba’s isolation, if we can call it that, was the cars. I won’t pretend to know anything about what I saw except that they were painted in the most fun colors and kept in pristine condition. After dinner the first night we did a tour of Havana in old convertibles from 1950. Our drivers took us around town pointing out where the fort was, the hotel Beyonce and the Obamas stayed at and showed us the river where they practice religious rituals, which included smacking the believer with a dead chicken. They drove us along the Malecon, a long seawall that kept the ocean off the sidewalk and the highway. Every couple minutes a powerful wave would break over the top and soak anyone on the sidewalk. We ended with drinks at the touristy bar at Hotel National, where Al Capone used to stay.

We finally taxied to our Airbnb (half of us in a Hyundai and half of us in a Model T),  which was super fancy. The hotels are scant and expensive in Havana right now. When we arrived the woman who let us in and showed us around started in on a barrage of Spanish at a terrifying pace. My eyes widened and I forgot every verb tense and vocabulary word I’d ever heard. She read my face and slowed down, using a lot of hand motions. We figured it out.

They made us breakfast in the morning with all the delicious native fruit and what we now call Cuban toast. It crunched like a crouton, but wasn’t stale or burnt. Truly magic. We took a taxi (this time a pickup truck with a hard shell and two benches facing each other in the back) to the Museo de Revolucion.  The museum lived in the palace, which was my favorite part about it. They translated about half of the displays to English, but we didn’t know much about the revolution it’s self, so we all pledged to read up on Wikipedia when we got back.

From the Museo we found Juan, who gave us a walking tour of Old Havana. He lived in Miami and Montana for a bit, so his English was excellent and he loved showing us all the non-touristy places. He took us for mojitos at Hemingway’s favorite bar, Dos Hermanos. Juan showed us all the town squares, pointed out historical places, arranged a surprise carriage ride (free of charge) and filled us in on the culture from their love of women to the lack of internet. Eventually he found us a local lunch place and hooked us up with his friend who sold discount (but legit, he assured us) Cuban cigars.

We poked around the flea market and got pina colodas served in pinas at on the rooftop bar at Hotel Ambros Mundos.  After the full day, we taxied back to the airport (in boring cars) to spend our last pesos on warm canned beer and head back to the USA.

I don’t think photos do the color and the warmth of Cuba justice, but here goes.

 

 

making the most of your routine

This piece about morning routines in Lenny cracked me up this week.

The writer laughs at how hungry we are to improve. If I start my day just right or maximize my downtime, I can squeeze in just a liiiiiiiiiiittle more. Click bait lures us in with promises of our most productive year ever! more time for creative fun! healthy eating made easy!

But really, nothing like that is easy. And moreover, it’s not a competition.

Getting up early to exercise is rough. So is being healthy. Same goes for getting more work done-you have to do more work. There’s no simple secret to success.

Find out what works for you, then get comfortable saying no to things that don’t work for you.

If you’re not a morning person, why fight it? I’m not good at binge watching TV, it’s not for me. I know that seems inconsequential, but sometimes I feel left out.  I have to remember that I don’t need to keep up with every show ever. Instead, I enjoy the ones I like and quit watching ones that become a chore. No one is paying me to finish season two of Narcos, (if they were I would suck it up and watch it).

Being healthy and hygienic is important, but there are a million ways to do both. For example, you can brush your teeth or use mouthwash to get rid of germs and have minty fresh breath that your coworkers appreciate. You can run 15 miles a week or walk to work or you can go to zumba.

Do your thing.

Steve Jobs wore a black turtleneck every day. That’s not me and it’s okay. Taylor Swift goes to Soul Cycle. I do not. Pierce your eyebrow and get knuckle tattoos! I’ll pass. The best part is I don’t have to do that stuff. Turtlenecks, Soul Cycle and knuck tats don’t hurt anyone. They don’t discount anyone’s person, they are not there to make me feel unkempt, out of shape or uncool. Instead of learning to love something, I’m opting out and not feeling guilty.

I see people doing incredible things and sometimes I have to remember that it’s not a competition. Some of my friends run marathons and half marathons. They love the training and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing the finish line. I’m not great at running and 13+ miles doesn’t sound fun. That said, I can still celebrate those who love it. When friends talk about their mileage, I can congratulate and encourage instead of interjecting how I don’t like running more than 3 miles. No one is challenging me to race.

I love to read, but it’s ok if you don’t. I love to travel, but I get it if it stresses you out and you need a routine. I want to listen to Lemonade while I’m in the shower, it’s ok if you prefer 1989.

As my wise friend Amy says…

sanibel biker chicks

This past weekend Julie, my mom and I met in Ft. Meyers for some sunshine and to check out Sanibel Island. My mom heard it had incredible seashells and bike rentals; it didn’t disappoint.

We checked out Ft. Meyers Beach on Thursday evening where we had DQ Blizzards for dinner. Julie and my mom are some of the only other people that share my belief that ice cream is an acceptable meal.

All day on Friday we rented bikes and cruised Sanibel Island. Luckily, the island is flat and covered in paths. We still think we put in around 25 miles between 9am and 5pm. We saw alligators (and some birds, snore) at Ding Darling Conservation area, then checked out the beach. The rest of the afternoon we picked out our vacation homes and then bopped in and out of little shops along the main drag. It’s a cute place with an adorable library and Whitney’s Bait Shop.

Just in time for sunset, we drove to Captiva Island to catch a drink on the beach at the Mucky Duck. Julie, our resident dolphin spotter saw some jumping. It was more beautiful than a Lisa Frank trapper keeper.

On Saturday before leaving we visited The Edison and Ford Winter Estates. They displayed Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s next door neighbor vacation homes, discussed their accomplishments, family and genius. The grounds were beautifully kept and on a breezy March day, it made you really want a vacation home in Ft. Meyers.

For the record, we did eat some seafood. Lil’ video to come.

happy international women’s day

I didn’t know what I wanted to do

but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.

-Diane Von Furstenberg

 

I attended our company’s annual women’s conference and feel refreshed from being surrounded by a room full of people who care. Today we celebrate women.

Women who remember birthdays, anniversaries and accomplishments

Women who bring in cookies and organize the office Christmas party

Women who have been told no, but still show up

Women who are told they “look like interns” even though they’ve worked here for years

Women who organize vacations and trips to the movies

Women who share community through group messages

Women who celebrate with you, even when they don’t benefit directly

Women who aren’t trusted because they are too focused, driven

Women who plan meals and pack snacks

Women who read ahead and sit in the front row

Women who are called b*tches for getting things done

Women who are constantly asked when they are going to get married and how soon are kids coming

Women who hear “I’ll need to talk to your manager” before even opening their mouths

Women who are called names online for being too pretty or not pretty enough

Women who wear what they want no matter what magazines say flatters their “body type”

Women who shout out the incredible women around them

civility, esp at FedEx

My company hosted our annual rally on Monday to celebrate our accomplishments and kick off another year. We heard from our execs in a couple of TED talk-like speeches. They poured us another serving of the kool aid, then fed us from food trucks. Most of it we’ve heard before over and over: teamwork, improvement, service, so on and on. One of the new topics our CEO addressed for the first time was civility. He wanted our brand to shine as a beacon of openness and respect.

That seems crushingly obvious. Of course we should be civil. Our parents taught us that from day one. It makes me a little sad that we have to say that out loud. Don’t forget to be civil!  Treat people with respect and be polite. Duh.

At times like these, I guess there aren’t enough reminders. I’m proud to be part of a company that not only preaches, but our leaders at the very top practice it too.

After getting a pulled pork grilled cheese and my complimentary beer, I headed to the FedEx store to send my sister something. The guy two in front of my threw a FIT at the counter. If you don’t think adults can lose their cool in front of other adults in public, well you didn’t have my college roommate freshman year. The rest of us in the store shared glances, that said, I can’t believe he’s acting like that. The customer yelled at the guy working the register and left him with some choice words before stomping off. As he left the store, I caught sight of his polo. Turns out we work together and there’s a 80% chance he just came from a talk about civility too.

When I got to the register, I apologized for the jerk’s behavior. The guy working shrugged it off and then asked if I was going to want the corporate discount too. I said yes and pulled out my badge. He said, “We only offer it until 7pm, that’s why that guy was mad.”

I nodded and asked him to price it without the discount, just to see. If it was substantial, I’d just come back in the morning. It was, so I asked what time they opened. He looked at me and said he’d honor the discount. It was clearly my first time and I didn’t know (not true and true).

I thanked him 15 times and he wrote his name and employee number on the receipt next to the feedback line. You better believe I called to let FedEx know that he handled an irate customer professionally and he was extra nice to me.

Working with customers all day can be draining, especially after I let a rotten apple or two get under my skin. It’s funny how the next person to treat me like a human I want to bend over backwards to please.

Karma isn’t fool proof, but sometimes she pays out. Being a civil adult, even when you don’t get exactly what you want, should be an expectation. That guy was not Beyonce, no one is on his payroll to honor old coupons or make exceptions to the rules. I don’t think Beyonce would do that either, it’s bad for the brand.