Flashback circa 2006 – Florida

It isn’t so much that I was a literary genius back when I was rambling on-live without focus,  before I knew it was called blogging.  But like any form of journal writing it is nice to see where you were, what ya thought and how those things looked back then.

This was one of the 4 week trips I took to Florida for work.  I usually am part of a team that will travel for 4-6 weeks to train a company we have purchased on the new software system and procedures for our company.  We spend 2 weeks training them one on one with the new software and then FLIP DA SWITCH “Go-Live” and support them for 2 weeks walking them through the actual application of all that training.  I remember this branch in Rockledge, Florida having a very positive attitude with a small crew of 5-6 to train.  One of  my New Hire training stories I use to this day, I experienced at this branch post Go-Live.

The Florida adventure:

It has been quite the LONG adventure to Florida for the last 7 weeks for work.  But the final outcome was more than I could have hoped for.  The branch I was working with had a fantastic Go-Live day and there was so many things that made that possible.  The great co-trainer I had, Katrina; the open to the important suggestions Branch Manager, Chris; and finally myself keeping enough checklists that I remembered to cover and recover almost EVERYTHING.  It was a great experience and I am truly blessed because the Branch Manager actually called my boss and asked me to stay an extra two weeks.  I didn’t end up staying, but I would have because this crew was such a good one to work with.

It was a long time away from my friends and psuedo family, but when I came home it was just as sweet.  The only down side was realizing I had left my own space in total chaos, so there is a lot of organizing and sorting to do.  Goodness I hope I get out from under all this mess soon.

So how am I doing… I think things are good.  I have at least four major work projects coming up and I am hoping and praying I don’t screw them up.  I am getting really good with my lists and lists.  I am trying to cut back on the caffeine, at least the mochas and the Dew.  Since my stay in Florida I am now drinking more water daily than I have most of my life.  I am gonna try to keep up the habit.  And I have pledged to be more thrifty in the next few months in an attempt to get a better handle on my finances.  I know its possible… just need to focus my attention.

Today’s Reflection: 

I have since sworn off Mochas in my daily life, am practicing a sugar-free life in my drinks (no more Mt. Dew), but I am back to struggling with the water.  For some reason I just can’t seem to get that part of my lifestyle into place.  I have DEFINITELY made progress on the financial front.  Come December of this year 2013, I will be FREE of my stupid Debt and only have my Student Loan (although HUGE) left to pay off.

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Flashback circa 2003

I created my first website in 2003, only to discover it was still OUT THERE this week.  So I decided to do some cut and paste to bring some of those fun reflections into my current media space.  No edits, no alterations:

My New England Adventure

I was jotting down some notes about life and progress and stuff and thought I would pass it along. It is very helpful to journal this way, I just wish I would do it more often. Please let me know how you are doing, especially some of you I haven’t heard from in a while. I’m beginning to think you have evaporated or SOMETHING.

CURRENT TRAVEL PLANS: I fly back to Seattle…Dec 20th Sat night. I’m soooooooooo ready to come back. It’s not the traveling or the hotel rooms or the being away from home. It’s just been a very stressful six weeks. I will be in Seattle: Sunday 21st, Monday 22nd Morning, and then drive down to Portland around noonish…I will be in Portland Tuesday night Dec 23rd for my birthday through Jan 2 (Unless I get sick or tired or stressed beyond measure). It will also depend upon who has time to visit or not and who has time for adventures. BUT MOST DEFINITELY give me a call at any time to talk or get together. ( I will have my cell, as always). I know holidays can be hectic, but I’d really like to connect with more of those of you in Portland that I have not be able to see the last couple of trips down.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE: For work, I have been working with a branch in Cranston, Rhode Island–About 20 minutes South of Providence, Rhode Island and 1 hour south of Boston, Massachusetts. This trip the weather interfered a little here and there. I wasn’t able to make it out to “THE CAPE” (in Massachusetts) as I wanted for the Christmas festivities due to my first ever “Nor’easter”. Then the pouring rain was called a “Sout’easter”, the rain I’m use to. It has been a trip and a half watching things quickly shift from fall/autumn colors to the “DRASTIC SHADES OF WINTER”. But I learned a lot and found New England quite charming on many different levels, but must confess there is A LOT more out here than just Martha Stewart should’s and suppose to’s.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–THANKSGIVING: I did make it to Plymouth Plantation and Plymouth Rock for Thanksgiving day. It was an AMAZING history lesson on the day of Thanksgiving, and I got stuck walking in the middle of a protest by our Native American friends. It’s good to hear the voice of the minority even if its shouting at you through a bull horn and surrounded by dozens of Massachusetts finest ( i.e. Police Officers).

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–BOSTON: My Dad came to visit for that weekend and it was tourist mania. We had dinner at the oldest restaurant–Union Oyster House. Then wandered around Downtown Boston for a while enjoying the lights and the INSANE roads that Boston has right now. Its CRAZY just CRAZY with all the construction down there. Its called THE BIG DIG a 20 yr highway project…What can I say, my Dad is a Discovery Channel nut so he shares with me ALL the knowledge. Also, in Boston we did the Fen way Park Tour which was definitely a Baseball fans dream tour. The absolute pinnacle was my Dad’s trip to the USS Constitution, where we got to go on board of the ship itself and then wander through the museum. Then I made him stay until they shot off the canon at the end of day.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–CONNECTICUT: On the Friday after Thanksgiving we got out of dodge to Connecticut…Mystic Seaport. Which is a great place. A couple of boats, a lighthouse, great little stores of old trades blacksmith, clam shack, time pieces, pub, etc. Course we also found my Dad’s nirvana…The Supermodel shack–Dozens of Tall Ship models put together over hours and hours of some of the most famous ships that have ever sailed. Then the dangerous wandering took place through the gift shop. We hit the all to East Coast FAMOUS “Foxwoods Casino” which definitely would have fit RIGHT in on the Vegas Strip.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–NEWPORT: We rounded out Sunday with a drive down to Newport, Rhode Island the Land of the richie riches–mansions that cost $35-45 just for a walking tour or to even drive through the circle driveway. The coast line is gorgeous, my dad and I got out of the car and wandered around the rocks and watched the waves crash and it was truly AMAZING to watch. I can really see WHY they are so proud of the coast, but I don’t know if I would go so far as to think that Rhode Island should be called “The Ocean State.” Now California, there is a state of 1/2 ocean. So who ever was handing out titles didn’t think too clearly about Rhode Island. The ocean is a blue sea and beautiful waves here in Newport and I can see how that would make me want to have a house here. But until I marry a “Gates, Trump, or Diesel” I won’t be seeing THAT kinda money anywhere but television. We also saw where the America’s Cup enthusiasts wander the streets and where the boats take up miles of space.

THE FOOD AROUND HERE: Every other block is an Italian restaurant almost as common as the Taco Bell’s in the NW. There is lots of seafood, steak, and variety, but Italian was definitely a dominating factor. Their pizza isn’t bad here ( I hate New York Pizza) but I’ve only had a slice or two from “THE PIZZA KING” gotta love the name. Also, there are actually hot dog restaurants you know WHOLE joints dedicated to JUST the sale of hot dogs, not hamburgers AND hot dogs, just hot dogs. It’s similar to how we have teriyaki fast food restaurants where there seems to be a little teriyaki joint in every strip mall. It’s truly amazing.
Did I mention the plague that is Dunkin’ Donuts around here? If I didn’t, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Imagine all the McDonalds Locations and Starbucks locations in Seattle, you know how frequent they are, how their locations just seem to poke a dot the map? Well that’s how it is here with Dunkin Donuts, Honey Dew Donuts, Krispee Kreme, and Ma/Pa Donut shops…THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. In the Northwest it seems that Donut Shops are a dying breed, that you only go there if you are desperate for a cheap cup of coffee and don’t care about taste OR if you have that random gotta have a donut (Homer Simpson craving) in the middle of the night. NOPE not HERE. In New England and most of the East coast, Dunkin Donuts is rivaling Starbucks for the shear VOLUME of LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Not just the where, but the how many blocks between. I begin to believe that people give out directions based upon how many Dunkin Donuts you pass to get somewhere.
Next food revelation, I have fallen in love with Sushi all over again. I found a place here in Warwick, RI–Haruki Inn–that is just a great Japanese and Sushi restaurant. I’ve had sushi in the past but it either wasn’t fresh or wasn’t a flavor I like or the texture was just eh, no biggie. I am glad its near the hotel because whenever I feel like a certain type of light dinner, the sushi sounds great and always feels good going down and I feel healthy after eating it. Who would have thought that Sushi is a good comfort food.

DATING LIFE: No Comment – But seriously, there is no activity on the dating front. I don’t mean no prospects, I mean No activity. Still asking for direction on the best place to go socialize and meet people in my own age group, with similar ideas on life, and compatible life goals, etc but until I figure that out there won’t be any activity that I forecast.

It’s Everything and Nothing ALL in one Post

So what does one write about when there is too much and not enough to write about all at the same time?  I have over 2 dozen half posts started, but not certain I have the energy or time to sort through the emotions and deep thought it takes to masterfully craft a creative post.  Then I was reminded of a friend of mine who says that a blog is supposed to be an account of what is happening now.  What are the things I am thinking now in the moment, kicking around the corners of the mind at this particular time.  And THEN I start to get overwhelmed with all the different things that are kicking around my mind.  So maybe in an attempt to find clarity and cohesive thought a list might be in order (yes I am a list maker, it has served me well over the years, so I do it often):

I am in Sacramento on a work trip, so there are all the TO DO’s wrapped around work, plus the stress of my boss arriving on Tuesday, Go-Live (where we change software systems), Political hub-bub that comes with Regional People on-site.  Being put on the spot for all challenges and issues and questions and hoping upon hoping I did a good enough job with the training that it KINDA sticks enough for the people to do their jobs… YEAH NO PRESSURE.

I am visiting friends and their 2 kids, which is fun but at times I feel I’m in the way, not knowing if I’m contributing enough or spending enough time with them since there are parts of my vacation that I like nothing more than truly being lazy and brain dead.  It has almost become a thanksgiving tradition to do nothing and accomplish nothing; but I don’t know if that is a throw back from my student days where I would half believe I would catch up on school work during these four days… all the while being pressured to just HAVE FUN or veg.

Financially, I made a serious boo boo and paid my bills, sounds harmless, but lets just say my reimbursement check may have been “processed” but my bank hasn’t seen it yet so it might as well not exist.  OOOPS Silly Dave Ramsey, getting me ALL excited about paying my bills.

Food is always a fun topic, but for some reason I just can’t quite get my emotions to tell me the truth.  One minute I’m in complete control and the next moment all I want is 5 kinds of fast food RIGHT NOW!!! I thought I survived Thanksgiving fine, because I didn’t do sweets and I thought I kept my portions relatively in check; but the scale corrected me and it was a heart wrenching, depressing blow to my ego.  As a result Friday sucked and Saturday isn’t looking much better.  Dang it why does food have to taste so good… all the wrong kinds.

Positive health note: I went for a 1.5 mile walk today and it was easy.  I used my rain coat because it decided to be a GLORIOUSLY rainy Oregon Day in Elk Grove.  But it made walking easy and I had lovely time and it wasn’t hard and I really TRULY enjoyed the time with the iPod and my “driving” mix.  Thank you Lisa for the INCREDIBLE idea of finding songs that make the body MOOOOOOVE!!! So for the record that would be 3 times I have exercised on this trip, which is more than I have done in over 5 months.  SO THERE TURKEY DAY!!! 😛

I have been doing my bible reading just about every day and even though it is not quite the emotional high I want it to be, I am doing it.  I have been reading my Divine Mentor book and keeping on track with the meetings and discussions.  I have been praying and taking quiet time with God and not letting the television run all my quiet time.  Although I have had to fight my chatty Kathy tendencies to make that quiet time exist also.

I am away from my new community and they are having all these fantastic events that I get to hear about through email, yet I am a whole state away.  I miss the interactions and laughter that spending time with them generates.  I am hoping that I will not be forgotten (insert fake sniffle here) and that when I return it will all be the same but different.

Finally, I have been conversing with my X (yes that would be an ex-boyfriend from over a ZILLION years ago).  It’s been a roller coaster of sorts, but for some reason I’m still engaged in conversations.  Some how some way were are bringing out the best and worst of each other during our conversations.  But the more we talk the better it gets, and just when I think this is it.  This is one more chance around the merry-go-round and I AM DONE, something cool happens and it changes.  Hmmm interesting.  Yet I think we have finally reached a more grounded friendship conversation style more focused around life and God and less about US and relationships.  THANK GOODNESS.

So there it is a post about everything and nothing all at the same time.  Enjoy!

Don’t Drive Angry – But Remember to Vote!!

Oh Yeah... Me Today!!!

So I have heard when you are angry that you are supposed to write the email, journal your thoughts, write a letter and THEN save to drafts folder, bury it in the deep dark corners of your private space, or hold onto it for a day.  All of this to protect you from saying things that you will later regret.  Does this keep true for blogging?  Is it ill-advised to blog while angry?  I know its been stated many times Friends don’t let friends Drive Angry, but I am unsure if this is actually a THING or just some funny one liner that my friends threw together late one night when we were movie quoting.  And some how some way the phrase Don’t Drive Angry was born. 

So what is one to do when confronted with those forms of things you simply cannot control?  Those things that fly in your face and kind of wave in sarcastic joy with that mocking voice of you can’t stop me sort of way.  I know life is uncontrollable and I have suffered some serious consequences for trying to control it. 

I have bruises and welts like EVERYBODY else for trying to control an uncontrollable force.  Its kind of what I imagine bull riders must look like underneath all their rough and tumble gear.  Because they are holding on for dear life and that bull is whipping them here and there and everywhere.  Not to mention the guys that get knocked off, thrown to the ground and trampled on. 

Now I don’t feel trampled but I am sitting here thinking… WAIT A MINUTE… I thought we had tamed this bull, or at least I had gotten to know it enough to recognize its habits and tendencies.  I had found those areas of weakness and areas of strength and was prepared.  You know that whole preventative maintainance thingy?  If you can anticipate what is going to happen you can better protect yourself from the beating you are about to get. But I had just realized I had a blind spot.  And just like the movie title implies I didn’t see it coming. 

I guess there are parts of this that just go to my pride as well.  I spent a chunk of time (say 6 hours on one day with countless other 1 hour pieces here and there) figuring out my vacation days, where to stay with people I knew, holiday time, and flights to and from a friend’s wedding.  All scheduling out where to stay and how to do things so that I could have a little fun and enjoyment on my personal time.  Of course, I shouldn’t mention that this is also saying the company about $3000.00 but HEY that is not what is important.  I had spent all that time and I WAS proud of my success.  I had made my Frequent Flyer miles work FOR ME… I had paid $125 for an $800 ticket.  AWESOMENESS!!! I had coordinated visits with at least 5 friends along the sides of this work trip with little conflict in schedule and I was PROUD of my communication skills, patience, and flexibility. 

BUT NOW THINGS WERE SET… I even posted it on facebook as a sign of VICTORIOUS accomplishment.  Until today.  When one fateful phone call destroyed all pride in my fantastic maneuvering of flight, funds, and friends.  One phone call from a specific power that be that all man tremble and all women weep when this one speak.  Only to inform me that my dates were changing at the end of my trip and I didn’t need to stay for the extra 2 days.  Normally, no big deal.  But as detailed above I had booked my flight to Alaska out of the Sacramento AREA… now I am supposed to be returning home to Northern Oregon 4 days before my flight.  Now that would just be silly…. So stay down there. 

But But BUT… Did I not mention I just coordinated a major impossible feat of details less than 2 work days ago?  Have you EVER tried to change a flight you have booked using frequent flyer miles?  Has anyone noticed that all the fine print says $150 change fee will apply (to each leg of the trip)?  So change flight = $300 or stay in hotel for those 4 nights $400.  How can being so organized, researched, focused, and detailed result in such a financial penalty.  I mean REALLY… I was TRYING to do this RIGHT? 

I am reminded once again how much of an illusion control is.  And how common courtesy, the care of others work and effort is no longer a commodity of value in the professional work environment.  *deep sigh* is my only reply.

The Amazing Christina – LA Edition

A group of circumstances completely fell into place last December that produced the need for me to go to Long Beach, California for some necessary on site training, which never happens.  The Regional Trainer for the LA area was out-of-town on a much-needed vacation and the Regional Sales Manager was having a meeting and practically demanding the presence of a trainer at this meeting.  As usual, I was all about the pick me Pick Me, PICK ME!!!

So with an amazing string of luck or blessing I was chosen. I do believe it had more to do with the price of my plane ticket instead of my stellar training skills.  It was a short trip pretty much 24 hr turn around.  The expected training time somewhere between 1-3 hours.  The Manager had provided a set of subjects that he wanted covered, but since most of these items had been trained already, I had to assume they didn’t want a formal training session of the basics.  The subjects I know very well and can even anticipate some of the questions and challenges they may have. 

What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would absolutely LOVE the experience.  It was a nervous wreck at first because I didn’t have a formal Powerpoint presentation and I didn’t know any of the people I was coming to train.  It was typical travel: arrive in the morning, rental car, and I arrive in the conference room and just sit and wait.  Enough time to sit and wait and let my nerves get to me. 

Once I got started with the basics, it lasted about 15 minutes.  The plan, the training, the intended topics, yes at 15 minutes into the presentation, I was smack dab into the middle of crossfire style questions on EVERYTHING.  From processes, to programs, to procedures, and internal branch communications.  It was an amazing rush and of all the questions that were tossed at me or near me for the next 3 hours, I only had 4 take away questions (things I couldn’t answer).  Mostly because I needed to do some testing and followup. 

In a room full of 15 men all master outside sales people with more focus on sales than on training, but there were questions and scenarios flying all afternoon.  I was the center of the room and the center of information all at the same time.  I felt like saying, Queen of the LAB in classic Bones style.  The manager thanked me and we discussed other options for training and situations.  The pricing team thanked me and I was able to connect with a group of people throughout the former corporate office of this acquired company. 

I was AWESOME and valuable and useful and the perfect trainer.  And I love the feeling of a new place, new car, new hotel, and new people.  Some how I had forgotten what it was like to travel and love what I do, even when there is a portion of not knowing EXACTLY what I will be doing.

The Amazing Christina – Trainer that is

Last year I was in a training conference of sorts with my entire team, plus 12 temporary trainers.  It was a week-long conference, where we planned some train the trainer sessions, soft skill presentations, and it seemed we were visited by every department imaginable for 1-2 hour blocks of time.  

We were reviewing a bunch of new material during one of our days in class.  There was a modification being made specifically to our software to allow users to enter specific and detailed information about commercial doors.  I promise I will not provide you with step by step detailed IT trainer description of the modification.  Besides I am sure that the software company will charge you a pricing deposit just to know this mod exists. 🙂  Thus learning the modification was not where Christina was amazing; although I am learning even now that the ability to learn something the first time through is pretty amazing.

The trainer who had been working on the pieces of this new mod was reviewing it with the whole room of 24 people.  Most of us had heard ABOUT this process, but this was the very first time we were SEEING it in the software screens and in actual action.  After showing us a series of 4 different processes, we asked a set of questions, I jotted down a couple of notes; and retired to the reclining posture of my chair.  You know the universal sign for I’m good, I got it, What’s next? 

As a group, we were all asked to log in and attempt to USE the process in pairs.  There were some glitches with this and because we couldn’t all use the same data we couldn’t do the EXACT same process at the same time; and it was obvious that this portion of the training was not thought out completely, but I still felt confident that I was prepared enough for training it.  The room was getting tense and our boss was getting frustrated so we moved on to another part of the seminar, since we were out of time. 

The next day we had a catch-all period of time (that time that all event planners leave open JUST IN CASE there is something that didn’t get covered or needs to be revisited).  When our boss speaks up and asks if everyone in the room feels comfortable training the door process?  Much as she expected everyone seemed to respond with No, not it, I don’t, I’m confused, I’m not sure kind of language.  Then in classic reversal of fortune she asks if anyone in the room is comfortable training the door process.  I look to my left and right there isn’t a single hand, but I was confident, that I have the process down because I didn’t get caught up in the details.  YES FOR ONCE I SAW THE FOREST AND NOT THE TREES.  I threw my hand in the air loud and proud. 

In almost disbelieving tone my boss says, “Alright Christina train the trainer (the guy who originally taught us) how to put in a commercial door sale in the system.”  I jumped out of my seat and walked to the front of the room.  Where I realized I didn’t have to go I could have done this from my seat.  (hee hee hee guess it’s that little inner stage actress that wants to leap onto stage at any chance she gets.)  I begin in classic Christina form, acting and being funny and creative and full of bologna ( you would think I would be better at the card game BS).  But I started with the Thank you for calling Our Company how can I help you today?  Which generated an ENORMOUS amount of laughter from the crowd.  Gotta know your audience, right?

And without missing a beat or a step just like Edge taught me in speech class, I did the best Impromptu speech of my career (well of my life at this job, in front of an audience, of my peers, with my boss, etc).  I guided him through exactly which buttons to push and what information to put in through a series of questions and praise statements.  I let him fill in the size, specs, details, and dimensions (as a real life user would know these things) and ALL I did was tell him which keys to push in order to get to the AREA on the computer screen to put in that information. 

When we were finished, I received an AMAZING applause from the room that seemed to fill my soul with such admiration and appreciation from my peers.  I even got a NICELY done Christina from my boss (gotta cherish those praise moments cuz they don’t happen often).  After my demonstration the whole room felt more confident about how to train this particular portion of the system.  It wasn’t about knowing ALL the specs if was about knowing how to guide the learner through the screens. 

The confidence that filled me was  this age-old belief I have, I can train anything to anyone – I don’t even have to understand it.  There are many a good debates I have been in on that subject (which will remain for another posting); but in my mind I KNEW what I KNEW about the system and which keys to push.  I KNEW how to navigate the structure of the process and I would then leverage the user’s knowledge of the details to complete the process.  Now don’t ask me what the door looks like or how it will hang in the frame or even it is hollow or solid because I just train the software folks, I don’t know what the stuff looks like out in the real world. 🙂

Temptation between Want and Ought

These battles between want and ought can be overwhelming.  I want to do the right things: Not trash talk, not gossip, not sabotage, not retaliate.  But it feels sooooo good to do ALL of those things when I feel wronged.  When the justification is clear in my head.  The scales should be balanced, and if someone is not punished for their actions then I must right the wrong. 

Vik has done nothing but talk bad about me since he arrived in Texas.  He is resistant toa ll things productive and he has made a very specific point to lie and put me down everyday.  And it the amazing thing is having someone there at the location telling me all these things that are going on.  I know Beth needs to vent, but as she is releasing her tension I seem to get more and more wound up about what I feel are injustices.  Not to mention I feel completely let down my Joe who seems to be following Vik’s lead each step along the way. 

Mark 11:24-25 – Therefore, I tell you: whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours… I ask for the truth to be known; that with everything that has happened with Vik and work that my boss will heat the truth.  My hope is that the things I have worked so hard for will be preserved.  I know in my heart that as the supervisor I did all I was supposed to do, but any problems were Vik caused and preventable if he had chosen to try. 

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins… I know it, but I forget to live it, practice it and move toward it sooner than later.  Lord, I want to release myself from the bitterness that grows from forgiveness. 

I wrote this about a year ago when I was in a desperate work situation that I couldn’t seem to remedy or repair.  I was only 3 months into the food plan and was still letting every emotion control or influence me.  But I know I am still battling the want with the ought.  I want to do what is pure, wholesome, right, good, holy, righteous in God’s eyes, but the pressure from inside and out is so strong to satisfy that want of revenge or that want of retaliation. 

I am not battling the same people or the same situations as last year, but I do know that the temptation to gossip, trash talk, put down, go around, manipulate, criticize, and teach a lesson are regular events in my work.  I am getting better at recognizing the events before they occur, but the full on prevention of the behavior is not as good as I want.  Sometimes I wonder why God created us with such strong emotions because he had to have known that we would not be strong enough to resist them.  Is it just a certain personality type?  Is it just one of weak will and vulnerable mind?  How is one expected to make progress into that place of holiness when the weaknesses seem to arrive in the form of a flood or tidal wave… a form in which no reasonable man can resist?