Back on Board

MV Explorer by you.

No grand entrance, no re-cap of the last 18 months other than to say that I worked, I played, I laughed, I cried, I fell in love and most relevant of all…realized that the more answers you learn, the more questions there are.

I am now an aunt 3 times over with the addition of a niece and nephew and so in awe that my family continues to grow and my love for them does the same. Just when I think it can’t get any better, any fuller, it does. So, I hope that all of you have found that the last 18 months have brought you the joy and insights of a full and well-lived life.

As always, just when I get to the point that I am itching for adventure, some opportunity presents itself. My friend and colleague Mike Zoll asked me the 2nd best question ever: “Would you sail with me, as my Assistant Executive Dean on the Summer 2009 voyage, the 99th voyage, of Semester at Sea?” Ummm….yeah! And here we are. We kicked it off in Nova Scotia and we will spend the entire summer sailing the Mediterranean. We will be in Europe and North Africa with 721 students, 67 staff, 17 lifelong learners and 3 teachers at sea, plus 22 kids of varied ages and sizes and crawling and climbing abilities. I cannot believe that after 9 years and 3 applications, I have not only had my dream come true with the first voyage in Spring 2007 (wherein the lucky narrator got to sail with Archbishop Desmond Tutu), but to be invited to sail again, less than 3 years later.

I am in my element in a way that I haven’t been in a while. I am growing and learning at a rate that surprises me daily. The blessing of being a young senior leader on a highly functioning team, is that I get to make a new mistake every day, and every day I also get the honor of bringing my expertise and insight to the community we’re building and the challenges that we face as we work toward getting all 838 of us around the Mediterranean safe and on time at about 17mph. 

And so with that. Check out our itinerary. Follow the Summer 2009 voyage on twitter (I am co-tweeting), follow me on twitter, or Facebook, and drop a comment with your name and address if you want me to send you a postcard from somewhere in North Africa or Europe!

Ciao Bellas! You have been missed.

Dirty-Five Years Young

Today is my 35th Birthday.

Maybe if I say or type that enough times it’ll sink in.

Today is my thirty-fifth birthday.

Nope. It’s still surreal. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that I am 15 years from 20 years old and 15 years from being 50 years old. I’m closer to middle-age than to my teenage years, and I only get carded for alcohol purchases if someone is feeling rather cheeky.

I am so blessed and excited to see what the next year brings. Last year I was on a ship, sailing around the world at 20mph with 900 people that I came to adore. A year later, I’m in a tiny hamlet, an ivy-league world away from the sights and sounds of India. No less happy, no less content and no less loved.

I am not scared or anxious about growing older, and in fact have enjoyed the journey so much that you couldn’t pay me to be 30, 25, 17…none of it, again. I will admit though, that I had a mini age-related crisis a few weeks ago. I was in New York for work, hanging out with a bunch of friends late one Saturday night and it was 2 or 3 in the morning and I had a moment of “what am I doing hanging out this late?

I’m almost 35 years old, I should be settled down, with a family and a house. This is no lifestyle for someone in their 30′s!” and I shook it off and toasted my friends, but I remember the moment so clearly that I can smell the air, I remember the quality of the post-midnight light.

“Where are you?” is the question most of my friends ask me when we connect via phone. And the last few days, that is the metaphysical and existential question I’ve been asking myself. And as cheesy as it sounds, I am here.

I am no closer to answers about what my life will LOOK like in the next 3 months, 6 months or year. But I AM closer to what my life should BE about in that time frame. And it is no different than it has been since I started this blog 2+ years ago. I want to live a life less ordinary. I want to inspire others to pursue their dreams and craft and construct the reality, duality, and lifestyle that they desire. I want to consistently choose divinity over devilishness, humanity over self, laughter over gossip, delicious over good.

I want to be good to myself and those around me, to drive fast with the top down, to travel thailand and europe, take a cooking class in italy, fall in love with spinning, learn how to fix my motorcycle, to golf so much my elbows hurt, to make love until we laugh, to lay stretched out in summer grass gazing at stars with white wine coursing through my veins, to cookout with my family in the only backyard that contains a shared history, to watch my nephew grow from boy-to-teen-to-man, to welcome new nieces and nephews, and surround myself with people of substance, my books, my art, my music and the fragrances I adore.

I want, most of all, to be healthy, to stay healthy and remain physically able to move under my own steam. To laugh and play, jump and run, tumble and skip. To be fully functional in body and mind, fit to handle the tasks of daily life and the pleasures in between. Because no matter how old I get, I don’t ever want to grow up. More specifically, I don’t want to grow out. I don’t want to grow out of optimism or pure joy, naps or frenetic movement, dreaming big and day dreams, learning new things and teaching little people, standing up for something or sitting down for cocktails.

I want, most of all, to be vital and vibrant enough to continue to build, maintain and sustain all the wonderful relationships that have enriched 35 years on earth, because without them, I’d just be getting older, but with them, I’m also getting better.

 

 

 

 

 

Try, Try Again

Despite the fiasco that was The Oyster Incident of 2008, I ventured forth and took another cooking class (#247) with two of my favorite colleagues, CJ (Left) and Bubbles (R). This class was “Pot Pies & Meat Pies” and it was deliciously fun. We made little pot pies full of all kinds of goody goodness (salmon, clams, ground beef, etc.) and then we ate some of our creations (including an empanada-like fried dish) and made some home-made potato chips! Yum.

Why I Love My Gig(s) / Clients / Job..Whatever

One of the BEST gifts I’ve gotten recently is a Harry & David’s gift box! The box was too much for me to consume on my own and it came at the PERFECT time. I brought the box into the office of my New England client, and shared it during a recent all day staff meeting. AND, we polished the goodies off with a champagne toast (don’t tell anybody!) from a bottle I had been riding around with for weeks (yeah, let’s not analyze why I’m rollin’ around with champagne in my car…lol).

Seriously yall, if you ever need to send the perfect gift, check them out. And if you ever need to send ME the perfect gift, look no further.

Oh, and as I mentioned before, this is why I love my OTHER client too…

 

*Photo of fridge at NY Client HQ

I am in NY frequently for this client, and last month we had a few days of strategy sessions, and friday night the office-based team hosted us for a happy hour. With.Homemade.IceCream.And.Cookies.And.Beer. There are only 3 other things in the world that I think about aside from tasty beverages and food….so I was darn near in heaven. And no, I will not tell you what the other three things are…but you can guess in the comments!

Oh, and as a Thank You to the NY office for the Happy Hour…We (the virtual team) sent a Harry & David’s gift box. Coincidence or Genius? You decide.

And tell us in the comments how you feel about your work, profession, job or 9-5! Are you doin’ it for love or for money?

The Oyster Incident of 2008

 

*click on photo to see “notes”

If this wasn’t so funny, I’d probably be more embarassed. Because I like to cook, and I like to take cooking classes, I have a repuation as a good cook. Which, of course, I am. However, every now and then, something goes horribly awry.

A couple of weeks ago I cooked dinner for SpinChick, a colleague, friend and in the top 10 Most Hilarious People I Know, as evidenced by the fake tattoo incident at the gym, back in December. On the night in question, I whipped up my Tomato Mozzarella Grilled Chicken, Garlic Green Beans, and I attempted to add a little Southern “flair” with some deep fried oysters. Unfortunately, the oil got a little out of hand, some oysters ended up a bit “crispy” and the words “should you use water on a grease fire?” were uttered, with a little bit of a scream at the end of the question. We kept our “cool” and used flour to smother the flames (not pictured). We prided ourselves on our courage in the face of grave danger (read overwhelming smoke fumes) and rewarded ourselves with a couple of “beverages” to calm our nerves.

Fortunately no people were harmed in this exhibit of riduclarity, I cannot however, say the same for certain edible bivalve mollusks. I’m certain that the Raspberry Vodka Tonics had nothing to do with it. Spinchick DID say “the two oysters that survived were very tasty! I can see where you were going with it!”

Who says people aren’t generous and kind anymore?

 

Me Too, As Well

My world has been Baracked. Hat tip to Erica. I too, have contributed to a political campaign for the first time ever. I was compelled to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, because really? It is time for a change, and we ARE the ones we’ve been waiting for. My good friend, sometimes housemate, always kick it partner, Kelli P, is a politico of the highest order. She will drag anyone, anywhere, to champion her political beliefs. She sent me a Barack pin for Valentine’s day and a card that was *ostensibly* from Barack. It was hilarious. I do wear the pin, with pride, and some humor. The person who matched my contribution e-mailed me, she lives in California, we’ll likely never meet. But that’s what Barack can signal for us, a change, a move towards unity. I know it sounds cheesy, it sounds idealistic, optimistic, unrealistic, just plain damn crazy. But you know what?

We deserve it.

All of us.

Black. White. Brown. Old. Young. Gay. Straight. Military. Corporate. Domestic. International. Capitalist. Feminist. The Ill and the Olympian. Our children and our enemies. Our pets, and our planet. We’ve got to get it together.

$4/gallon gas, $3/gallon milk, A war on terror (not working); A war on drugs (not working); A war on the environment (working); A war on the economy (working).

I’d be fine with either Barack or Hilary honestly. I don’t think either of them (or any figurative leader) can solve most of, not to mention all of these issues we face. But as Kelli so aptly and subtley put it on a cd of mixed music she made for me at Christmas: I Choose Hope.

Get out there and VOTE!

***ETA: Another thing about my friend Kelli. We spend alot of time together when I’m in Virginia, out and about, social butterfly-ing it up. However, I have learned to always check what t-shirt she has on before we walk out of the house together. She’s a raving liberal and wears outrageously politically explosive (in my opinion t-shirts) so I always have to make sure she doesn’t have on something like a “If you’re not pro-choice, I’ll eat your baby!” t-shirt.

Things That Sound Lascivious, But Aren’t

1. We got 6-8 more inches last night. Of snow, you pervs! I basically just gave up and went into the office an hour late in jeans and a sweatshirt.

2. I pulled a muscle in my thigh/groin. Unfortunately, not via any activity that would make such pain worth it.

3. I’m going to the home of someone I don’t know for dinner and wine. I know yall know me enough to know that it’s the “wine” part that tipped the scales.