Mira Mira!

I got back from Puerto Rico last week. I made it home just in time to help my baby girl get ready for junior prom.
The 7 days onsite were a whirlwind of activity.
Business meetings, lunches, dinners – all a blur now. The only thing I remember is Arthur, our crazy local photographer who would show up every day shouting “Mira!!” Which means “look at this”, “watch”, “come on” and “hello” all at the same time. And when you’re really excited you say it twice!
I learned a few things in Puerto Rico.
I learned that every Puerto Rican can read clouds and tell you how and when rain is coming.
I learned that almost all the food contains pork. Except for plantains and yogurt parfaits. Just kidding. The parfaits have pork too. I think.
I also learned that most people just want to dance.
Here’s some pics from the week – and although Arthur didn’t take these photos I feel the need to shout,”Mira Mira!” to you all.
Here’s some of the spaces we converted….from this….

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To this…

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From this…

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To this…

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And you know I took pics of the food…

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And did I mention there was dancing?! Lots and lots of dancing!

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Gracias Puerto Rico.

Hotel beds

I landed in Puerto Rico last night for our week long event. As with every travel trip – I unpack, put my bags away and try and settle in for the week.
And when we aren’t working – we’re sleeping.
And because I’m a creature of habit, this is what my bed looks like all week.
I could spread out. I could sleep in the middle. But I don’t. I sleep on my side like a robot.

Thought you’d like to know!

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My dog ate my posts?

Oh. Hi. How are you? Anyone still out there? Did I lose both of you? Wondering where I was? What I was doing? Why I haven’t written? Who I am? Well…I’ll pretend you’re nodding and explain. Or better yet – I’ll give you a choice of explanations and you pick your fav.

  1. I’ve been super busy with my glamorous lifestyle and haven’t had a minute to stop to post all the sexy details.
  2. I’m so dedicated to my husband and my kids that my entire focus has been on them.
  3. Work has sucked me in and I barely have time to breathe let alone write a blog!
  4. I got locked out of my account on WordPress. Then I realized that a new password would be sent to my email that I started the blog with. Then I realized that I started the blog with an email from my old job. Then I realized that I no longer have access to that email. Then I called WordPress and they said I should start a new blog…and say sayonara to all my old posts. Then I cried and sat shiva for my blog, decided it was over and tried to go about my business. Then I thought I’d start a new blog with different topics, etc. Maybe this was my chance to grow and change! Then I realized I love my little blog and I had no interest in growing and changing. So I called WordPress back and spoke to a “tech”, which means I paid a fee to get my old blog back – which I wish was presented as an option to me during the first call. Then I wrote an email to WordPress telling them that their customer service was terrible and it caused me days of pain. Then they refunded my money and said they were sorry.
  5. I had to finish House of Cards season 3.

Only one of these is the reason – although I did finish season 3 of House of Cards (it’s Claire’s world, Frank is just living in it).

Anyway, crisis over. I’m back! I’ve missed you.

Happy New Year! I’m talking to you Chinese people….

I thought I’d share my favorite non-PC story involving my favorite Chinese friend in honor of today. I’m sure she won’t mind. If you are offended easily or think this is insensitive – please stop reading now. I totally understand. I once wrote a note to the New York Times condemning an Indian Cultural Day they had in Central Park called “Curry in the Park”. I was outraged that they would define all of the beauty that is the Indian culture and reduce it to a seasoning used in the food.  How dare they! They wrote back that it was, in fact, a showcase of Indian food. Oh. Anyway – I get it. Racism is terrible. But sometimes….it’s funny. On to my story.

Let me set the scene.

I worked in a very serious, very conservative private bank in New York City. This was the defining job of my career. All my biggest successes and f’ups happened here. It’s also where I learned the type of team that I wanted to be in (and lead eventually). We were hardworking, sarcastic, funny and silly. If you made a mistake in our team, you wouldn’t be walked through how to do it better – you would be teased and laughed at. There was no training or “on-boarding”. You just worked like hell to figure things out while the rest of the team rolled their eyes. It sounds rough. But it was amazing. You developed all the skills you needed to be a good planner – including the king of all skills – thick skin.

We were also quite a mixed bag. Cold, stylish leader without a heart? Check. Smart, creative Chinese gal who bordered on being mean? Check! Rich, Hermes wearing Euro daughter of a client? Put together, chic New Yorker with an accent? Check and check! And me, a married Indian gal with a baby in her late 20’s. Let’s just say we didn’t blend into a crowd.

Sorry about all the back story but you need to know this in order to really appreciate the situation. So because we dealt with billionaires and people who managed billionaires, the atmosphere in the office was always quiet and well-heeled. Except in our area. We were always laughing and shouting and eating. A mark of most good event groups. We also kept to ourselves most of the time – not that anyone was knocking down our door to be included.

Then, one fateful holiday season – it happened. Our guard was down. We were invited to join the secret Santa gift exchange on our floor. We decided to do it. We even decided to go to the party for the gift exchange. All of us. Except the head of the group who spent December in Prague or something. We were going to assimilate! At least for that hour.

We all shuffled into the conference room and pretended to be excited. One by one we opened our gifts. Oh look, the strange dude in graphics got me a cookbook. How nice. The lady in accounting got someone a candle. Charming. You get the point.

Then. Our Chinese gal opened the first of 2 gifts from her secret Santa. Hmmm. Geisha stickers. She smiled. We stared. We started to feel the corners of our mouth convulsing – we looked at the floor. We looked at the ceiling. We looked anywhere to avoid eye contact with her. We prayed the next gift wouldn’t be ethnic specific. We were wrong. She opened a box of Chinese rubber stamps. Ok – at least this was the right bucket of stereotyped gift. (You say Chinese, I say Japanese…) There was no ill intent. The person meant no harm. But we were all dying. Literally bursting at the seams laughing. We never participated in a gift exchange again. True story.

I know what you’re thinking. How awful – that person should have been reprimanded. Oh no. You didn’t go to HR for this stuff. You thanked the Gods that this happened so you could hold it over your co-worker’s head! That’s how we rolled.

For months after we talked, relived, re-enacted the moment. It was like a Christmas miracle to our team. It’s been 14 years or so since that day, and it still brings me joy.

Here’s to the year of the goat!

(Please note that the Chinese gal and I remain the closest of friends and she had to help me remember some details. I remembered the gift giver as a boy, it was a girl. I remembered 3 gifts. It was only 2. Thank god for her. Chinese people. They’re good to have around)

Sights and Sounds

I came home from my work trip and heard and saw the following:

“We think the cat peed all over the carpet, can you bend down and smell it?”

” Do we eat the leaves on top?”

“Day drinking never hurt anyone”

“So I go poop right….”

Welcome home to me. Not all pictures go with all quotes (you’re welcome).

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Bacon and me

It is not a love story.
If you know me.
If you’ve read this blog.
You know I don’t eat meat.
Have never had meat.
Until today.
Long meat story short.
I was at a conference I didn’t plan.
For lunch they had unlabeled food.
I focused on the sandwiches and avoided the meat ones.
There was a cold noodle side salad. It had chicken. I moved on.
There was a another salad. I decided that it would be ok because :
A) it looked safe and green
B) they already had a meat side so this HAD to be ok.
I’m a naive vegetarian fool.
As I shoved the last of it down I saw this

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I moved the plate away slowly and chugged my water.
I don’t remember what the conference was about.
I think it was about bacon.

LMIAGPTL

You probably don’t know what that means. Or more accurately, what it stands for. It’s an acronym for a Facebook page about the community that I live in – Lower Makefield Is A Great Place To Live. Do you have this too? Is there a Chester County Is A Great Place To Live, Upper Darby Is etc.? Somehow I can’t imagine the same thing happening in other, bigger towns. It seems so quaint and so ours. You’re probably thinking what I first thought, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” But you do. You do have time for that. And it’s amazing.

It’s a place for neighbors to share a heads-up on traffic, weather and other happenings. Would you believe it’s a better source for local news than my local news? It is. I wrote a post a while back about a new grocery store opening in our neighborhood – well this FB page kept us all current on the opening, and now it keeps us current on when the good jarred sauce is on sale. Stop rolling your eyes and judging. I love those updates. I also love knowing that there’s a two car accident and to avoid the mall for an hour on a Sunday.

I’ll also admit that I knew nothing (nor cared) about local politics until I joined the group. But what I’ve learned is that local politicking is far juicer than the state. Right now we are in the midst of ousting a woman we believe is wrongfully representing us….because it was discovered that she lives in South Carolina now but is still on local boards! Scandal! Outrage! Justice! I’m telling you, it does not get better.

The site can veer off into drama sometimes, but who doesn’t love drama!? Case in point…(insert Law and Order music)…IF you happen to be driving by and want a Starbucks but it’s super cold out so you decide just to park in the fire lane while you dash in and out, a photo of your car will likely appear on this site – under the photo will be many comments chiding you for the lazy beast that you are. Or if…(Law and Order music again)…there’s a medical/police emergency within 10 miles of our community, I’m pretty sure we know about it the second the call comes in. It can be a little big brotherish, I admit, but for nosey rosies like me – it’s my jam.

Here’s the flip side of this page. It’s a hardcore business tool. It has over 3,000 members (some more active than others). These people stroll/troll/view this site every week, every day, every hour (people like me!) When my husband first started his small business, he spent alot of money on advertising in several different ways. It’s 5 months later and every single customer he has – 100% of his book – is from this site directly or from a referral. It’s no joke. It’s powerful. It giveth, and if you suck- it taketh away. I am now a complete and utter believer in social media marketing. It changed the trajectory of his company. It’s also how we find our favorite take-out joints, so there’s that.

And the site isn’t all about marketing and selling and policing. During the Halloween season folks would ask for random items they needed to complete a costume – and they almost always walked away with what they were asking for. The most commented and followed posts are about filling a local pantry or helping a family in need. Last year this site and the people on it, furnished atleast two homes with the things that family needed and couldn’t afford.

And the photos. I love the photos. I know everyone thinks their hometown is beautiful, but ours really is!  Ok I said it. My town is better than your town. Did I mention that we have some of the best Indian food and bagels outside of New York City, maybe even better than inside of New York City – and did I mention our local brewery is better than any in Seattle?? Just kidding folks. Calm down. In reality, if your town has a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods, our entire community bows down to you. You win. It’s not a competition you say? Sure it is. Everything is.

I hope you have a page like this, if you don’t  – go make it happen. It’s worth it. At the very least you’ll know which Chinese restaurant to order dinner from tonight.

Here’s some recent shots of Afton Lake, located in the heart of our bustling downtown (ha!). Photo cred to a fellow LMIAGPTL member kind enough to let me borrow the pics – thank you Nick Primola!

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