Posted by: raesalley | May 5, 2014

Demo & Delivery

When I went to visit family in February, my parents incentivized both my brother and myself to stop waiting on projects or trying to get their (willing but less physically able as years pass) help at major home projects. For us, it was our patio screening. We’ve been talking about getting it done, and maybe adding a deck or a patio to the yard along with a bunch of other little things that all add up. With their financial push, we’re finally getting things accomplished.
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In three little weeks, these guys came out and transformed that mess of timbers and ripped screening to a lovely brick patio with screened enclosure. The space doubled and we were able to add a beer garden table and a smaller seating area. Our 4×4′ garden that got added to the patio design has plants and we may even be making salsa this fall. And the deck warming was fabulous. I’ll have to convince my phone to show you.

Posted by: raesalley | April 11, 2014

Buddy Roo at Nine Months

He’s got the boy gene of watching big trucks. And is a complete ham.
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Posted by: raesalley | March 5, 2014

To maintain or replace, that is the question

Just when you think you have things organized, a monkey wrench gets tossed your way. My car, a 12yo Subi Forester, was overdue an oil change and had a warning light (brake) illuminated. Being responsible, I took it to the dealer and jokingly asked The Bald One “so, at what price point do we give in and replace this car?”

Don’t get me wrong – I love my Subi. She drives well, hauls stuff and generally a great car that got me through a rough spot when I suddenly had to replace my Focus after a run-in with a pizza delivery boy. The downside is that I didn’t get to research, debate or check things like “can it hold two car seats?” before buying it. Add to that my commute basically is a 50mi round trip fun fest and you are spending a bunch of money on gas in a car that is showing its age.
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So yes, at what point do you replace a reliable car that can get you from point A to point B? To date, every time I’ve had to replace a car the decision has been made for me. The Topaz I drove for a year and a half was driven into by someone not paying attention to the fact I was not moving. This brought the Civic into my life, which got me to college before sitting in the driveway for a year and a half while I flirted with an eighteen year old Toyota minivan. The minivan died a glorious death trying to get me home from Syracuse to Cleveland through a rerouted I90 and topping out at 45mph. The Civic then made the trek back and forth to Syracuse for the next two years before having the windows jam in the up position and the A/C giving up the ghost, so for graduation I bought myself the Focus. That Focus got me through Cleveland, moved me to Raleigh and through my the first three years of marriage before I stupidly got it totalled. That got me to the Subaru and now. So it becomes an agonizing push-pull of what to do next.

Posted by: raesalley | February 19, 2014

Jet Set Lifestyle

February brought with it a long weekend that I decided to make just a little bit longer. As the conference wrapped up last month in Phoenix, I bought plane tickets to take my kids to see their grandparents and some extended family along with snow and getting out of town for a bit.

As is usual in my family, I was going to be in town for a tiny amount of time where we had too much we wanted to do. Grandma wanted a picture of all of her grandchildren. That was fun, but then we needed to get adorable outfits that made sense together. And while we’re out shopping we needed to get a certain almost-four-year-old a pair of serious boots. Someone thought she wanted to go sledding. Or hiking. Or bird feeding. Note: none of these got done, but we have an awesome set of boots for hopping in the rain.

As usual, there was entirely too much food, lots of family and lots of crazy. We did also discover that Buddy Roo flies almost as well as his sister. But it was quick, fun and needed.

Posted by: raesalley | February 11, 2014

Is art worth dying for?

Is art worth dying for?

According to Matt Damon, that’s one of the central questions asked in Monuments Men.

I’ve been interested in seeing this film since I first heard about it about a year ago. The cast sounds fantastic, and from the previews it looks like it will be gorgeous to watch. The brief late night visit on Daily Show by Clooney just made me more interested in the film, but only enough to put it on my IMDB Watchlist. But it was that snippet pulled from a video with Matt Damon that made me feel like I need to see this film.

I’m not sure what to think about that statement though. In an era where we’re seeing arts (in general) have cuts in funding and being dropped from our schools, what does the future hold?

Posted by: raesalley | January 24, 2014

#SPM

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This was where Owl & I said good-bye to the lobby. It was a great meeting, but I’m glad to be going home

Posted by: raesalley | January 24, 2014

Finished!

For our last night together, the group of us headed out to Shula’s for dinner. This is a serious steakhouse, inside a nearby casino.

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I smartly choose to crash after dinner as I know that I’m up today. I have six topics to cover in an hour and I have to do it three times. Since not everything I have to talk about will be something, I need to bring my A game. I start with the hardest group and work my way easier. By the third presentation, I’ve got my presentation down to a science and am anticipating their questions. But the best feeling, after starting late and going long in the first group, was looking at my watch as I wrapped the final session to see that it was time to call it a day for everyone – meaning no surprise questions or “while we have you…” discussions.

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Nothing is quite as nice at a meeting as unplugging, a blue screen in an empty room and knowing it is all done.

With all the work done, there’s a corn hole tournament to play. I skip signing up to play in favor of trying my hand again at pool. I get lucky on my first game and manage a quick run of decent shots to win, only to go down to a ringer the next round. I switch to watching the tourney to see my boss in a close contest before getting to walk away with the trophy.

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Hospitality done right…

Posted by: raesalley | January 22, 2014

Dinner fun

The big group dinner this week was on-site at the hotel, at their Equestrian Center. Some folks will be riding horses from here tomorrow, but one of the cuter things were the young ones running in their paddock. To get to the Equestrian Center, we met up near our conference center rooms and boarded a wagon to ride through a river and watch the sun set behind the mountains.

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The food is fabulous, as is often the case at these meetings. There were also some native artisans on hand showing their pottery and jewelry. Conversation flows and stories are told from the year. The temperature drops with the sun and people start to group around the fires. I find someone and ask if there are marshmallows somewhere, just wanting to toast one or two. The resort does one better and brings out a small spread of s’more fixings. We even taught one of our German colleagues the way of toasting, melting chocolate and graham cracker goodness.

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After heading back in as the chill descends, I learn how to play corn hole. There’s beanbags, a board and beer is almost required to play. We lose, of course, but it was fun and a great way to bond with some of my coworkers. But now it is time to crash before more meetings tomorrow. Halfway through now.

Posted by: raesalley | January 20, 2014

Traveling Mom

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Now boarding – Owl for PHX

Mid-morning yesterday found me heading to the airport with Owl for a flight from home to our Spring Planning Meeting in Phoenix for some warmth, sun and conference rooms. We have plans to get outside, but so much of the time out here is going to be spent in conference rooms staring at screens and some serious discussions. My first leg took me to Houston, where I left myself a large layover to take care of things while not getting lost in an airport I don’t often fly through. (My usual preferred hubs are Cleveland & Dulles).
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Dinner break!

I tend to schedule my layovers in two fashions – so close I have barely time to get to my new gate or long enough for a leisurely meal somewhere with a table and chairs. Since I planned on the latter this time through, I found a new-to-me slice of awesome – UrbanCrave. It’s a small (~4 tables & about a dozen seats at the bar) place with fantastic burgers and fries. Better yet, the burger was stuffed with bacon & cheddar. Yum! I got to sit, eat and use the outlet at my table to charge up for the next flight. Then it was off to catch the next flight. We got in with enough time to get checked in & nab a drink with some coworkers before crashing to prep for day one.

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Good morning to PHX – hope we have fun!

Posted by: raesalley | January 3, 2014

Who’s your Doctor Who?

It’s after Christmas, which means that the Christmas special has come and gone. And with that event, so ends the tenure of the Eleventh Doctor (or 13th? meh). In any case, we now have to open our minds to Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor. Various places have written about how to get over the pain of “your” Doctor leaving (thanks Tor)…but it really is something only time can resolve.

Over the holiday, there was a bunch of rebroadcasts of previous episodes of Doctor Who, including a marathon of the various Christmas specials. We had them on for background noise, as Gummi Bear actually enjoys Doctor Who (her favorite seems to be Dinosaurs on a Spaceship). But she kept looking at us like we were crazy because we’d say we were watching Doctor Who and as David Tennant would enter the TARDIS she’d ask “where is he?”

Then it hit me: Matt Smith is my girl’s Doctor.

My husband and I have different Doctors…but we came to the series at different points in our lives. I enjoyed the Ninth Doctor, but really it was David Tennant who sold me on this time & space traveling alien. I’ve bonded with friend’s over his tenure and sniffed back tears over “I don’t want to go.” But it never occured to me that my girl would have Matt Smith as her Doctor. We laugh over the Doctor voicing one of her cartoon characters (Twigs, in Tree Fu Tom) and she looks at us like we’re crazy…and it is because she doesn’t recognize Tennant.

Next season is going to be very confusing. Hopefully we can get her through it.

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