Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Aftermath

The stuff is gone. The door is pending replacement glass. And the insurance company has been notified. Now the painful fun begins. The insurance company wants a catalog of everything I owned including description, date purchased/received, replacement value and if possible, photo/receipt. I listed 65 items and every so often, I remember another. I'm sorting through an incredible amount of digital photos. I'm now in 2006 and started in 2001. I feel like I've spent all day entering information and the last couple days trying to remember it all. Some of the pieces that were stolen were from middle and high school. There are a handful that haven't been worn since then. On top of which, watches, bracelets and rings are incredibly hard to see in photos.

We're not quite sure what this does to our holiday plans. We were supposed to leave today to visit my husband's family. Instead, we're here until at least tomorrow when the glass should be repaired. The question then is do we drive south or do we stay here? We have 3 days open and the roundtrip drive is at least 12 hours. Are we insane? There again, can you put a limit on family time? I am fortunate enough to live very close to mine. We often enjoy Sunday dinners with my mom and see my grandmother on a periodic basis. While he defends that we saw his parents at Thanksgiving and his Aunt/Nanna in November, I feel selfish at times that we are so close in proximity to my family. Yet, I'm not sure I'm ready to leave this place.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


The last 27 hours are ones that I'd like to forget. It was any other day except the fact that we left work at a reasonable 5p to attempt some Christmas shopping. The phone rang and perplexed, my husband answered it. The alarm had been triggered. We looked at each other blankly and repeated into the handset that it wasn't us and they could freely dispatch the police. The drive home was silent. Both of our minds racing, wondering, what happened, was it anything, did something happen? The phone rang again, broken glass was found and the police were at the house. Someone would be waiting for us. We sat in traffic, knowing the drive would be no shorter than 30 minutes. The radio was so low that it might as well have been off.

My head raced. I knew my jewelry was not as secure as it could be. The safe that we had talked about for months never seemed to get purchased. To no ones fault. Somehow I knew. We arrived, jumped out of the car and ran inside. I quickly ran to my spot and sure enough 100% empty. Memories, feelings, beauty and it was all gone. Somehow after years of moving items from childhood and having never lost a piece myself, they were all gone in that instant.

I keep reminding myself that it's just stuff and that's the truth. It can be replaced. Maybe not that same piece from India or the random piece I bought in Brazil after thinking we could take a "free" ride to the jewelry store. But in time, there will be other meanings and other pieces. I still have the most important thing in my world, my husband. We're both safe, healthy and can get through this.

After that moment, we tried to understand the flow, the logic. We tried to reign our minds in to comprehend and ask the necessary questions.

The glass was everywhere, shattered. Pieces kept falling and with each sound, you tense. What is it? What does it want from me? I pace around the house, looking for something else to be out of place. It all seems too familiar and yet, so foreign.

The aftermath continues. The specks of glass don't come up as quickly as I'd like. I fear that we'll be finding them for months to come. While I work on each inch, I see the floor sparkle and all I know is that I missed something. I'm not sure how much or even how to rid the floor, couch, furniture and everything else of that taunting sparkle.

This is just the beginning. I slowly push my mind to remember every piece of jewelry that I once owned. What's unique? Is there something that could trigger an arrest?

I just try to hold myself together. The mind plays tricks on me. You look into the dark, expecting something to appear out of the shadows. I'm not sure if it's relief or more fear when nothing does.

I often feel that I can't explain my thoughts, my feelings, me. Violation is the perfect word. We thought we prepared the house. We thought the precautions were in place. And somehow, it only partially helped. What did we do wrong?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More Security

With each added feature that is supposed to protect, I find myself feeling more and more annoyed. A recent website update to one of my online savings accounts has resulted with two phone calls to reset my password (a requirement of the new system). The temporary password that finally arrived after the second call, now has me locked out. It's as if they don't want you to access your money. At this point, I intend to transfer everything out and close the account. While you feel that you are protecting me, I'm just fed up.

My head has passwords swimming and everytime a website decides to make certain password requirements, it makes me wonder how I'm supposed to remember the password. I look forward to the day when logging in will be a more pleasant experience instead of asking random personal questions to which I may and may not have answers. While single login systems have their problems, I have to imagine that it would be better than what we have today.

Besides the passwords for personal accounts, there's email, security codes for the house, gate codes, door codes and the list goes on. I always wonder how people remember everything without a cheat sheet and if you have a cheat sheet, where do you keep it to make it accessible? At the rate I'm going, I'm more likely to lock myself out than to login.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

There Goes the Weekend

My husband and I booked another trip for August! Between two weekends, we decided on the one that would leave us with open weekends on either side. That's because we have Vegas 2 weeks prior and our 1 year anniversary 2 weeks afterwards. I keep looking at the calendar and wonder where the year went! We're gone for all except one weekend in September and we're seriously considering a trip to India that will have us on the ground for somewhere between 48 and 96 hours! Yes, we're insane as it takes almost that long to get there and back. I'm excited for the prospects of adventure, but anticipating the level of exhaustion that may ensue. Let's just say, I don't have time for exhaustion!

Speaking of weekends, I'm super excited for tomorrow and my first summer Friday! I'm not sure how many companies do this, but it's brilliant! The idea is this - you work 9 hour days every other day of the week and receive every other Friday off for a total of 5 summer Fridays. I can't say I'll be relaxing. However, the schedule is packed with all the necessary appointments and activities that have been on the backburner for months. Plus as far as I'm concerned, I'm not working any additional hours. In fact, maybe I'm working less.

Well, the ADD is kicking in and I have 18 BVAs that stand between me and my weekend. Let's do this!

Monday, May 20, 2013

What are you doing to me Bill?

There are few things I remember about college classes at this point. As they say, if you don't use it, you lose it. What I do remember however, is an older professor in Finance who would often yell at the sky and ask, "what are you doing to me, Bill?" He was referring to Bill Gates. Like most finance classes, we lived in Excel. However, Excel didn't always like to play nice. Since then, I think my Excel skills have vastly improved and there are few problems that stump me. If I do encounter one that does, I turn to my trusty friend Google who almost always delivers.

From time to time I browse what people are posting on LinkedIn. I often find the articles more enlightening than those on Facebook and other social media sites. A friend posted this article on advanced Excel tips and I must say, it's absolutely fantastic. Not only do I count myself as an Excel guru, but I'm always interested in learning new features or functions that will make my life more automated.

For all the moments when my professor cursed Bill, I have to say, GOOD JOB BILL! Index-Match alone can replace the frustration of not being able to add columns to a spreadsheet without ruining a vlookup!

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Place You Can Go

We are each the sum of our expereinces, which is why I never believe in regrets. Sometimes experiences are trying and other times, they define who we are. On Wednesday night, I spent my time with a group of amazing women as we listened to 4 speakers talk about how Junior League helped them launch a career in public service. Each had a story of how the Junior League influenced their decision to join either a local/county/state commission or run for office.

Cat Carleton led SPAC (State Public Affairs Committee) for the Junior League in Calfornia. She said that what she accomplished during her time left her feeling empowered. When her son asked why the water fountains in the local park never worked, she decided to take action. She joined the Parks and Recreation commission only to find that they advise and City Council can make any decision they want. Desiring to make a larger impact, she ran for City Council and now serves the local community of Menlo Park. She emphasized that you get back what you put in.

Virginia Kiraly sits on the Fire Board. Again, her interest was sparked due to the experiences she had in the Junior League. She helped transition a Junior League led project to the local Fire Departments. She immediately knew that fire safety was to become an important part of her future. In addition, she has also served on the San Mateo Grand Jury, which led her to take on the task of starting a non-profit so that all our local schools are directly connected to first responders. This issue was identified through personal experiences with her son's school.

Karen Fryling - real estate expert and PTA President! Karen is active on 5 boards and encouraged our group to think about their passions. While she believes our community is what we give back, she also notes that you're only at you're best when you're truly passionate.

Anna Zara spoke about her tenure on the library commission. In fact, after 8 years, she termed out! She now understands why the government works at a snails pace. In a representative democracy, you have to listen to everyone, which can take a long time. As a self-proclaimed geek with a background in engineering, she used Junior League to learn about non-profits.

Each of these ladies is proud of what they've accomplished (and should be!) and each of them believe that Junior League helped them get to where they are. Whether it is helping them discover their passion or being able to take "safe" risks within the League. The League helped sculp their leadership style, espcially the ability to lead, inspire and influence volunteers. It's different when the consequences for not doing something are not concrete. Simple items become ever important in the public sphere like making an agenda and more importantly a manageable agenda. They can run a meeting efficiently with a defined objective, so that the meeting doesn't go off target. Together they reminded us that going into the public sphere is different than business. You CANNOT have your own agenda as you do REPRESENT a bigger party.

If anyone wants to get involved, we were encouraged to contact CA Women Lead. The organization helps match women with state commissions based on interest and experience. State commissions often meet 4 times per year, though in various parts of the state. The time commitment can be small for a large impact and from what I hear, there is a state commission for everything.

And of course, the famous parting words, connect the dots, meaning do your homework before joining any commission or city/county/state government. The last obstacle you want to face is that of competing personalities. Next we were told you must learn to work within the organization. From learning how governemnt runs to how to work within the confines of the the Brown Act, it takes some adaptation and emotional intelligence to make a difference. Lastly, have fun!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Four Legged

They are our friends. Our companions. They're family. They're there to greet you when you return home. They're affectionate anytime you need it. They become a piece of you, of your being and your history.

I drift between being an absolute wreck and being solemnly ok. Last night was rough. Alone with my two favorite pups and I couldn't have felt more helpless. Lolli lied there, uncomfortably. At times she pushed herself, only to end up yelping and on the ground. I slept as near as possible, shoes on. Whatever she needed, I wanted to be there.

I could hear the exasperated panting. I think it even seeped into my dreams. By 5a, I think she settled long enough to close her eyes. I knew I could no longer help by myself. Her legs weren't working. She was in immense pain. And yet, nothing but wags and smiles.

I left the vet this morning, her attached to a stretcher, knowing this was likely it. The confirmation didn't come until after four this afternoon. It's time for Lolli to join two generations of friends on fours.

Thank you for the fond memories. You wore red the best out of any of them. Your constant smile and happy charm brought a lot of love out in all of us.

Rest in Peace Lolli. You will be missed.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Where art though friends?

Every once in a while I miss the ability to walk into any room and bounce ideas off of fellow MBAs. And I suppose it's not just MBAs, but rather a group of people where we've shared the same learning experience. I learned from my colleague at my previous job who received the same 9 months of training that I did. It helps to have that common ground.

I was trying to explain something today and my director looked at me quite strange and just said, that doesn't make sense. I couldn't think of another way to explain why the average of achievements trended higher than if you were to take the sum of the sales and divide by the sum of the quota. And all I have is a worksheet that shows exactly that and not enough time to dig into the details before month-end close meetings.

Perhaps it's simply because my brain is fried. I spend so much time digging into commission variances that I can't seem to articulate them anymore. And frankly, I'm not sure sure what more the leaders want. I'll keep trying, but for now, after 12 hours in the office. It's time to home and have a beer!

Friday, February 15, 2013


Next Sunday will be the first game of my new soccer season! To say the least, it's been a while. I sprained my ankle the week of my brother's wedding. I vowed not to be on crutches for my own wedding. Consequently, I haven't hit the pitch since. In addition, I started a new job and I'm still balancing that moment when you simply decide, today is done! I often find myself reaching for that last item to be absolutely complete before signing off. I try to remind myself, tomorrow is another day.

To be frank, I've been swamped. My manager has tried to help me manage my things to do list, but it's been difficult, which is either due to me never saying no or frankly it making more sense for me to complete something than for someone else to do it. The result, I'm deathly out of shape, but feeling extremely good with my Excel skills. I finally told her on Wednesday that I don’t think I can take on any additional projects at this time.
I'm not sure what is going to happen on Sunday. I remind myself to ease into the game again, though that's always easier said than done. I play because I love it. I love the adrenaline. I love that natural high you feel. And with all that, reason vanishes. No more injuries. I theoretically know my boundaries, but I don't always listen to them. I never want to let someone down and so, I've ended up with a few injuries that force me to stop. I'm working on getting better.

Next week's goal: 3 gym days including a couple runs. Got to start somewhere.

Let's go SPAM!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


It's slightly after 2p and I've finally found enough time to heat up my soup. Every once in a while, I bring food that requires a microwave before eating. More often than not, I munch on a sandwich or something out of my lunchbox. I've found that on busy days, the latter is more friendly to my work schedule. However, it also means that I rarely take the minute for me. It'd be one thing if the shortened lunch led to either me leaving earlier or frequenting the gym more often. Sadly, neither is the case. In today's 24/7 world, we all forget to pause.

Rumor has it that it's good to leave your desk for small periods of time. It increases the blood flow, gives your hands a break from typing and lets your mind relax. Unfortunately, I know neither myself nor my colleagues practice this.

My responsibilities are very cyclical. Every 4 or 5 weeks is close and I end up swampped for a week. Things subside, only long enough to catch up on all the miscellaneous requests sitting in my inbox. Yesterday, I made a big decision. I shut down my computer and went to the gym around 5p. It felt good! It's something I want to do more often. Work is important, but so is health and well being. I miss earning points through Humana Vitality for my physical activity. It was the little extra boost of motivation to do something.

Outside of work, my husband and I have been spending part of our weekends searching for houses. The market in the Bay Area is not friendly and half the stuff on the market is overpriced crap. I cringe when I walk into some of these places and know that the sellers will get close to their asking price because someone else is desperate. It's a vicious circle that doesn't help buyers when there's extremely low inventory. At this point, I don't like or dislike the house search. The reflection just reminds me of the other commitments I once had instead.

I haven't played soccer since before my brother's wedding. Spraining my ankle made me realize that the last thing I wanted for my wedding, was to go down the aisle on crutches. Needless to say, I miss the game. I miss the excitement. I missed having a weekly activitiy that while it is working out, never quite felt that way. Every time I think about rejoining a team, I wonder if I'm in shape enough. I always decide no and say when I get back in shape, I'll join a team. After a while, I guess this is the cart before the horse dilemma. As of right now, I'm clearly not focused enough. However, if I was playing weekly, I would be forced to either get in shape or deal with the consequences.

I think it's really time to pause and focus on long as life doesn't get in the way.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

8p Dinner

When I started my role, I knew there would be a commute involved. My commute in Chicago was roughly 45 minutes door to door and at times varied by which bus I took. Of course, over half my time was spent alone in the city, so it really didn't matter when I got home. Dinners were simple - edamame, cereal and sometimes chicken. It was whatever would give nutrients and instant gratification.

The new world of the commute isn't bad in the morning. It's typically no longer than the 45 minutes that I rode the bus and more often than not, my husband drives, so I am allowed to pay no real attention to the road. The return is what kills you. Leaving before 6p almost guarantees that the trip home is at least an hour, if not longer. Therefore, we leave later to avoid the traffic. Sometimes the distraction is work and other times it's a trip to the gym. We don't live quite as far North as my friends in SF. It always makes me wonder how they deal witht he commute.

That said, I am not sure I will ever get used to the 8p dinner. We make a nice meal when we get home and for that, I'm thankful. Unfortunately, nice meals take time, especially if you want to make soup, squash or sweet potatoes. When I first started I corresponded with my old boss and mentioned dinner time to him and how much it bugged me. He said that his family of 6 eats dinner nightly at 8p. All that matters is that they are together and get to enjoy each others company.

The late dinner always has me on edge to leave earlier than normal, but whenever we do, the night always seems to slip away.