October 14, 2010

the kindness of strangers

I have to come up with a great random act of kindness. This week, while I was in Portland on business, I was really blown away by the generosity of strangers. Let me set the scene for you. My conference started at 8. So naturally, I did something wrong to my alarm clock and woke up at 8. You know those kinds of days - when you have to basically hop out of bed at 60 mph. I thought, oh well, I guess I just missed the introductions - which aren't the worst things to sleep through. But of course as soon as I got into the conference, they said, oh, we forgot the introductions! Let's pass around the microphone so everyone can say who they are!
The day was full of energy biz presentations, some were great and some were so painfully boring that I seriously considered jabbing my pen into my throat to end it all. You know, save the world a few megawatts. After a busy day of listening, we all went to a social mixer at a local restaurant. It was pretty funny to see just how quickly the men jockeyed for position around a pretty young blonde from the conference. Suddenly a sea of waiters came out, singing happy birthday to her. They placed a crown on her head with balloons attached to it. You know, just in case you didn't see her before. But I digress.
After the mixer, where happily, the bourbon flowed like wine, my co-worker Patricia told me that she had never been downtown in Portland before and was hell-bent on seeing the city.  We caught the amazing Max Line  into town. On the train we chatted to a nice university worker named Connie. She pointed out places we were passing and gave us directions on how to get around the city. She even got off the train and walked with us for four blocks, pointing out where we needed to go. Amazing.
Patricia and I found a great little fondue spot for dinner. We gabbed for hours over wine and cheese about life.
When we were heading out, the waiter said, "there's a good chance our paths will never cross again in this life - have a wonderful life and try to leave the world a better place than how you found it." Love that.
We waited for our train, trying to ignore the fact that some young drunkards were busy fighting a rather innocent newspaper stand. We hopped on the first train that came into our sights, knowing that it connected up with our train further along. We just felt like it was in our best interest to get out of that area.
While on the train we met a nice lady named Terry. I think we started chatting to her because we were all in awe of the young 20ish year old man, drinking beer, and shouting loudly that he was a retired entrepreneur. Now I'm not saying he wasn't....but I'm pretty sure that young rich retired entrepreneurs these days are not hoisting Pilsner on the Max Line screaming about how rich they are. But I digress.
Terry asked where we were going, and we told her we were just going to transfer at Gateway for the Airport. She informed us that the airport train stops running after 10. It was going on 11. Da Da DUH!
She said that she was also getting off at Gateway and would call us a cab (ie Russian Mafia). But after being on hold on the phone forever, she told us that she would give us a lift to our hotel. She said she refused to leave us at the station, it was in a dodgy area. I tried to give her money for her efforts, but she refused. She said she did what any good person would do. She just wanted me to pay it forward one day.

October 10, 2010

Thank you

Thank you for back to back fantastic family feasts. Thank you for another year with grandma. Thank you for Jack & Skylar making me laugh so much. Thank you for Smiley. Always. Thank you for a healthy body that's able to run off two turkey dinners. Thank you for a house that's a home. Thank you for friends who warm my heart. Thank you for two pets who lie by my side each night. Thank you for stretchy pants for above mentioned family feasts. Thank you for Aunty Ann finding much deserved love. Thank you for great cups of tea. I hope your Thanksgiving weekend brought you a full belly, a lot of laughs, and great company to share it all with. xo

October 5, 2010

the mountain analogy

I read a really great article today about social media and how on facebook, blogs, twitter, etc....everyone is trying to put their best face forward all the time. Look at my life! Isn't it the best? I am utterly AMAZEBALLS!! They are trying to make their life into a big splashy magazine ad. I think sometimes I am guilty of that - of just posting photos and writing about my favourite moments, the great ones that I feel like sharing and overlooking the days that aren't as photogenic. But I think sometimes it's ok to show the world you have bad days, days that fully suck. You know those days : days where you spend all of five minutes getting ready for work, and it involves slapping your dirty hair in a ponytail, wearing anything that smells clean and hoping you can slip in and out of the office without anyone noticing that you look and feel like you'd rather be anywhere else. You know those days: days when you have to smile through gritted teeth as a customer chews you out for no better reason than the fact they too are having ONE OF THOSE DAYS. Maybe a co-worker is driving you around the bend, but you suck it up and hold it in, maintaining your professional office composure,  until you get home and let the f-bombs fly, ranting and raving to any loved one who will make eye contact, even if it's the cat. We all have our moments. And only those who we feel the most trustworthy of, and ourselves around, see the real goods. And it ain't always pretty.

Being a shy gal, I often feel under the radar, a little invisible. I'd love to be able to have the gift of the gab. But, don't get me wrong, it's not always a bad thing. I think people who always talk for the sake of talking are physically exhausting. The world definitely needs some listeners. But when I feel under the radar and overlooked, it can feel like a kick in the gut.  I learned a great analogy from one of my friends this weekend that I wanted to share: think of yourself as a mountain - strong, rooted down yet reaching high, and acknowledge that there will be great days full of clear skies, but there will also be days when the clouds gather, and stay for awhile, but they will always pass.

October 4, 2010

Mt. Baker Getaway...

I grew up with a family cabin in a beautiful little rustic area called Snowline at the base of Mt. Baker. It was a classic A-Frame cabin from the '70s full of kitschy decor like macrame owls, vintage ski sets, garage sale paintings  - deliciously tacky goodness. We shared it with two other families for 27 years. My brother and I literally grew up there. We paddled in the pool and learned to ski on the slopes when we were little and hosted crazy parties when we were older. It was so much fun to re-visit my old stomping ground with three women who I hold near and dear to my heart. Over ten years ago (gasp!) - I started working for an energy marketing company. It was supposed to just be a temporary summer job until I landed full time status at the community newspaper I was reporting for. Needless to say, amazing people, great hours and a competitive salary to boot quickly transpired into 10+ years in the energy biz. The best part of working there, without a shred of a doubt, was meeting the three amazing women pictured with me in the photos above. Our personalities are all so different from one another, but blended together, they make for a kick ass combination. We are dispersed in different cities and because of the busy-ness of life - we try to plan visits quarterly. This time round, we rented a beautiful cabin developed by Method Homes. For information on their LEED standard beautiful prefab homes and cabins, click:  here. The cabin became the perfect home away from home for our weekend full of great conversations, dancing, eating, relaxing, hiking, drinking, reading gossip high brow magazines and watching chick high brow films. For more photos from the weekend o' fun - please click here

October 3, 2010

driving into work Friday...

I had to snap a quick photo of the sunrise over the misty farmland along Highway 99 Friday morning.