Monday, February 6, 2012

On the Road Again

I've been traveling again for work! Unfortunately, it's not as often as I used to with my old job, but I appreciate the time I'm able to get away from the office (while still working) to my favorite... you know it... W Hotels and the like. : ) Lately, my travels have mostly involved visiting one of our printers in Minneapolis, MN. I have a cousin who lives in Minneapolis, but unfortunately, I haven't been able to reach out to meet up with her due to the always tight schedule. I hope I get a chance to see her soon! I tell you, lately it feels like Minneapolis is my home away from home.

My last few trips have been in January. Yes, January in Minnesota! A coworker called it "Minne-snow-ta" the other day. This year though, same as it's been in Northern California, they've also had a mild winter. During past trips to Minneapolis, I've experienced 19 below zero wind chill factor, it's not fun. This year the temperatures have been closer to the upper 30's, here is a photo from a recent trip. Only a few inches of snow, but white and chilly nevertheless.

I've been primarily staying at the W Minneapolis - The Foshay. One thing I've been doing differently lately is that I've been exploring the downtown Skyway system. Check it out, it's fascinating! Did you know, when you're staying or working in downtown Minneapolis, you can get almost anywhere without stepping foot outdoors into the frigid weather? I've heard people liken it to running around in hamster tunnels, but find it functional and necessary for certain parts of the year. I like the idea of being able to easily get to shopping, restaurants, and even a Timberwolves game without racing from the car to indoors to avoid the weather! So far, I've managed to navigate my way past banks and even advertising agencies, to the downtown Target and Macy's stores. In the morning, it's nice to find more than one Caribou Coffee via the skyway before I rush to the car taking me to our printer or to the airport. Very convenient, I like it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My First OAC Hike

One of my new goals since late last year has been to find new activities I can get involved with on a regular basis. Most of last year, I toyed around with finding something new, but between my job change and not coming across much of interest, I didn't make any progress. Thing is, I'm tired of just being the "working girl" and have felt it's time to finally get off my patootie and branch out to do new things and meet new people. I've been keeping my options open, a new activity could involve something physical, something cultural, or even philanthropic. My only requirement has been that I get excited about whatever it is. You can't force yourself to do things that don't interest you, you know?

The first activity that struck a chord with me was hiking. I'd done several online searches and spoke to some friends, but until I came upon the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC) based out of the city (San Francisco for those who don't live in the area), I hadn't gotten all that motivated to take part. There are so many places to explore in the Bay Area, but I envisioned myself possibly getting lonely or lost if I tried to follow a map out of a hiking book on my own. When I came upon the OAC website I knew it was the place I needed to start!

My first hike was the last weekend of January. OAC organizes hikes (among many other activities) in the North, South, and East Bay, but the one that pulled me in was a hike to the Tourist Club in Marin County, north of San Francisco. It's a place I've always wanted to see. You can't get there by car, it's only accessible via hiking trails. The OAC group I joined met at 10:30am at the Pantoll Ranger Station, about 5 miles north of Mill Valley. This was about a 40 minute drive from my apartment, not too bad. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't the youngest or oldest person in the group. There were 7 of us and we were led by a spirited guide named Heather. She was just what I expected a hiking guide to be, she knew the trails very well and had some history to share with us along the way. The hike was approximately 9 miles long. Here's a photo of the group during our lunch break at the Tourist Club and the photo Heather took right before we set off on the last half of our hike. I'm 3rd from the left. Mom, my new Patagonia vest you gave me for Christmas is on under my windbreaker. It was great! Oh and sis, my new hiking capri pants were purchased using the lovely gift card you gave me. : )

Initially, I was concerned about the distance of the hike. Originally, it was described as a 6.5 mile hike. Since I hadn't been on a real hike since before my knee trouble began, I didn't know what I could handle or not. A few days before the hike, we received an email that they were considering extending the length of the hike to 9 miles and wanted to make sure everyone was OK with it. I thought about sending a reply in protest, but I didn't want to spoil the hike for everyone else or cancel for that matter. I really wanted to get out and enjoy the trails and see the Tourist Club. I decided I'd take a chance and just see how it went. This is a view towards the end of our hike. So pretty!

All in all, it ended up being a great day! The people were easy to talk to and the scenery was spectacular. The only thing I didn't capture were the redwood trees we walked through near Muir Woods. I still can't believe I hiked 9 miles! And get this... the next day, my knee didn't hurt at all! Is that crazy or what? I was truly shocked. Yes, a lot of other muscles hurt (omg, believe me!), but not my knee. I thought, "Maybe this is my new thing?!" At least, it can be one of my new activities. I'm already signed up for another hike near Pt. Reyes in early March. : )

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Niners

Ahhh... it was so wonderful, so reminiscent of the 80's... the 49ers in the NFC playoffs! Yes, I know. The 49ers have been in the playoffs between the 80's and now, but for whatever reason (living out-of-state is one), I spent a long time not being all that excited about our local team. Yes, you could call me a fair weather fan, but I hope you don't. I've always been loyal to Bay Area professional sports, I'm just not always watching or attending every game. I'm a child of the Joe Montana years, no one forgets about that.

Anyway, the run the 49ers had this year was monumental. Yes, we were all excited to get Jim Harbaugh as our new Head Coach, the 3 years he had at Stanford (Stanfurd) were exceptional. Still, no one expected this! One step away from the Super Bowl? It was crazy! This was going to be a "re-building year." One morning during the regular season when I was driving to work, I was listening to one of our morning sports talk radio stations. They said between the Owner (Jed York), GM (Trent Baalke), and Head Coach (Jim Harbaugh), we'll likely be seeing great teams for years to come. From what I learned, these three people are a great combination, all on the same page. Nice to know.

All I know now is that is got exciting. Really exciting! I snapped this photo of San Francisco City Hall on the way home from work one day. I love it! I apologize for the street light and the not-so-clean windows on the Apple coach bus, but you get the idea.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An American Past Time... and a Little Torture

As we've been experiencing a such fun and surprising football season with the 49ers that it's made me think about the amazing World Series run the Giants had in 2010. Last year, well... not so much. But, our beloved baseball team did the best they could under the circumstances. The highlight of the season for me was taking my parents to the last evening home game of the season at AT&T Park. I managed to score a great deal on three Club Level tickets behind home plate plus parking! I tell you if you haven't sat in the Club Level before, it's hard to go back! It's so nice to be able to retreat into the amenities when in need for a break and shorter concession lines. Maybe a Cosmopolitan too. Good times!

Trying to take a photo of all 3 of us. Not such a good angle...

This one's better!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy 2012!

Yep, yes, I know... It's been a very, very long time since I've blogged. Between the adjustment to my new job and wondering if anyone actually reads my blog (hi Mom and Dad), I took a break. I can't promise I'll be posting on a regular basis, but due to the fact it's a big New Year, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to jump on board again.

So, my new job is at Apple. That's all I can tell you about that. ; ) OK, OK, all I'll say at this point is that the commute from the city kinda sucks, but I like my job and the people I'm working along side. It also helps that I've always been a bit of an Apple geek. I think I've loved Apple since I sat in 3rd grade computer lab learning how to type commands on an Apple II computer. How far they've come!

Otherwise, I'm doing well. I'll try to post some updates on my knee and other things in life in the coming days. Hey, if you're out there... If anyone is reading this, can you post a comment and say hello? Yes, even you Mom and Dad. : ) Like I've mentioned in the past, my blog has ended up being more for me than anyone else, but if you're out there please let me know!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Last Day

Today was my last day with Gap Inc. It was bittersweet. I spent 4 years of my life working my butt off for Old Navy. Yes, sometimes it was stressful, I worked late nights and sometimes on weekends. Yet, I loved my job. Being laid off came as a shock and I still can't quite believe it happened.

As my colleague destroyed my employee discount card in front of me (nice, huh?), I took my first step into the next stage of my career. I've planned to take a week off before I embark on my new job with Apple Inc! Apple has hired me on as a Print Production contractor from mid-July until the end of November. The position is similar to the one I had at Old Navy, color retouching, negotiating with printers, press checks, etc. Instead of color retouching models and clothing, I'll be reviewing color for screens and hardware. As of now, the position is short-term, but we'll see what happens. I accepted the offer mainly for the opportunity to work for Apple, who wouldn't want that? But, the job also appeals to me because I've been told there is a possibility the position could be extended beyond November. It was an opportunity I couldn't refuse!

The only down side is the commute... 50 miles south to Cupertino, California. Ugh. That's over an hour of driving each way and my Jeep isn't the most gas-efficient vehicle. I'm planning to try the Apple coach buses from SF to Cupertino and see how that goes. Wish me luck!