Monday, September 28, 2015

Emotional day

It's been a very emotional day. Had to go for a tubal test and an unexpected mother of an ultrasound to ensure my uterus was ok. My mom came with me. I call jay after its done and he asks right away how things went. I give him the cliff notes. I tell him I am going to wildfire with my mom and his voice changes. I get home he says he's going for a walk. I start talking about everything and he tells me to basically hurry up because I'm giving him all the details and so u want him to relive it. We are walking and I ha e Reese. Reese has a shorter leash. Get lectured to walk slower and give him time to sniff. Jay gets huffy. He asks want me to take Reese. I just give him Reese. Not with a fight. I start walking a bit faster. I get yelled at for walking fast. I seriously feel I can't do anything right. I am emotional. Went through a lot today. I dont need drama. Today is one of those days that I ask if it's worth it. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Columbia, Missouri

We arrived in Columbia via delta connection through Memphis in Monday, November 14. The trip was a nice quick one and home in Thursday.

Carly one of my staff members went with me to evaluate a consultant and see what a traditional workshop. Then we canvassed in Columbia to get a new club. All in all we had enough of lions talk and are glad to be coming home see our dogs and sleep in our own beds.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Florida, Finally...

Its been two years since Jim and Nancy had bought their house in Fort Meyers and Jay and I finally made it down there for a long weekend.

It was so nice to get away from the hussle and bustle of the city life and cooler weather.

Jim and Nancy have an awesome house and new in-ground pool which was super cool but we still went it.

We arrived on Thursday night. Danny picked us up from the airport. Since we arrived ate we just went to the house to relax. Saturday we went to Fort Myers Beach in the afternoon and went out to a few bars with Jays cousins Dennis, Patrick, and Josh. The best was the waffle house extravaganza after... hilarious.

Sunday was a nice relaxing day at the house. Nancy and Jim invited everyone to the house for lunch, football and swimming. We had a blast and jay even did a far amount of swimming which i was surprised. But we had a blast playing marco polo and colors with Beth.

Monday was our last day and we are sad to leave. But first we had to check out sanabel island. It was great. Hwe had kunceh and them walked the beach pickimg up shells and seeing what washed up om shore. Even Layla came to the beach and had some fun playing with a coconut.

I love Florida and i think Jay does too. Who knows maybe one day we will get sick of the chicago weather and move to Florida... never know. Could happen down the road.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Down Under Again... This time, Melbourne

Well, it has been about 7 months and I am back in Australia.  This time to Melbourne.  

The trip wasn't too bad by myself, I slept most of the time and on the way back I read an entire book, "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert which is the follow up book to "Eat, Pray, Love." If I didn't do this trip 7 months ago, I wouldn't have been as calm as I was.  When you know what to expect for traveling over 20 hours to get to a destination, it's not horrible if you do it again.  

Anyways, the purpose for this trip was to train additional consultants in Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia followed by a workshop in Ballarat, which was about an hour and half to two hours away from Melbourne.  It was great meeting everyone I have been communicating with and to actually see a workshop done in Australia.  

I did have a bit of personal time.  On my rest day, I walked around Downtown Melbourne and went up their sky tower in the Eureka building, which gave awesome views of the city.  In Ballarat, our hotel was right down the street from Sovereign Hill where they have a light and sound show about miners back in the day because Ballarat was a huge mining town.  It was really cool and all the consultants went so we had a good time bonding and learning. 

However, after about 5 days or so, I was ready to come home.  It's such a far distance to be by yourself.  I really couldn't get home quick enough. Especially since I was missing Jay's birthday - but luckily I was coming home just a day after his bday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Viva Peru!

I hit another continent in my world travels… South America.  I am in Peru!!! Every year, Latin America Lions come together for leadership training and to discuss improving Lionism in their area.  This year I was fortunate to attend to be apart of a meeting with the consultants for my program in Latin America.  Previous years, only the department manager went, but since Sue had another meeting going on the same time - I was able to attend and it was a great experience. 

I left Chicago on Thursday, January 6th with my co-worker Becca.  We went through Miami and arrived in Lima, Peru on Friday morning.  We had no problem getting to our hotel El Condado. We were trying to get into the headquarters hotel which is Casa Andina Private Collection, but we were unable to.  However, it worked out because our rooms are great.  We are right next to each other on the 13th floor over looking the city and have a nice large Jacuzzi bathtub.

Day 1, Friday:  After a quick nap, we started walking around downtown Miraflores, which is an  upscale suburb of Lima.  It is very nice.  Although pretty confusing to figure out where everything was and trying to get a sense of direction.  While walking around, Becca mentioned about going to Machu Pitchu.  How we are here and she felt maybe we should just inquire to see if it was possible to go for one day. I agreed, especially after realizing that there isn’t a whole lot to do in Lima and we have the rest of the week here.  So off to find a travel agent we go. 

We found a travel agency right down the street from our hotel.  They thought we were absolutely crazy for wanting to go for only 1 day.  Many people get sick from the high elevation, but we were determined to make it happen as long as it was
reasonably priced.  So after about a hour there, they were able to make it happen for a decent price, especially leaving the next day.  Our flight leaves at 5:45 in the morning, so we had to get up around 3:30 a.m. to take our cab to the airport.

Day 2, Saturday… My birthday!:  Didn’t get too much sleep at all.  Only about 2.5 hours.  By the time we got back to the hotel, packed a backpack I bought for about $10 the day before for our trip, talked with my parents and Jay on Skype, and then trying to fall asleep to all the crazy horn honking…  I feel asleep around 1:30 a.m.  Then my alarm didn’t go off and my wake up call was late - luckily Becca knocked on my door and woke me up in time. 

When we arrived in Cusco and what happens…. I twist my ankle as we are walking outside of the airport.  Not fun!  Especially when you have a bunch of Peruvian cab drivers outside laughing at you thinking “gueta loca”.  We had a personal driver Raylando who

picked us up and took us to our hotel in Cusco, El Puma.  He asked if we would like to see some sites before our train at 11:30 a.m.  So after some Coco Tea,  he and his friend Lee took us to Chinero where we got to see some Peruvian ladies make yarn and die it then they demonstrated how they make their traditional clothing, and other items.  It was great!  Then we went through a couple of towns where we took many photos.  The way of live in Cusco is very sad unless you have money.  Trash everywhere,  Stray dogs, dilapidated homes.  Very sad.  Really makes you appreciate what you have and where you live - that is for sure. 

We also stopped at an old Inca City which was really cool to see.  There were original doorways from the city and now
people still live there.  It was pretty awesome.

We took a nice train to Machu Pitchu, which was about 2 hours (I did hear someone say it was only about 10 miles away… but with the mountains, the train goes very slow, and the workers have to stop the train to change the track).  Once we arrived, there was a nice little city to do shopping at stores or the market to buy souvenirs. But we had to catch a bus to take us up the mountain… luckily I saw a pharmacy where I bought a bandage to wrap my ankle… and good thing too, because it was a lot of walking on uneven ground. My ankle wasn’t too bad, not sprained or anything, but it was swollen and sore.
Once we got to the top, there were spactacular views!  Becca and I had a personal tour guide named Norma.  She was awesome.  She was so full of knowledge and suggested good photo shots and even took tons of pictures of us.  It was so amazing to see Machu Pitchu in person.  As soon as we saw it, it was completely worth the money and crazy travel to get there to see it.  I mean, who knows if I will ever get back to Peru - so I am soooo glad that I went.
After we walked through the whole area, even in the rain towards the end, we ate at a restaurant and Becca bought me a birthday drink.  Then we went shopping at the market where I was able to get some souvenirs including some very cool vases and a small plate for a mantle or a table.  We then caught the 2 hour train back to the town, to get picked up for another 1.5 hour car ride with a personal driver.  We arrived back at our hotel in Cusco at 11:30.  Needless to say we were exhausted!  But again, worth every minute.

Day 3, Sunday:  We got picked up at 8:30 to catch our flight back to Lima.  Everything ran smoothly.  Got in on time, and went straight to Casa Andina to meet up with Sue to discuss our upcoming meetings. 

Later that night we had a welcome dinner with the consultants at the Maria Angola and this was the first time I met pretty much everyone.  It was great.  They were all so friendly and it was wonderful to put faces to names and emails.  Many know a little English so I was able to communicate with them with my little bit of Spanish.  Esta Bien!  I was also introduced to Pisco Sours, which is Pisco, Lemon, and Egg White.  It is a cultural drink here, and it is muy delicioso. 
Franco, my translator- aka- my lifesaver

Day 4, Monday:  First day of meetings went really well.  I did my presentation and was able to really stress the importance of why we do things and answer many questions.  It really helps to get to know them to be able to assist them better.  I look forward to future forums and hope I can attend to get to know them much better and continue progressing the program in Latin America.

Day 5, Tuesday - My manger was in with Becca’s meeting today which left me and one of my directors for our last day of the Extension Meeting.  It was very productive.  Each did a 15 minute presentation from a template I created and all felt that they learned a lot from each other. 

We also took many pictures with each other.  My consultants are so nice.  Many even brought me gifts from their country, which I will forever cherish… or eat. Lol.  

At night we had dinner with the consultants and the woman’s workshop participants at this wonderful restaurant that is on a pier in the ocean.  Great views. Everyone really enjoyed themselves. And we took muchos photos.  Everyone was smiling and having a great time.  One of my consultants, even bought me a shot of tequila.  He was surprised I took it like a shot rather then sip it…  I sooo can not sip tequila… gross!  Lol  the whole table watched me and then he called me a “professional” haha… if he only knew! Lol. 

Day 6, Wednesday - My meetings are done,  but I helped Becca out with her meeting with the woman.  It went really well.  We received lots of valuable feedback that will really help our association out.  We had lunch and then finalized the bill at the hotel for our meetings.  Then back to our hotel for a short nap before attending the opening ceremony. 

One thing that we will never forget is our experience getting onto the bus to take us back to the hotel.  Everyone was pushing and shoving, I seriously felt I was back at a KORN concert in the mosh pit.  Wow!  I wish I could have recorded it.  I think everyone knew there were only 2 buses and they didn’t want to wait.  (it was pretty… VERY disorganized, that is for sure). 

Once we got back, we ate dinner at this Jazz CafĂ© right by our hotel (and confirmed that there is a short cut to the hotel our meetings are at.. Figures, our meetings are over, but at least we have a few more days to utilize it).  It’s funny, all we wanted for dinner a cheeseburger, and you should how excited we were to see it on the menu.  Lol.  I also ordered this drink called Chilcano. Which has Pisco, Sprite, y limon.  Esta muy bien.  I am definitely bringing back a couple of bottles of Pisco with me.  

Day 7, Thursday -  We went to the opening session, which was nice.  Then we had some time after lunch before we had to be at the Presidents session, so we decided to go for a Relaxation massage. It was great!  And the best part only $20. =) 

After we went to the session and it was good.  Although all the standing really hurt our feet.  Then we went to Argentina’s and Venezuela’s parties, which were both very well attended, but really warm.  We then went to Sue’s hotel for dinner because we just couldn’t do any more rice and potatoes.  So we all ended up ordering off of the kids menu and I got chicken nuggets and fries.  Totally hit the spot.  On our way back to the hotel, Becca and I stopped at the Peruvian Theme Night and saw some cultural dancing and heard some music.  Then finally to bed to start day 8.

Day 8, Friday - We had our Extension Seminar which was well attended.  All consultants did a great job.  Then we were pretty much done for the day so I did a little shopping and ate some KFC (no coleslaw tho.. so sad)  Then came back to the room to pack.  I have no idea how I am going to get all of this stuff home.  My small carry-on suitcase is full of souvenirs and gifts I received.  But I will make it work some how. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Viva a Mexico!

 I was very fortunate to be asked to go to the Annual Service Leaders Conference this in November.  It just so happened that my manager Sue and the other assistant manager were going to Japan for a woman's workshop meeting at the same time.  And, it just so happened to be in Cancun, Mexico.  I was nervous about traveling internationally by myself for the first time, but everything was fine. 

The meeting was held at the Hilton Cancun Golf and Spa Resort, which was absolutely wonderful.  However, it was not all-inclusive.  But - I didn't min because the room and two of my very good friends Danny and Donny just so happened to plan a last minute trip, the week before, to Cancun - without even knowing that I was going to be there. 

Danny and Donny's hotel was about a 5 minute cab ride, about 6 hotels down from mine... but a 45 minute walk on the beach.  I met up with them the day after I arrived and ended up buying a day pass so I can eat, drink, and play at their resort.  It was great!  I am not much of an ocean person, but you really couldn't get me out of there.  It was such a great time.  Donny reminded me of my cousin Eric when we were down there 6-7 years ago - he was on "Party O-Clock" the whole time.  That night we went to a club downtown Cancun, called Bull Dog where we purchased an all inclusive drink package for $30.  We went with a group from their hotel and it was a lot of fun.  However, I don't remember much from that  night... good thing I was with two really good friends.  ;-)

The next day I decided, hell I am in Cancun - I am gonna go back and get the drink package since I didn't have to start work until 4:30, which ended up being more like 6 o'clock to go to the welcome dinner. It was funny how people were surprised I was drinking when I had to work later... but I was a good girl.

Dinner was very good.  One of my directors was also in Cancun for this meeting.  He and I work very close together with my program in Latin America.  So it was nice having him there.  We went to Beach Palace for the dinner and it was wonderful.  It was such a great resort.  But it was far from Downtown so I probably would never stay there. 

The next two days were meetings.  Our facilitators were excellent.  We learned so much from them  And it was such an honor to be with all of the leaders in other service clubs.  It was also interesting to see what their issues are and how much they look to LCI for guidance and information.  Next year the meeting is in New Orleans.  I hope that I am lucky enough to attend again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I attended a workshop in Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh the beginning of October.  I have never been to Pennsylvania before, because Philly running through the airport trying to catch my flight to Ireland (BTW, Not Fun!).  Anyways,  It was a great trip.  I didn't get to do or see much because I came in on Saturday, Sunday was the workshop, and then Monday I flew home.  But I was there during fall and all of the colors were changing so it was really awesome to see while driving down the hilly roads.  Each turn presented another great opportunity for a photo-op.  I can't wait for a new camera.

The training went really well and I also got to spend some time with one of my consultants from Arizona, Mary Michaelis.  We had a lot of good feed back from the 30+ participants at the training, which was great!  And as always, I love meeting new lions from different areas!