Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Christmas card and a funny business trip

Hi Bloggers,

First up today is a Christmas card I made with this adorable SU image that my friend Kimberly let me borrow. 

I used my pencils with this image to keep it subtle and rustic looking.  I love how the effect ties in with this lovely patterned paper and the limeade paper.  I'll plan to make a few of these and send them off to our World Vision sponsored children in Africa & Haiti.  I like to find Christmas images that they may relate to.  Somehow the usual ornaments, trees and sleigh's don't translate to them as well as a simple nativity scene.

So, this past week I was on a business trip to the west coast.  It was exhausting, but actually a lot of fun.  Usually when I travel it's international.  I typically go to our main offices in Taiwan, Japan and Germany and train a large group of people.  Usually I travel alone or with my boss and while my boss is a great guy, it's sort of formal - well - because he's the boss.  Well this trip was different.  We have had a number of pricing challenges in the west coast.  Why - well a lot of the business on the west coast is manufactured overseas and it adds quite a bit of complexity.  So last spring we formed a team to try to minimize the issues.  One action of the team was for our group to be a resource to the sales force to help analyze these complex situations and develop a way to handle them, before we finalize a deal with the customer.  So, this trip was a visit into the sales offices to really talk through the complexities of their customers and ensure we worked together to fine ways to alleviate the issues.  So, this trip was with co-workers and the meetings were not about training but collaborating.    The group of co-workers I went with were a riot.  We all get along really well and we laughed a ton. 

Our first stop was Costa Mesa in southern California.  It was very nice where the hotel was.  There was a path around the lake and I got out bright and early and enjoyed a walk. Don't you love those palm trees???
The dining area was very pretty.  It was too chilly to eat breakfast outside, but it was nice to see the clean lines of the outdoor furniture and the metal and white color combination from inside the dining area. It was also nice to have someone bring me coffee and eggs.  One perk of business travel is yummy breakfasts!
So below is a photo ov our group.  I'm on the left in the red sweater.  Next to me is 'I'm low maintenance' Becky.  More about that in a minute.  In the middle is MG.  He coordinated all the travel and drove the rental car.  He drove very fast and there were a few times where one of us hit our head on the rental car ceiling as he careened over a speed bump.  Yup - lots of laughs over that.  His nickname on the trip was Mariah since we discovered he was a total diva.  He would insist on the best room in the hotels and tried to get upgraded all the way.  Next to MG was Neil, our resident comedian.  He had us laughing the entire trip.  On the far end is Steve - he's brand new to the job, but we all know him from his old job but he was pretty quiet.  No nickname yet for Steve.  My nickname?  I got the name 'babyface assassin.'  They all discovered that behind my sweet smile I was a determined take no prisoners type who hates to be wrong.  Sadly, they are dead on with that.  Ask me if your blood thins when you live in a warm climate after living in a cold climate and you'll understand.
So what are we holding?  Water bottles.  This wild and crazy road trip involved very little alcohol, just lots of water!  MG had a bunch of water bottles for all of us so we took a picture with us and our 'drink dejour.'  We were in San Jose for a night and then headed up to Bellevue Washinginton - right outside Seattle for our last stop.  As we were driving from the airport we stopped for lunch about 10 minutes from the office at this place called 'The Crab Pot.'  We enjoy a pretty good lunch and Becky says 'I bet they take us here for dinner.'  We don't believe her but we agree that if they do, we won't say a thing and just enjoy the meal.  Well, you know where this is going don't you.  We get to the meeting and they say 'we're taking you guys to 'The Crab Pot' for dinner.'  It took all we could do to not bust up laughing in the conference room.  So, here we all are (sales office included) at the Crab Pot.  The food was good and the menu was robust so it didn't even feel like the same place, but geez, what are the odds?

So why is Becky called 'I'm low maintenance?'  Well we went and had a beer after the last meeting and while we were talking she insists that she's as low maintenance as they come.  Neil and I almost spill our drinks when she said that.  I love Becky and she's not high maintenance but the night before she was standing in the lobby insisting to see a manager about a complication with her room and there are a million other examples of her being assertive and speaking her mind.  I told her she was the perfect balance.  I mean heck, low maintenance people often hold their feelings inside and don't ask for what they want.  That's not healthy, but it did make us laugh. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you have a great day.

1 comment:

Kimberly Gajewski said...

Beautiful Christmas card Linda! The pencils are perfect for this set! Looks like your trip was fun! :D