Saturday, May 29, 2010

Coming home

I used to travel for work.  Like an all-the-time, gold status on the airlines, Four Seasons leaving me a personal welcome back card and chocolate dipped strawberries in my room 'cuz I've been there so damn often (true story), kind of travel.  It was luxe, as business travel goes, and it's the kind of life that some people might enjoy.

But I am at heart a homebody.  This week I had to travel to Seattle for two nights and three long days to wrap up the work project that has been consuming my life for the past month.  I stayed at the W, where I had been many times before nearly a decade ago, so walking into the lobby started a round of flashbacks to a life I had long been away from and didn't miss.

The W Seattle is an uber-hip hotel, and honestly, I'm not sure I'm "cool" enough to stay there.  Once, a friend of mine sat down at the W's bar, looked to her right and noticed she was sat next to Harrison Ford, who was quietly enjoying a drink alone.  She told me they were there for like half an hour and she never once let on that she recognized him.  Cool as a cucumber, she was.

I walked through the revolving doors at the W after returning from work around 9 pm on Wednesday and was confronted with two turntables and a microphone.  There was a DJ set up in front of the door to mix tunes for the evening in the "living room" (as the hotel dubs their lobby/restaurant) which is turned into a club.  Fortunately it was early, so there weren't yet many of the beautiful people around to make me feel self-conscious of my slightly rumpled appearance after a 13 hour workday.  I am terminally uncool, and no one is at their best in those circumstances anyway.

The corridors leading to the W guest rooms are clad in dark wood and lit very dimly by the indirect glow of blue lamps, which means it always feels like night in there.  Kind of like Vegas, where time doesn't exist.  As an aside, I once spent months working in Las Vegas and stayed for a while at the Palms, another hip hotel, and there is something very strange about negotiating a Vegas casino labyrinth as part of your morning commute.  Stumbling out of never-never land into bright Nevada sunshine as you make your way to the office is surreal.

This week, the W gave me a giggle the morning of my departure.  The hotel reservations had been made for the team by an administrative assistant, so imagine my surprise when I received the invoice slipped under my door and I was registered as shown here.  WTF - really?  Have you seen me?  I must be the palest member of that club, ever.  (Not to mention possessing the wrong bits.)  The mystery deepened when we found that is actually the home address of one of our coworkers, a middle-aged Jewish white guy.  Not exactly your prototypical founding member of the club.

Back when I was traveling all the time, I gave up my apartment and commuted from whatever client location to D's apartment in the Cayman Islands on the weekends.  I was, quite literally, homeless - though never without a place to stay.  I kept a smooshable down throw blanket tucked into my carry-on bag wherever I went.  It could function for warmth on a plane or crumpled up as a pillow; I slept under it at airplane gates during 3-hour layovers in the middle of the night.  It made hotel rooms feel a little less impersonal.  Once, on a flying visit to Oregon when I had stayed overnight with my brother and his wife, I left the blanket behind.  My insightful sister-in-law was all "Oh, no, she left her blanket!"  My brother was like, "So what?" And she said, in a flash of understanding of something that even I hadn't yet realized, "This blanket is home to her, it's the only thing that is constant wherever she goes."  I still take that blanket on any long trips; that's probably one of my top travel tips.

My journey home this week started with cab ride piloted by this guy.  Seriously?  That's the best picture you could get, when it's required to be prominently displayed on the dashboard of your cab?  It either shows a wicked sense of humor, or a serious lack of care for the confidence (or lack thereof) to be instilled in your passengers.  No matter, I made it to the airport in time and in one piece, and that's what's important. 

Although I haven't lived here 100% of the time, Portland has been claimed as my hometown for nearly two decades now, and I have always loved flying home.  Watching Mt. Hood slip peacefully under the wing on approach... gazing out the window as we come in to land, eager to spot the landmarks of our beautiful city spread out below, as if I hadn't seen it tens and tens of times before.  And this week when I flew home, she did not disappoint.  We touched down at 9 pm in the glow of a truly phenomenal sunset, and 20 minutes later when I pointed my car west for the 35 mile drive home, there was still a pink, gray and blue twilight streaking the horizon under the night-black clouds shrouding the sky over the city.  I drove towards that light for 40 minutes, and although it dimmed, it didn't fade altogether and was still there when I pulled onto my own driveway.  It was like Portland had left a porch light on for me... and that made me smile.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Late arrival to the party

Lisa at curious girl posts beautiful photographs and hosted a "Color Week" beginning this past week and I was excited about participating, really I was.  Lisa took requests to assign a specific color to each day and then participants were to go capture color glowing in their lives and post the photos on the appointed day.

Then the 65-hour work-week hit and it didn't even wait until Monday to start. Something had to give.  But I had gone out looking for color and so, despite not being able to post on a timely basis, here is my contribution to color week - a rainbow of shots, better late than never.

There's a blog roll at Lisa's site with all the people who did actually participate in Color Week, so check them out and put a little color in your life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

She lives!

Hello bloggy peeps! It's been a while.  As my last post indicated, the new job has proved quite challenging.  In addition to working hard all day at the office, it has consumed quite a few of my "leisure" hours too.  And in the hours when I'm not getting enough sleep there are all those DVR'd episodes of Lost to get through before next weekend's series finale is broadcast.  I don't know why I care, but it seems catching up on the final few episodes after the rest of the world has already figured out what is going on there is anticlimactic.

So in between working too hard, sleeping too little and ignoring my "Upgrade Your Life" project altogether, I've undertaken another project (with less dedication than I'd like): to get really fit again.

Like many of us, I have a patchy history of dedication to the gym.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, an athlete.  I lack hand-eye coordination.  (You should see how slowly my mouse is set to track so I can manage to control it - pathetic!)  Let's just say I lack coordination full stop.  Watching me dance is probably only slightly less painful than this classic from Seinfeld... (I don't actually know because, blessedly, there is no videographic evidence of my dancing talents, or lack thereof):

Thursday, May 6, 2010

9 to 5...

Okay - more like 7-to-7 (plus).

I've worked two weeks at the new job, and they have been doozies.  I happened to join the company, according to one of my new coworkers, during a "perfect storm" and we've all been working our tails off.

But since I'm a glass half full kind of girl, here are the positives:
  • I've done every one of my overtime hours in the comfort of my own home - plus Fridays working all day at home.  This is a new luxury, of a sort.
  • At least it's not working for the craptastic management that took over my old company.  This past week they laid off three people with only a day or two's notice.  Makes me not feel so bad for giving them two day's notice when I left.
  • Plus - I don't have THIS guy's job (yikes!), but I do get to enjoy that view of the river and the city:

Saturday, May 1, 2010


These are favorite words that have appeared on my blog. 
(Click to enlarge)

The most intriguing thing to me about this is how it takes words completely out of the context of my use and, through proximity in the jumble, creates totally new (or sometimes painfully familiar) concepts.  Kind of like those fridge magnet word kits.

My favorites from this jumble:
  • wicked wish
  • growing confidently fortunate
  • unlimited potential
  • searching mess
  • unspoken awareness/hidden life
  • embrace unanswered frustration
  • baffles gorgeous sense
  • genuine unlimited soul
  • envisioned exquisite quiet infinity
  • craved manic motion
  • accept challenging grateful experience
  • embrace scattered thrills
  • fidgeting affinity
  • beginning surprised delight
  • clutter masterpieces (boy, do I have a few of those)
  • beloved wandering delicious creature 
Isn't that fun?  Now you go.  Head on over to to create your own.

(By the way, I cheated a little by copying in a bunch of my favorite posts and then eliminating the lame words to leave my favorites from the selection - otherwise my words would be all, like, you know, boring.  Also, you have to screen shot it to turn it into a picture.)