A Fly on My Own Wall

April 26, 2012

I am practicing a new speech. I am finding one of the key elements is to reenergize intermittently, practice with distraction, and practicing gestures. I have joined Aim High toast masters here in Austin Texas to provide for opportunities to practice to work on my polish.

The humor of the rehearsal scene occurred to me mid speech.

I have a 4 x6 carpet I use as my practice stage. As I pace back and forth to practice movement and gestures Camilla adorns her position as my shadow. I walk from one side of the carpet to the other, so does Camilla. She immediately lies down on to jump but up for us to head the 3 feet to the North West corner of our carpet. This goes on for hours. She never gives up on keeping up (I love this little dog more every day).

To reenergize we take break dance breaks. Those of you familiar with my “hot stalls” know that what I really mean to say is from time to time I throw myself on the ground and roll around.

I practice with distraction by playing movies loudly in the background. My favorite most distracting garn to talk over is action films. So while heroes are walking away from explosions I do inspiring Camilla, Zoe, and any microbes that may inhabit our empty bed room.

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Nana’s B Day

April 13, 2012

My Nana cried through Mighty Ducks I and II. If you questioned why she was crying she would retell the plot. She’d cry about the kid whose Dad came to the game for the first time, and for the girl who played with the boy’s team…. She cried for the kid who’s Mom worked two jobs but she managed to make it, and on and on. She was so heartfelt. She cared about everyone with marvelous sincerity. I ware her same rose oil. I derive tremendous comfort in having that little bit of her with me all the time.

For those who have known me in the year’s sense she has passed I don’t know how to describe how close we were. She was my strongest supporter, my closest friend, and always my partner in crime. She was fun. Always in all situations. She was beautiful even as she was in her late 80′s. She would always charm the people around her. She’ stays up with me until 4:00 am as I told her all the ins and outs of my little life.

I realized later that she often didn’t understand what I was doing as I embarked in a career in technology, but she was always behind me. I no longer feel that sick sadness that comes with losing a parent, but I can honestly say that I think of her every day. When things are rougher that others I wish for her presence desperately. I am so thankful for those who have filled her void, Sandy, Glen, and Aunt Janet and of course my beautiful baby sister. That being said in her memory it may be worth pointing out that it took 4 incredible people to fill her void.

I treasure every moment that I see her in my actions or mannerisms. Every year on her Birth day I sent pink roses. She loved them. A few years I ordered something different, or sent a gift. She really didn’t like my alternative gift attempts, she just wanted her roses. I don’t remember how old she would have been today, it seems irrelevant, and I will say I miss sending her the roses she loved. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to be as close as we were. She had a love of life that I haven’t seen in many people. Even into her late 80′s you could always get her to dance with the girls. I knew all the ins and outs of her life too s I was one of the few she felt comfortable talking about herself. My relationship with My Nana shaped me more than any of my other relationships as she so consistently unconditionally was loving. I do get a pang of sadness on her birthday, more than anything I just have a wave of gratitude for the years I had with someone more precious than most.

She was always terrified of technology. She would take copious notes on basic things, like how to play a cd. She would then tape the notes to the device. Even after all the notes were taped to the device she would still be so terrified of breaking something that she would never touch it again. Electronics were for taping paper to, nothing else. Se thought I was brilliant that I could play a cd. She bragged to her friends about it. She always had the phone somewhere weird, like under the bed. She’d answer a call, then for reasons I never understood put the phone back under the bed.

She would stay in her pajamas all day but go to painstaking efforts to ensure her pajamas and make up were well coordinated. Once I bought her a pink nightgown, is was all the money I had earned in odd jobs for 2 months, I found out months later that she hadn’t worn it. I asked if it was wrong size or something. She looked at me, cried a few tears, and expressed that she couldn’t ware it with her blue slippers and the lipstick she had was the wrong shade. So Sandy and I had to take it to the mall to find slippers of the appropriate pink. All the street musicians new her by name and they all lit up when she came around, everyone did. I could go on and on. She was wonderful. I don’t think she ever understood how special she was. I think everyone else undersood immediately.

Rock Infested Waters

April 12, 2012

Isn’t it incredible how “Brave” and “Stupid” kind of look a lot the same once in a while. Not the words obviously, but the actions. This Past Sunday Christopher and I embarked to explore Austin. I had been snagged up from a coffee shop so I really wasn’t prepared for a hike.

We walk and walk… We determined ourselves to be the most positive people who have ever taken a walk. We went on and on taking turns talking about what incredible thing we saw, what we love about this city, what is the best ever that has ever been….. We were high on the energy of Austin. We explored the green belt for a few miles. We found drum circles along the water, amazing rocks to climb, and lots of people out enjoying the incredible day.

We eventually decided to join this group that was jumping off a cliff that was 18-20 feet high. The day earlier we had been jumping off a 4 ft. rock into a big pool. We had so much fun with that the 20 ft. Rock was irresistible. Naturally I went up first feeling ridiculously (and stupidly) confident. I walked up to the edge, cowered at my fear of heights, tried to put on a brave face, walked up to the edge, and completely chickened out. I got to the edge enough to almost jump off; I even had jumped on one foot, only to hear every one gasp. Is it would turn out I was right over a bunch of rocks. Needless to say the roks were out to get me. I want to say it was my intuition that stopped me, but more accurately it was everyone else loudly gasping in fear for my safety.

Chris joined me at the top; he tried to play it cool as he realized how bad that could have been. Eventually he jumped. I calmed my nerves and jumped off a slightly lower 15 ft. ledge with a little direction on how to avoid rocks. I managed to jump with relatively safety. I acquired an ear infection, but all bones in one piece. Today’s mission is to find low cost health insurance. A person like me with questionable sense for “Safety” or “Well Being” shouldn’t be without insurance. In fact I should assign myself an adult supervisor in the interim period to ensure I don’t let these impulsive moments get the best of me. To be clear I jumped fully dressed, skirt, nice shirt, ET all. What a spectacle.

 

Menagerie or Entourage

April 3, 2012

 

Yesterday morning I woke up in the familiarity of my friend Aalap’s apartment. Everything I had with me had been thrown about as if a tornado of one woman had hit the apartment. Shoes, clothes, and cords everywhere the eye could see. I let out of bed, ran to the gym, and ran my final errands in the Seattle area. This morning I woke up on the couch exhausted and with the sensation of having been hit by a tornado myself. My move is complete. I now live in Austin Texas. I’ve been talking about doing this for 3 years or more. The weather is perfect, the air smells of some fragrant flower I can’t identify, and I’m happy to be home.

We arrived at the airport with 2 suit cases ado and a cat. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to evaluate that Camilla is not a service dog. We had to try to get her by as a service dog as that was the only way to get both animals on the plane.

At the ticketing counter the cashier was having trouble understanding that I had a cat. I get that they weren’t charging me for Camilla as a service dog but there should be a $125 charge for the cat. I kept offering her my card, pointing to my cat, saying “What about the Cat?” and reminding her to charge me. She acknowledged my cat and said we don’t charge for service animals. In the back of my mind I was thinking “A service cat?” I’m fairly certain no such thing exists.

We made it to security. I overheard one of the security guard say “there is no way that’ a service dog”. I admit they had a valid point. By this point we were all in, no turning back.

I used a little trick I learned from my Dad. You can glaze over something that someone says no matter how valid or obviously true by acting indignant. It is in these situations where you have to not only look at them like you are obviously in the right, but add a hint of I’m shocked you didn’t know this. A look that say “You didn’t know that they use terriers adopted from shelters for the blind? You didn’t know that the fact that she is standing behind me with her own tale in her mouth as part of her duties as an assistant? How is it that you didn’t know that? I bet your feeling rely stupid.” It works every time.

Onto the next hurtle. Now we have to get through security. There is a rule that if you are traveling with an animal you have to carry the animal in your arms. It follows that if you are traveling with two animals you have to carry both in your arms. I wish I had video of this scene. I had a cat and a dog under my arm as I follow there guidance through the metal detectors. We made it with flying colors. Fortunately for me both m animals are good travelers.

Throughout the trip I had at least 3 people ask me if Zoe was a service cat. I responded that shies my financial advisor. She handles to books.

I had a man who trained service dogs approach to talk to me about Camilla. I knew my answers would be weak as I’m a terrible lira. It is in these situations that you’re best to ask someone else a lot of questions. Just keep them talking about themselves. So I bombarded him with “Where are you from, how many siblings? do you swim? Where’d you get those shoes? …. “And on and on.

Truth be told considering that I crammed a terrier and a cat in a space about 1 out wide and maybe 2 feet long for 4 hours they were incredible. Camilla didn’t bark once. Zoe didn’t meow. Everything was smooth sailing until the last 10 minutes when they both got restless. Even then they weren’t so bad. A man sitting next to me was returning from a chemistry conference. He didn’t realize that the duffle bag at my feet was actually a soft carrier for a cat. At the end of the flight he taps me on the arm and says “I’m sorry to bother you miss, but your bag is moving.” I was shocked to find out there was a cat.

The chemist, Geon, was the kindest man on the face of the planet. He is doing his PhD in Houston, but is originally from Manila. As I was DE boarding the plane he and his fellow grad student were asking me if I needed help. Of course my first reaction was to give them the 10 k reasons why I didn’t need help. In these moments I really believe I can navigate an unknown airport with 2 bags, one hand, a cat and a dog. As I was walking away I had a realization that they actually would be happy to help me. I turned around and walked right back and asked them both for help. They were such a godsend.

So there I was as my two new friends gather my baggage I alternated walking my dog outside on a leash allowing her a break and walking my cat on a leash. I arrived a 2:00 are, left the airport on the shuttle about 2:30 am, arrived home at 3:00 am. I knew the cat needed litter and the dog a walk. I took off for the 24 hour grocery. As it would turn out I didn’t know exactly where the store was. We walked for an hour to find a store that is 4 blocks away. In the end we found it and made better time on the way home.

 

What a long day, but everyone made it home safe against all odds. I’ll write more soon.

Yesterday two people came to pick up my treadmill. They acted like they had ben reunited after a long absence. So here we are three trying to move a treadmill about 10 feet and they keep stopping to have this long heart to heart.

I stood as a third wheel wondering if I could somehow sell this interaction to a sit com or something. Every few feet we’d take a break. I really am bothered when people act like you are wasting their time, I remembered this as the list of thousands of things that need to be done were scrolling through my mind. I over heard one of the women mention that she had recently started her own business. She and I got to talking. Her business is in selling natural skin products. I was shocked at the degree of similarity between her experience and mine. She asked me if I felt like a dear in headlights most of the time. I told her I felt like a Tasmanian devil in headlights. This is a business of action action action until you wait wait wait.

I am completely motivated and not exactly sure where to start. I assume like anything else context develops over time and the gems of time management will make themselves known. In public speaking they almost always need 6-12 months to make a booking, this is challenging for me as I don’t get any feedback in real time on my approach. I am writing proposal after proposal, throwing all that energy into a black hole, and then waiting.

Inn some of the videos from my last day at Microsoft a close friend mentioned how I didn’t think I am emotional, but I really am. He is so right. I was at 24 hour fitness last night at 12:30 am and I found myself oddly sentimental that I won’t get to meet up with Coach Aaron for early morning TRX. This is my favorite time with him. We both love TRX. We talk and catch up. This morning I was on my trainer and Camilla made a pile of things I had intended to donate right by my bike. In that moment I was so thankful for my funny little devoted dog. The truth of the matter is that I am sad to leave Seattle. There are so many people here I love that I know come Sunday my heart will ache a bit. That being said I’m feeling nothing but hopeful for y move to Texas. I’m excited for this coming season. I am excited to be a more active partner in theparariathelon committee for USAT. All things look good but I think the next few days may be rough on my heart.

Our House1!

March 16, 2012

Griffon had tweated a pic of our new house. I would take some pics with my iphone but it is dark out. It’s dark at night even in Texas. Yes, I’m still in my pajamas.

 

Millie’s Ice Breakers

March 16, 2012

I recently secured a pretty big international deal. Needless to say I am thrilled as things are coming together fairly naturally. When faced with a big intimidating task my tendency is to really start with the basics first then build from there. So I joined toast masters and started on their first assignment, the ice breaker. This is a 5 to 7 minute speech where you introduce yourself, discuss your ambitions, and conclude with what you hope to get out of toast masters.

I had taken Millie, Griffon and Geoff’s 6 year old, with me to a coffee shop. She and I have always been a good team. We have great adventures together and both really love the time we get to spend in adventures together. Out of curiosity I asked if she wanted to give an ice breaker speech. So here we are in a coffee shop a 6 year old and I giving speeches to each other back and forth. Millie gave a few speeches. In each ice breaker She leads with “Hello everyone, welcome to my speech, I’m Millie from America”. One of the interesting things about her is that she had been the tallest 2 year old in the world, since she was 2 she has only gotten shorter, she was taller at the age of 2 than she is today. Apparently at some point in her life she got spaghetti on her face. She is smart because her Mommy is smart. Her ambitions include having hair that is half straight and half curly, professional tap dance, and having a bed room in our new house. Millie apparently thinks she is a motivational speaker, she says “Here is the part of my speech where you are going to freak out, I am getting a room in our new house tomorrow, and you know how I did it? My parents”. So according to her thinking we can all get what we want if we just ask our parents. IHer speaches were priceless. She wasn’t so impressed with mine. Her bit of constructive criticism was that I should consider adding more jokes.

Have you ever tried to play basketball with a flat ball? Not like the basketball we play in my living room with no objective, foam swards, and rollers skates…. But real basketball? In 2010 I had been burnt out in a bad org at Microsoft, I had new management that I was having HR issues with on a daily basis, in addition to my ridiculously demanding schedule I had become deflated. I was a shell of myself. I needed somewhere to go on No notice to recharge. I called Griffon to see if I could visit her in Austin. Griffon has proven to be one of the most loyal, trustworthy, genuine friends I have ever had. I arrived a shell of myself, Griffon and her family took good care of me as always. I left at least improved and have sense been dedicated to reclaiming my life from the powers that be.

I’ve been in Austin since Sunday. I came down to give Griffon, a hand with the move and some shows she is putting on at The Fort (@TheFortATX). The situation is the She, her husband, and daughter is remodeling their house. They needed to move out for a year. So we decided to all find a house together. This will include Gavin from Slow Mo Guys as well. So I catch up on my blogs as I sit in what will be my new living room.

Griffon did an amazing job finding us all a place. Our yard is spectacular. We have a gravel walk away with flowers on side, a porch swing, a pond of fish… It’s a fairy land. I’ll send photos when I get a chance. I was having some serious apprehension around moving. So many changes at once. I want to better understand that human impulse to always rationalize the easy path. Moving is hard so I’ve been brainstorming daily reasons not to move. I am sitting in what will be my home; I am full of a sense of family and belonging. I know I will love it here.

Millie, their 6 year old and I made an inaugural stop at the corner store. Millie expressed to a cashier that I am blind because I don’t like to see and sometimes I need help finding my purse. She and I then took our picnic treasures and had a wonderful dinner on our new front porch. I can’t help but feel like this year will be the payoff for the past few years of workaholic exhaustion.

 

 

 

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