Thursday, March 29, 2007
No one ended up taking me up on my offer to come stay in the hotel except this little guy. I made him sleep outside, but he was there most of my stay. I also ran into a relative of his while I was changing at the spa--he scared me.
When I checked in the concierage gave me a schedule of events that I could do while staying in the hotel. Due to the conference, I basically only had one day that I could get away with blowing off work until later to enjoy my surroundings. After looking at the schedule on the elevator ride to my room, I decided that I was going to check out beach side yoga and the ukelele lessons the next day. After getting settled and taking a couple of pictures, I turned on my computer and got some work done.
I opened up my calendar for the following day to make sure I could get my yoga and ukelele lessons in. Unfortunately, I had a conference call that started right in the middle of the yoga class. I was very disappointed. However, if I had to choose between ukelele and yoga, I would pick ukelele so I was able to cope with the loss. The next morning I woke up early, got some work done (being 3 hours ahead of CA working for a company that tends to favor the east coast was a little rough--i woke up for 5 AM conference calls a couple of times on the trip). I dialed into my conference call and the automated computer voice said that my meeting number didn't exist. What she meant to say was this meeting doesn't start for another hour, idiot. Remember how daylight savings time was 3 weeks earlier than everything was programed to be? Well, it has completely ruined my life, or at least caused me serious grief over the past three weeks--I'm so excited for it to all end this weekend. So, my conference call was actually not for another hour, right during my ukelele class. By this time it was too late to join beach side yoga. The day is basically over for me now because I'm absolutely depressed. Why do bad things have to happen to good people? I was so looking forward to returning from Hawaii and actually being able to play a tune on my ukelele--I would have been so impressive that no one would be able to resist me. I'm still sad about it.
I managed to get some work done the next day and the rest of the week. In fact, I managed to wake up, get dressed and actually attend my conference. Basically, I was supposed to meet people and learn about all of the western states bars--their needs and potential opportunities for us, etc. Ordinarily, I'm easy going and enjoy meeting people. When I say ordinarily, I really mean in social, non-work settings. Business is different and I really don't find much pleasure in schmoozing work people and coming up with chit chat. I can do it, I just don't necessarily enjoy it. Plus, I'm always the youngest kid there, and I don't have a deflector spouse like everyone else. I had signed up to go to all of the extra events (sunset cruise and closing dinner) because they were great opportunities to meet and chat with people, but I didn't want to go for those exact same reasons.
This being said to help you understand my mood and attitude in going to the sunset cruise/whale watching excursion (plus considering my first whale watching experience when Courtney's boys were in town), I actually had fun and am super glad I went. I ended up going on the mormon boat. Not that everyone on the boat was mormon, because they weren't. However, there was a couple from Wyoming and a couple from Salt Lake that were not drinking with me. The Wyoming couple was stereotypical small town mormon. They were shocked that I was able to actually enjoy living in Sodom and Gomorrah (aka San Francisco), and they asked if I was a Latter-Day Saint instead of using the term "mormon." The Salt Lake couple was stereotypical Milcreek mormon family. Both were really nice and excited to meet me. The best part of the night. We saw whales! Yes, I'd seen things that the captain of the boat had said was a whale back at Half Moon Bay, but I know these were whales. I'm not the best picture taker and it took awhile for my camera to be ready to snap another photo but check this out:
That's right three whales. It was awesome. Plus the water was super calm and beautiful so no one threw up. So, I pretty much planning on moving to Hawaii and living with the whales. I wish I had better pictures to show you how amazing it was.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Anyway, after dinner the coals were still super hot. I found some toothpicks and mini-marshmellows in the cupboard and the party was on! Roasting mini-marshmellows is so much fun. Plus they were delicious. Plus we could eat like a thousand of them and not feel guilty.
Thanks Courtney for bringing the barbeque into our lives.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Day 2: I head to the little shop in the swanky hotel to make my sunblock purchase. It is a convenient store/gift shop so I'm planning on the block being pricey...$15.50 pricey was a shock to me though! Yikes. I had to do it. My fair skin cannot sit unshielded against those violent UV rays.
I took my computer out to the beach (hoping to pick up some WI-FI)and found myself a nice chair to relax on. I got all settled and found an internet connection. However, the glare of the sun was unavoidable and I could barely see the computer screen even with the umbrella up. Oh well, guess I'll have to work another time. So, I thoroughly sprayed myself down and laid in the sun for a bit.
I took inventory afterwards and found a handful of new freckles, but that was it. I knew that another sun session was going to be necessary in order to convince people that I had just spent a week in Hawaii.
Day 4: I had the afternoon off since I wasn't participating in the golf tournament. I put on my suit. Sprayed myself with the sunblock and headed down to the beach. This time I took a book. I wasn't making any pretenses to working today.
I fell asleep on my back. Rolled over and the fell asleep on my stomach. After a while I decided that I should probably hide in the shade to prevent burning. I was thinking that I'd been out long enough that a second layer of block was needed but had left it up in the room. I put the umbrella on the chair up, but didn't quite cover myself completely. Plus, I was really tired and hadn't gathered enough energy to go inside. It didn't matter though. The damage had already occurred. That's right. I got sunburned.
Why is it so embarrassing to get sunburned? It isn't embarrassing to lie down in a skimpy swimming suit on the beach but as soon as your skin goes pink, the humiliation is eminent. Maybe it is because I was totally remedial at applying the block. I'm not evenly sunburned. No, instead I've got a streak down one leg. A big blotch of sunburn on the other. A band of burn across my back. The best is my chest. I sprayed the block on when my swimsuit straps were tied behind my neck. While laying under the sun I wanted to avoid a v-shaped tan line across my chest so I untied across my neck and retied at the top of my suit. Irony of ironies: the complete opposite happened and now I have a v-shaped red mark across my chest where the block didn't penetrate the suit. I should take a picture, but I somehow feel odd about taking a picture of my chest and posting it on the internet. Just imagine a freckled background with two red lines meeting at a v. It's awesome. Plus, I managed to burn half of my face. This must have occurred during the laying on my stomach portion of the day.
Day 5: I went back to the hotel convenience store and spent $5.50 on a bottle of aloe vera gel.
So, lessons learned: bring sunblock to avoid the insane cost at the hotel store and be sure to completely cover your skin. I do have cute new freckles though.
The first weekend in March God blessed us with beautiful weather and lodging in Tahoe--we won it at the service auction last year. So, we packed up our cars and drove to our home for the weekend...a good time was about to be had!
Here's who came and their respective winning characteristics.
Me: Tied for best hair...and apparently the easiest girl there.
Coutney: Tied for best hair! Thanks Rachel for mine and Courtney's awesome hair.
Erica: Most likely to get a divorce and has a sordid past.
Amy: I can't remember what you won--do tell me.
Gnu Bret: what didn't he win? Tied for best butt. Won most wanted to kiss. Best dancer.
Liz: she tied for best butt (couldn't get a picture of it though)
Greg: Makes the most money.
Elisa: Best eyes.
Aaron Johnson: I think most likely to be famous or something, I don't remember.
Marcus: Most likely to go crazy.
Kara: I can't remember what you won, and I don't have a picture of you. How in the world did that happen? You were there right? I totally remember seeing you there. You are in the group shot. Are you a ghost? Is this why I wasn't able to get a picture of you?
We had a great time playing games where no one cheated.
sleeping, reading, writing
Here we all are together on the stairs, like a big, happy family. Too bad we had to leave shortly afterwards to go back home. Oh, how I miss Lake Tahoe!
P.S. I hope you all didn't forget about our wonderful neighbor Mr. Smoky McSmokerson. I love that he would shovel everytime he came out for a smoke break.
P.P.S. So, we should make this an annual affair.
P.P.P.S. Check out "Gnu Bret" on YouTube for more fun from the cabin.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Luckily for the people that know us, (us is referring to Erica, Sarah, Courtney and me) we aren't at all particular about who comes to brunch with us. I personally love it when Amy comes. We even had our home teachers join us one week since they home taught all of us. It was fun. We went to Tillie's which wasn't fun. On a bad restaurant but good company brunch we even let Gnu Bret come. He dressed up in leather and his motorcycle helmet...it was hot. Then he took off his helmet and we all hoped that he would shake his head about to release his hair, but he was bald. Oh wait...this wasn't Gnu Bret. This was the guy that walked into the diner with his helmet still on that we wished was Gnu Bret. Gnu Bret showed up later with his favorite Palomino sweatshirt and a smile on.
Here's Courtney and Erica engrossed in conversation about starving children in Uganda. Note: Courtney is wearing her favorite t-shirt that she's had since she was about 5 years old. You can't even see the blue flowers on it.
I was obviously taking the pictures so you won't see me at brunch. Here's Gnu Bret apparently bored with the lack of girl talk going on today over our breakfast food.
So bored, in fact, he was forced to entertain himself.
We look a little bit closer and learn that Gnu Bret is spitting his ice back into his cup with actual saliva coming out of his mouth as well. Yuck! Boys are so gross.
Well ladies, brunch is definitely back on a week from Saturday. I can't hardly wait for the event. Where should we go?
In the Berkeley student ward, there are basically four classifications of people. 1) the students--these are mostly Cal students and mostly undergraduate but a few other schools and grad students make the list as well. 2) the chemists--these are the Cal chemistry doctorate students (yes they get their own number because of the sheer number of them). 3) the accountants--these are working professionals that live in East Bay and do taxes. And 4) the Pixar folks--these are the lucky few who get to work at Pixar studios in Emeryville. For the most part these classifications include everyone in the ward with the exception of me and Amy. We're special!
Anyway, because I've got connections, we were able to go on a tour of Pixar studios. It was awesome. And I've basically been canvassing their web page weekly for job openings. Think about it. I could go shopping while I was at work every day.
Now, I'd love to go into detail on the tour and tell you exactly what I learned, but I've somehow managed to misplace all of the facts of the day in my large brain. So, I'm going off of the pictures that I found on my camera. This is all of us at the start of the tour. Sully was such a great tour guide. He told us jokes and tried to make us laugh. He's no Mike, but we still had to laugh because he's quite big and we all feared for our life. Courtney and Amy were there too, not sure why they aren't in the picture though.
Sully took us on a great tour. We learned a lot and were all super grateful. This is how Courtney, Gnu Bret and I each showed our appreciation.
Oh and they have free soda and a cereal bar. Yes, folks that is correct. Free cereal all day, everyday! Plus, you can work off the extra calories playing badminton, air hockey, ping pong, pool or video games. Best job ever!
Thanks Emma and Jake and Pixar. It was fantastic!
The original plan was for the four of us to play in the city for the day: me, Kellie, Stephanie and Berkeley. Unfortunately, Berkeley was "sick" and Stephanie needed to take him home to sleep for the day. Hmmm, I wonder who was really tired and wanted to sleep for the day?
Therefore Kellie and I ventured off into the city alone. Two strange girls in a stranger city can never be too cautious. Here is the parking garage where we left the car. Mostly I did this so we would remember what level the car was on. Look at Kellie's cute jacket though.
We walked from Union Square through China Town to Little Italy for lunch and then back again. Not really a lot of walking but big bellied Kellie had swollen ankles and this wore two Baker girls out. However, included in the trip was a visit to Stella's--yum!!
Please note that Kellie is standing under the "Grant" street sign at the entrance to China Town. I'm hoping that little Grant Daniels can truly understand the significance of his name.
That is all. I hope Kellie can stop bothering me about these pictures now. Oh, it was really good to have Kellie come visit, by the way. I get to see Stephanie all of the time because she lives here too, but it is rare to see one of my other sisters unless I go visit them (Amanda and Jeanette: I've got an extra airmatress just in case).
I'm here till Sunday. I've got a king size bed and a couch...all are welcome!
However, an event happened to me today that I completely blame George! I was stuck on a 4 hour layover in Honolulu. Airports are airports and I worked for the majority of the time. As my flight time got closer and closer, I began to see more and more men dressed in regulation camo. That's right there were about 50 young and vibrant army men getting on my plane. I'm sure the plane doesn't seat more than 70 or so. Therefore, guess who I get to sit by on the plane? You'd think with the odds in my favor I would be forced to sit next to a strapping young army man....but no, not today. I'm stuck next to a stinky smoker who obviously just smoked a case of Marlboro's like he was about to die. Plus, he was super chatty with the guy on the other side of him, thus forcing me to listen to their inane conversation. Yuck!
So, Mr. Bush...because of you there are all these troops running around....but I didn't get to sit next to one of them! Bad form, man! Bad form.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Gnu Bret turned 26. He's getting so old. I'm so glad I was able to fly back into town just in time to celebrate his awesomeness on the day after his birthday at his super rad birthday party!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
In my previous post, see below, I requested a secret be told by my regular blog visitors. The only responses I received were from my sister who was mad at me for not including her in the regular group and Leslie who is just mad at me for not shouting her name out more, I guess. Well, Kellie, I'm sorry, and I'd love to hear your secrets. And LESLIE, how's that for a shout out? I'd love to hear all of your secrets, and I'm not afraid to wait for them.
That's right. There will be no new posts until I get some secrets: so start sharing!
Friday, March 09, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
So what if the people around you have a secret? Not everything has to involve you.
Excuse me? Who the hell do these "cosmic" powers think they are saying something like that to me? C'mon anyone who is anyone knows that is not true. Ask Courtney. Ask Amy. Ask Leslie. Ask Natalie. (these are my four faithful blog readers--notice Courtney is first because she's awesome! I love all four of you, so please don't start fighting amongst the group. I just could never pick a favorite.)
I don't think I want to live in a world where my Friday horoscope says that the world doesn't revolve around me, and that my friends have secrets. This is something you'd expect on a Monday or an evil Wednesday, but not Friday.
So, in an effort to prove the cosmic forces wrong and to follow up to my previous Secrets Secrets post, now is the time to spill, kids. Each of you has a secret that needs to be shared. Simply add a comment and start typing. Oh, I don't limit the secret sharing to just the four blog readers. Go ahead and forward this to anyone to get them to also reveal their secret.
Therefore my exposure of your secrets via the blog, will allow you to come clean and the world to revolve around me once more! Happy sharing.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
For instance, at the top of the blog there is a Search Blog, Flag Blog and a Next Blog option that I can select. Hmmm, I wonder what Next Blog does. So I test it out. In my very scientific experiment 80% of the blogs are in a foreign language*. Wow! Even people in other countries are smarter than me and connecting with strangers via the world wide webernet.
Then I decided to see who is using my original idea for the perfect blog URL. I type in www.anyong.blogspot.com. It takes me to one page with one post that says something about how the owner of the blog is going to add posts in both Korean and English. This was posted in 2002! Seriously, the dude isn't even using my URL. Why can't I have it? I would only use it for good. Plus, 2002? Are you kidding me? Did they even have computers back then? What has the world come to that requires us to sign up 5 years in advance for a URL?
I'm really worried about this and thus began thinking about my own future. I don't have children now, I'm not currently pregnant, I don't foresee myself getting pregnant in the near future (3-6 months), I don't foresee myself having children in the next few years, I may not ever have children. However, as a citizen of humanity, shouldn't I be reserving URL and blog space for my maybe children that could possibly exist in the future? The pressure is getting to me. These hypothetical children don't even have names. Will they have personalities that I should take into consideration? How many will there be? Do you understand the anguish I'm in now?
More importantly, imagine I'm able to create wonderful URLs and reserve these amazing blog spaces for my future. How pathetic do I look when my life takes a different path and I'm left updating the blogs of imaginary children that I never had? Worse than owning cats I tell you, worse than cats!
*I clicked the next blog button like 10 times and there were a handful of foreign language blogs. There was also one about geeks which I lumped into the foreign language group because it was talking about computers and systems and stuff like that.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Here's Spencer and the car seats in Amanda's awesome new mini-van! Woo-hooo, Amanda drives a mini-van.
We went to lunch at a great little pizza joint...sat by the door, bad idea, it was freezing. Jack and Annie were as cute as ever. I even got a tour of The Walmart. They let me in. I tricked Spencer into thinking I was going to go for an interview. He totally fell for it. Such a glamorous office. I totally wish I would have taken pictures, but they've got to protect their investments and not let any trade secrets out.
Amanda then took me on a tour of downtown Bentonville. I believe that this was the only store front in downtown that still had a store there. Unfortunately it was Monday, a holiday, and closed. This is the Walmart Museum. We didn't get out of the car because it was cold, freezing cold.
Amanda drove me safely to the airport the next day. It was awesome. Not really awesome. But there was only one lane open because the other lane was two inches higher and a sheet of ice. Snow is much cooler than ice!
Thanks for letting me come stay Millerbergs! It was super fun.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
So, today's conference call is in preparation for our big Marketing Summit being held next week in Houston. No, I'm not excited about spending three days in Houston next week, yuck! I'm also not excited for this meeting because it is not going to be productive or give me opportunity to actually get work done. This is the second of two calls preparing for this upcoming summit.
Background: at our national sales meeting in January the CMO announced that we would be having a large marketing meeting as a training/reward/collaboration event in March in Houston. All of us who were there (okay all is probably wrong but the 5 people that I was standing near and know) thought this was the stupidest thing ever. Who wants to go to Houston. Plus, we got the inside scoop that this meeting was going to be held in Houston at the Hilton Americas Hotel because the company is trying to avoid a cancellation fee for another conference that was supposed to be there.
So, a few weeks later we get information about this upcoming meeting. We have to register to go and schedule our travel with the travel agency. Apart from the Houston complaint, the first complaint surfaces: we have to have roommates at the hotel! Lame!!! Marketing never has roommates. Oh well, what do you do? So, in "preparation" for the summit (we've recently re-org'd the marketing department and there has never been this type of conference in the past, however it isn't that difficult to figure out that you should make sure you are scheduled to go to a meeting) we had a conference call about a month ago. The real purpose of this call was to glam up Houston and explain why we are sharing rooms and spending three days there. A complete waste of time. However, wildly entertaining. One person who was obviously upset about having to share rooms said something to this effect: if this is supposed to be a nice, relaxing summit for us why do we have to wake up to having a stranger in our room. Seriously? I thought. Don't you have friends that you work with that you can shack up with for the night? I'm not happy about having to share a room, but pick your battles man! Pick your battles! So lame. All he did was embarrass himself. There were several other equally dumb questions asked on this first call; it was like these people had never traveled before, ever! I realize that not everyone in the company has to travel as much as I do, but c'mon, don't you vacation or read the newspaper?
The first call was an embarrassment to humanity. People should not be allowed to be that dumb. Also, I shouldn't have to waste an hour of my time listening to how great and how much fun I'm going to have in Houston. We have to be there; that should be reason enough.
Imagine my surprise when I receive a meeting notice for a second conference call to prepare for the upcoming Marketing Summit. Really? What did we not cover on the first call? What can we possibly learn? I'm thinking that they are announcing that we have to prepare all of these presentations and forecasts in new templates because that is what I've been doing everyday for the past two weeks--another rant and story all its self. So, I accept the meeting and join the call today.
The first meeting was bad, but this meeting was a giant joke! Seriously! The point of this call was to answer any questions about traveling or the upcoming meeting. I'm not kidding. Of the three of you who read this blog, how many of you don't know how to travel on airplanes? How many of you don't know how to read the big sign that someone is holding that says your company's name on it when you get your bags from baggage claim? How many of you don't know how to check in to a hotel? If you raised your hands to any of these, don't tell me because I will mock and torment you for the next month or so.
Questions asked on today's call:
I didn't get a paper ticket, how do I check in at the airport?
Will there be hair dryers in the room?
How do I check in my baggage?
Can we bring any liquids on the plane?
Do I have to have a credit card when I check into my room?
I took 32 minutes out of my busy day to listen to this. Of course I was doing other things in the meantime like emailing my roommate at the meeting and asking if this was really happening or if I was just having one of the most hilarious dreams I've ever had. Unfortunately, this is my life.
Another wonderful thing that always happens on these types of conference calls. The same people who don't know how to travel do not know how to use their telephones either. How difficult is it to hit mute? Not very. Now, if you are on your cell phone, I can understand that the feature may be more difficult to find so, the teleconference program we uses has a mute code built right into the system. It's announced on practically every call to encourage people to put their phone on mute so we don't have to listen to their background noise that impedes the actual presenter. However, there are still people that just can't figure it out. Today, for instance one guy asked, "Am I on mute?" Someone responded no. Then he said, "What about now?" This question was repeated about 5 times with brief pauses between each one. It was like that stupid Verizon commercial. We have had the person whispering to someone else because they didn't want everyone to hear. Put your phone on mute, damnit!
Okay, so, this is a snapshot in my work life! Enjoy. Oh, just so you know, everyone in the marketing team was on this call (about 200 people) including the CMO and several way up there vice presidents. So, if I were stupid and didn't know the answer to some of these questions, there is no way in hell I would ask it on a call that my boss's boss's boss was on...google it!
Monday, March 05, 2007
To date, there are about 3 people who read this blog. I would hate to lose one of these precious readers due to the contentious atmosphere in this web space. I ask of you as a friend and a respected blogger to please desist from this childish game.
Thank you for your consideration to keep this a family friendly web space. Thank you for reading my blog. And thank you for commenting on my blog; I do like having comments to read. Please continue to uphold the standards that I come to expect from the internet and my Working Title blog. I look forward to future shout outs to all of my 3 blog readers.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Who am I kidding, of course I want to brag! I love talking about myself. So, today in just a few short hours we are going to Tahoe for the weekend. It'll be super fun. I'm sure I'll have lots to report from the trip.
My super-organized roommate assigned everyone meals so we can freely eat without having to worry about anything but our assignment. Well, she assigned me for tomorrow night's dinner with her and our buddy Amy (third shout out to my friend Amy is absolutely fabulous--you should all meet her). Well, Courtney made lasagne, Amy is bringing salad and I'm in charge of dessert. I love dessert. I thought long and hard about what to make. We are feeding 15, and I didn't want to have to bake a lot up there. Therefore, the dessert had to be something I could make beforehand that would stay fresh for two days....cheesecake! Yum!
I made two cheesecakes, hence me being absolutely amazing and wonderful. I'm surprised some lucky guy hasn't snatched me right up. Check out how delicious they look--too bad you aren't coming to Tahoe or you could eat these with me. The one on the right that seems to be splitting down the middle (I don't know what happened) is a chocolate marble cheescake and the one on the left is a berry cheesecake. Both are delicious. I'm thinking of making a chocolate ganache for the marble one and a berry compote for the other, what do you think?