Showing posts with label Work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Work. Show all posts

17 June 2014

Take It To The Bridge

Together with a dozen or so present and former colleagues, Ryan and I handed out water and Gatorade to roughly 8,200 runners in the annual Summerfest Rock ‘n Sole Run last Saturday. We manned Water Station #3 at the top of the Hoan Bridge. It was a wee bit early, we started at 5 AM, but the spectacular view more than made up for the hour!

Handing Out Water to the Runners
Hoan Bridge
Hoan Bridge Up Close
Lake Michigan
Milwaukee Art Museum

04 June 2014

Back By Popular Demand

I was recently requested on Facebook to do a little blogging. I guess I should if I mean to keep this online diary somewhat up to date. And in truth, we have had some big changes around here since my last post. (My butt is all better, by the way, though it took a lot longer than seven to ten days.)

Big Change One

Santa Claus brought Lola a kitten for Christmas. She really, really, really wanted one and he caved, knowing that Sandman is still not a fan of her and she does love animals so. Fluffy, who also goes by the name Junior, is a cute little puffball. Contrary to what the book says about Birman cats, he is a very vocal cat. We try to train him to be quiet, by spraying him with water when he gets out of control, but it does us little good. He does seem to have developed a love for bathtubs and holds no grudges whatsoever about the water. Sandman has warmed up to him, after pouting for a little bit, and while they do not snuggle, they do play together every day.

Big Change Two

After many frustrating and fruitless attempts to find gainful employment in Milwaukee, I have finally returned to work. I too work for our friendly local cable provider now, just like my husband. After two weeks of intense training, I am learning the job on the job. I am in the quality control business now, where my attention to detail and somewhat anal tendencies are put to good use. It’s fun. I like my colleagues and for the first time in my life, I can ride my bike to work. Not that I have, but I could if I wanted to.

Big Change Three

We have moved. Again. As soon as it became obvious we would be staying in Milwaukee for a while, we started looking for a place of our own. Our apartment was fabulous, but the price tag was not, and there were a few other things as well. We bought a cute little house a couple of blocks down the street and we moved into it last weekend. You would think with all this moving experience we would know better than to underestimate the job, but no. However, it’s done and the place looks like a hoarder’s paradise. After three days of searching for it, I have finally located the missing coffee maker. Next on the docket is creating a path to the cable outlets so that our friendly local cable provider can transfer our services.

So much for the most recent adventures from the Southside. I am sure there is more, and who knows, perhaps I will be a little more disciplined in the future and post on a semi regular basis again. Maybe even include a few pictures. Just as soon as I can find my computer. And the charger. And my camera. And the cable to connect my camera to the computer…

10 July 2013

New Town, New Title

Five years Ryan promised me. Five years in this house. He gave me two. Which is still a record, I have to say. To be fair, he didn't really have a choice. His new job is in Milwaukee and that three hour commute from the Northwoods wasn't going to cut it. But that doesn't change the fact that once again we are moving and I still hate it with a passion.

Since we're going to the big city, we opted for the full on urban experience. We rented a loft. This country life I have fallen in love with has come to a temporary halt. Our goal is still a B&B in the middle of nowhere at some point in the future. But that's at least ten years from now and in the meantime we will go through life as city slickers.

We moved about half of our stuff, the essentials, to Milwaukee at the end of June. But if you recall, we had roughly 400 plants started for our garden this year. Since our loft comes with a 5,000 square feet roof deck with ample space for gardening, the slightly overgrown plants came with. Our U-Haul looked like a jungle.

What we are lacking at the moment is storage space. We no longer have a pantry, an attic, a basement, or a garage. Nor do we have dressers and a hutch. Those big pieces of furniture were left behind in favor of the plants. We are not sure if we should leave them up north for staging purposes or just get it all over with and rent another big truck.

I still work in Green Bay two days a week. As long as the house is still ours, I sleep there on the floor. Every time I go back, I pack up a box or two, three, and bring them back with me. I also take advantage of the internet connection because that has not yet been set up in the new house. Nor has the phone.

The joys of starting over. Soon we will have it all organized again. Soon...

03 May 2013

Of Aliens And Citizens

I have a new job! And a fun one, too. The technical college in the area, together with a local literacy organization and a nonprofit agency of the diocese, has received a federal grant to assist permanent residents in becoming US citizens. They need a coordinator to market the program, keep track of the applicant progress data, and run quarterly reports for the government. Who better for the job than your friendly resident alien? Thankfully, the college thought so too.

And so I make the trek south three days a week. It’s a great program and I really enjoy being part of it. Permanent residents who are interested in becoming citizens are offered assistance with filing the naturalization application, English language and US civics classes, and the possibility to practice citizenship interviews, all free of charge. As the coordinator who navigates between the three partners and the applicants, I hope to meet many interesting people on this road to citizenship.

18 October 2012

Woman At Work

So I have been a bit of a slacker lately but only on the blogs, I promise. In fact, I have been hard at work for the past two months. It started with various projects for my husband’s employer that I was usually able to do from home. Slowly it progressed to a near full time job. And since the first of this month I happily commute to the UP every day. I do a little marketing, a little project management, and whatever else comes my way. It’s fun. Lola is back in day care and lovin’ it.

Of course, something’s gotta give, and that’s the blogs. I participated in my very first craft fair and was reasonably successful at it. (It was cold that day, though. It even snowed a little bit.) I try to keep a clean house and am reasonably successful at that, too. We purchased a dishwasher to assist with household tasks. It sits in our garage, patiently waiting to be installed. We want to tile the kitchen floor first. Makes sense, doesn’t it? And so I wait patiently as well.

Summer is officially over. It is full on fall here. I have seen some gorgeous colors come by on my commute but the rain and wind of the last few days have blown most leaves off their branches. We spent a couple of lovely weekends camping up in the UP on the Keweenaw Peninsula. We putzed around looking for property to realize our B&B dream on. We tried one on for size and squatted on the land for a night. Nice spot with a perfect view of Mount Bohemia.

Lola is back in school, a true kindergartner. She is learning to read and write. It’s fun hearing her sound out letters and watching her write them. She can almost count to a hundred now. No more skipping the number seventeen, and getting confused at twenty. Just like that, it clicked. She has been getting into a little bit of trouble every now and then, mostly for talking too much. But she genuinely seems to be enjoying school. She had enrolled in dance again and goes to girl scouts every other Monday.

That’s pretty much it, I think. You’re all caught up. I will try to upload some pictures this weekend to accompany the aforementioned events. But I am also working on Lola’s Halloween costume (she will be a mermaid this year), sewing a custom order for a client, and getting my Etsy shop ready for the upcoming holidays. So I can’t make any promises.

19 October 2011

Adventures Of A Housewife

You may have noticed it's been a little quiet around here lately. I know. It really bothers me, in fact. It's not that I have nothing to share, there is more than enough. There is a plethora of pictures to publish: the local fall festival, the pumpkin patch, Lola's field trip to the apple orchard. Ryan I have been to beautiful Bayfield to celebrate our fifth anniversary. We have visited family down South. We have all been sick over the past three weeks. And then there's the kitchen update. I am sure you would like to see what those lovely pee stained doors look like and if they've grown on me. Why yes, they have.

So why the silence? Because there is something I have to write about first, something I have been struggling with. I am looking for a new job. Why? Because I lost the one I had. About a month ago I was told my position had been eliminated, effective immediately. In fact, an entire layer of management would be cut out, I was told. Seeing that the casino is a bit top heavy in that respect, it makes perfect sense to me from a business perspective. From a personal standpoint, not so much. Enough said.

Dancing around that subject has caused me to clam up, save that one extremely frustrating kitchen cabinet door incident. I have started several posts, but haven't been able to finish a single one. Now that my secret is out, it should get better. So brace yourselves for lots of fall pictures. In between the job applications and painting projects, there is plenty of time to update you on the adventures of a housewife.

05 May 2011

A Long Time Coming

About two years ago, when we were still living out west, a local cable company installed underground cable all around the lake here in Crandon, a very costly endeavor. Yet not a single attempt was made to sign any of the residents up for services. No phone calls, no direct mail, nothing. Ryan did a little research and sent the General Manager of the company a friendly letter, expressing his surprise at the absence of a sales force, and enclosing his resume.

About a year and a half ago, after I had already moved to Crandon to start my job here, Ryan checked his email one last time before he disconnected his computer to pack it up in the moving truck he was about to drive to Wisconsin. In his inbox was a reply to his letter from the General Manager, stating he would like to meet with Ryan as soon as he got settled in.

About fourteen months ago, the three of us drove to the UP for Ryan’s interview. It was a most memorable trip. A somewhat nervous interview candidate dressed in his very best suit. A muffler dragging over the road announcing the candidate’s arrival from miles away. A frantic wife lying on her belly in the middle of County Road C trying to forcefully remove the muffler. The candidate and his wife arguing about whether or not the muffler could simply be yanked off (it couldn’t).

Unlike the drive up, the meeting itself was a success. Unfortunately all that was offered to Ryan at the time was to work as an independent contractor. After careful consideration, Ryan decided that this was not the right opportunity and he politely turned it down. It was met with understanding and without any hard feelings. From time to time the General Manager would even contact Ryan to see what he was up to.

About four weeks ago, the General Manager approached Ryan again and asked him if he would like to talk about the position of Business Development Manager. Of course he would.

He started on Monday.

15 April 2011

A Taste Of Summer

Ryan is visiting with his parents in Arizona at the moment, enjoying some lovely summer weather. We spoke earlier today and I told him it is cold here. The wind is blowing hard, I am waiting for the power to go out, and tomorrow we are expecting three to five inches of snow. That made him happy. I'll bet. Just last week it was the other way around. I was basking in the Arizona sunshine while he was stuck in winter.

I was in Arizona for the annual National Indian Gaming Association's Conference and Trade Show. This was my second time and it was better than last year. I met some old and new business contacts, watched my old boss win a Harley Davidson, and participated in some very interesting workshops. But most of all, I enjoyed the weather.

Walking in Phoenix in the warm evening breeze reminded me of my vacations in Spain during my high school and college years. Pasty white skin, dolled up for an evening on the town, we would wander the streets of Blanes or Malgrat de Mar and enjoy the warm weather and the local charm. The Arizona locals complained it was cold outside one morning, a lovely 70 degrees, forcing me to pipe in and tell them they don't know what cold outside is.

Downtown Phoenix is a strange mix of old and new. Of European architecture, Latino architecture, and modern office and hotel buildings, rising above everything else. The vivid pink and red flowers and fresh green trees brighten up the drab colored buildings. The strawberries taste sweeter in Arizona, I found. The cars are nicer, classier, and cleaner. Phoenix is a very clean city. Surprisingly so because I had a very hard time finding a trash can on the streets.

One afternoon I stopped in to visit St. Mary's Basilica, Phoenix' oldest Catholic church just passed the Convention Center. It was a quiet and peaceful haven. The large cross facing the modest front doors was dressed in purple for Lent. Inside it was cool but not cold. Only one other visitor was sitting in the pews, silently praying. The stained glass windows were beautiful, as was the colorful dome. When I went to light a candle, a surprise awaited me. No doubt as a result of local fire code, I could not actually light a candle but had to push a button to ignite a small flickering electric light. Ah, progress...

08 February 2011

Zoltar Speaks

Do you remember Zoltar? The fortune teller from the movie Big who granted an eleven year old Tom Hanks's wish to be big? I met him the other day in San Francisco. He resides on Fisherman's Wharf and will tell you your fortune for a dollar. I asked him to read mine.

"You may be wondering if now is a good time to travel."


We were not supposed to go to San Francisco. The plan was to fly from Palm Springs via San Francisco to Chicago and then on to Green Bay. However, the Storm of the Century prevented that. And so we came to spend the day in an uncharacteristically sunny Golden Gate City.

After finding a place at the airport to store our luggage for the day, we took the train to down town San Francisco and started walking. We walked all the way to Fisherman's Wharf, where we purchased some comfortable shoes because our feet were starting to kill us, and admired the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz from afar.

Then we meandered over to China Town. It truly was meandering because while the map we were given showed a straight line from Pier 39 to Grant Street, there was this little bump called Nob Hill in the way. By the time we found China Town, our feet, our legs, and our backs were seriously protesting.

I loved China Town, in spite of the physical pain I was starting to feel. The markets and shops with little trinkets, the street decor (Chinese New Year had just started), and the mix of locals and tourists wandering the narrow streets. I bought some souvenirs for my loved ones and talked myself out of buying an authentic Chinese wok.

We ended the day at the mall. One of my companions had won some money at the casino which was burning a hole in her pocket. All I wanted to do was visit H&M. We didn't stay very long. After nine hours of walking our comfortable shoes were no longer comfortable and we took the train back to the airport.

We left San Francisco at one in the morning on the Red Eye. Thanks to Laura at the Palm Springs airport we were given seats in the extra legroom section. We returned to Green Bay at 11 AM, dead tired. A two hour drive later, I was finally home. My bed has never felt so good.

04 February 2011

While I Was Gone

I was in sunny California for the last five days, attending a conference on Indian Gaming Marketing in the desert town of Palm Springs. It was a great conference, very educational, engaging, and fun.

While I was gone:

* The Storm of the Century raged over the Midwest, covering the region in a two feet thick blanket of snow. All air traffic came to a complete stop, extending my stay on the West Coast by 24 hours.

* The folks at XM Radio came to see the error of their ways. We are once again in good standing with them. In fact, our account now shows a mysterious $53.28 credit for future use. They even turned the radio back on after some prodding on our part because that was one detail they overlooked.

* Lola came down with a 24 hour stomach bug, giving Ryan the joy of cleaning our child and her bed three times during the night. When Lola and I talked about it yesterday, she was adamant she did not have a bug because she did not eat one. "Don't say that to me!"

* Despite the airports of both Green Bay and Dallas being shut down due to weather, the Packers made it to Texas for the upcoming Super Bowl. Everything is green and gold here in anticipation of the Big Game. Unfortunately our projector broke and I have to watch the game in the bedroom.

For your amusement, here are a few Texans struggling with Wisconsin city names:

Here's a challenge for the Wisconsinites feeling all smug after watching this: try pronouncing the name of the Washington city Puyallup. It took me almost a year before I got it right.

16 January 2011

One Of Those Mornings

There are a couple of work reports I need to write that I really have to sit down for and concentrate on. However, the daily hustle and bustle of the casino hasn't allowed for it. My intended solution was to go in nice and early and arrive before everyone else. To aid in my early departure I had prepared everything the night before. I prepped the coffee, I laid out my clothes, and all the chopping and browning for my slow cooker meal was done.

I got up shortly after 5 am, got dressed, and made myself a cup of coffee. As I started loading the ingredients in the crockpot, something seemed off. Three cups of rice and only half a cup of water? I looked at the recipe again.

Snag #1: the recipe called for cooked rice.

No problem. I hauled out the rice cooker, filled it up, and turned it on.

Snag #2: sometimes our rice cooker jumps back to the "warm" setting.

When I walked into the kitchen twenty minutes later, my rice was not done. I turned it on again. Why hadn't I just cooked the rice on the stove? By this time, I was running seriously late. Lola had gotten up in the meantime and I dressed and fed her. When my meal was finally ready to go, it was almost 8 o'clock. We decided I would take Lola to daycare and Ryan would pick her up, instead of the other way around, so I could work a little later to make up some time.

I dropped Lola off and was on my way. I was happily driving along, bopping to the music, feeling pretty good. There was no sense in stressing over lost time since there was nothing I could do about it. The sun was shining and the roads were clear.

Snag #3: at the Oneida/Forest county line a power line had fallen onto the road and all traffic had come to a full stop.

For the first time ever since I moved to Wisconsin I was stuck in traffic. I reached for my blackberry to call work and answer some emails while I was waiting.

Snag #4: my blackberry was still sitting on my nightstand.

Since Big Blue has a built-in cell phone, I was able to let my staff know I was going nowhere at the moment and I would be very late coming in. I also called Ryan to chat.

Snag #5: Ryan was not too far behind me, on his way to a dentist appointment that had already been rescheduled three times.

I told him to let them know he probably wouldn't make it. Not too long after that though, WPS pulled the power line back up and everything started moving again. Ryan made it in time and I finally clocked in at 9:52 am. Only three hours late.

15 January 2011

Happy 2011!

I started this post on New Year's Day, hence the title. I could have sworn there was a picture of an eagle here before. You see, as I was sipping my coffee outside on that crisp January 1 morning, there was an eagle soaring overhead. I watched that eagle for a good ten minutes, marveling at its beautiful and graceful movements. What a wonderful sight to start the new year with.

I went back inside to share it with you, only to find the router had crashed, bringing my resolution of posting twice a week to a screeching halt. The problem has long since been fixed but life happened and blogging did not. To bring you up to speed on our adventures, here are the cliff notes.

* The casino's Marketing Director left and I am now pulling double duty. It's been hectic to put it mildly.

* I have taken up belly dancing classes. Every Thursday evening, I shake my pelvis for an hour with four other middle-aged women. We look silly, we feel silly, but our pelvises love it.

* Lola has entered the Princess Phase. In addition to a tiny Cinderella doll with rubber dresses (that I have to dress and undress), she is now the proud owner of pink and silver princess sneakers that light up when she walks. While we were making our way to the cashier after picking them out, she told every single person in the store she had new shoes.

* Ryan and I went on a date this week. Nothing spectacular, just drinks and dinner. We are going to do this every month. I just hope our next dates go better than this one did. We must be out of practice. Come to think of it, we never dated. We pretty much met and got married. We obviously need to do it more often. Practice makes perfect.

* The whole family received ice skates from Santa Claus. We tied them under last week and went skating in the park. It was after dark and we had the rink to ourselves. We didn't skate very long but we had fun. It was Lola's very first time on skates. In two weeks, we are taking her skiing.

* While we were skating in circles, there were two cars parked outside the rink, one with its door wide open. We looked around but didn't see or hear anyone. Very strange. As we were getting ready to leave, a woman came out of one car and got into the other one with the open door. I have a sneaking suspicion we stumbled onto Rhinelander's red light district. Ryan isn't sure.

* There are four business trips in my immediate future. I am flying to Palm Springs at the end of this month, to the Wisconsin Dells in March, and Phoenix and Las Vegas in April. I could get used to this.

* And last, but certainly not least, I have one more trip planned. On March 17, Lola and I are flying to Holland for eight days. Finally I will be able to introduce my daughter to her aunt and her cousins. We cannot wait. It has been four and a half years since I have seen most of my family and friends. Ryan is not coming, he cannot take that much time off work yet.

You're all caught up again. As for the present, I am tending to a sick child. She has a cold, a sore throat, and a bark like cough. Poor girl. I hope she feels better in the morning. We are going to make cupcakes together.

I wish you all a (very belated) Happy New Year!

23 October 2010

Daily Commute

Aside from numerous school buses, I have never seen an actual bus in the Northwoods. Considering you will not find a single traffic light in the whole of Forest County, the complete lack of public transportation does not surprise me. Back in my Dutch days, I always commuted to work by way of public transportation. The tram, the train, and the bus, I made use of them all. I did it for twelve years, and then I bought a car.

Cozy bus stop in Madison WI
There are pros and cons to public transportation. In Holland it will take you just about anywhere, something I really liked. However, I disliked the waiting, the drafty and sometimes foul smelling bus stops (especially in the winter), and traveling on a tight schedule. I loved having the opportunity to drink coffee and apply your make-up on the way to work, taking in a quick nap, and reading while you travel. My reading hours have dropped dramatically since I transferred to a car.

After moving to Rhinelander, my commute to work increased to an hour, as opposed to the twenty five minutes it used to be. It took me a few weeks but I am okay with it now. For a while I avoided County Road W because every time I passed my parents-in-law's house, the realization would hit me that I could be home right now. Instead I had forty more minutes to go. I quickly got over that one, because the alternative route is so boring. For the time being, until the snow comes, I have returned to taking the back roads. However, at night I prefer to stick to the highway to lessen my chances of running into wild life.

Last night, as I was driving home by the light of the beautiful full moon, I caught myself developing a renewed appreciation for public transportation. If only to catch up on my reading.

09 June 2010

Beads Revisited

My bags are almost packed and I am getting ready to go. On Thursday morning I am driving down to Milwaukee to join my former boss at the Bead & Button Show. For three wonderful days I get to play with beads again. I cannot wait, to tell you the truth. The beading business is the part of my old life I truly miss. I am working on my shopping list to get my basic supplies organized. And I promised to bring back something shiny for one of my staff and silver crimp ends for my niece.

Unfortunately my little beading retreat is threatening to turn into a stressful event. Aside from Bead & Button, I have agreed to a family reunion, the Locust Street Beer Run, and driving to Wausau and back late Friday night to pick my husband up at the airport. He is returning from a week long training in Denver. It's my own fault. I always do this. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, I try to find a way to make everyone happy. And I usually do. Everyone but me.

A woman in her forties should know better, don't you think?

26 May 2010

Spilling The Beans

One of the perks of working for a casino, is that a visit to Las Vegas is considered a business trip. I had the pleasure of "doing business" in Vegas, not too long ago. We treated a handful of our VIPs to a trip to Sin City, in collaboration with a local Vegas resort. Hard work, people, hard work.

The saying goes "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Now I don't mean to shock you, but what happens in Vegas is mostly gambling and drinking, and a little bit of shopping. And something that has to do with all those guys lined up on the sidewalk, yelling "Girls, girls, girls" and waving little flyers in your face but I have no further details to share with you. Being from Amsterdam, I suspect I know what that's all about, though.

What stays in Vegas is your money. All of it, and whatever you manage to win back because of course you cycle that right back into the machines. How else are you going win a jackpot? Despite my best efforts, no jackpots for me. All of my money, my gambling money that is - I gambled on a budget, stayed in Vegas. All I have to show for my trip is a cute pair of sandals.

I had seen them earlier in one of the shops at Caesar's Palace but found the pricetag a bit steep. When I realized a few hours later, I had just spent more money on a slot machine than on a pair of shoes, I got up, cashed out, walked across the street, and purchased the sandals on the spot. At least I was bringing something back!

Aside from the gambling, drinking, and shopping, there is a lot of fun to be had. We took our guests out to dinner, to a Jerry Seinfeld show, and around town. They had a marvelous time, and so did we. Hard work indeed.

25 May 2010

All Dressed Up, No Place To Go

As of two weeks ago, Ryan and I are once again both gainfully employed. [Insert big sigh of relief.] While I continue to run the Promotions department and the Player's Club of the casino, Ryan has taken on the responsibility of ensuring the cable, internet, and phone needs of every business in the Northwoods are met. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it is to have proper jobs and financial stability again.

Of course, with two full time jobs, we now have other issues to deal with. Meal planning, household organizing, limited time off together, and the big one, childcare. Since we are still living with my parents-in-law, we have it easy for the time being. However, their retirement plans did not include taking full time care of two adults and one toddler, so we are trying to get some sort of routine established.

Lola goes to daycare three days a week and absolutely loves it. She's been going to school, as she calls it, since January. She perfects her social skills, learns about letters and numbers, and plays to her heart's content with other little girls and boys. There is an awesome jungle gym in the backyard and on beautiful days like today, she plays on the swing all day long. Her daycare is just up the road from the casino, making it easy for me to drop her off and pick her up.

My only problem is getting out the door on time on daycare days. This morning however, everything went very well. We were all up nice and early, in part thanks to Lola who woke me up at 5:30. Not to snuggle like we usually do, but to remove a tick from her head. Nice. And for once, Lola did not object to the outfit I picked out for her and put on her shorts and t-shirt without a peep. Nicer. Ryan left just after 6 AM for an overnight trip to Wausau, Judy left at 7 AM for her golf date, Jim followed shortly after for his golf date, and Lola and I locked the door behind us at 7:45. Perfect!

My morning bliss was short lived, unfortunately. Lola started freaking out as soon as we closed the door because we did not bring the sunscreen with us. And no matter how many times I reassured her Connie has sunscreen too, she would not calm down. Very concerned about her skin, she is. She cried all the way up the driveway. When we got to the truck, there was no car seat in it. [Bleep!] My husband had taken off with one carseat and the other seat was in Jim & Judy's car, also gone. Lola and I were stuck at home. All dressed up and no place to go.

After venting my frustration to my husband over the phone, with a screaming toddler in the background who had switched from crying over sunscreen to "I want to go to Connie's house" without missing a beat, I called Connie to tell her we were going to be late, and emailed work with a similar message. And then I dressed down again, made myself a cup of coffee and enjoyed an unexpected morning off. Lola and I took our binoculars down to the lake where we sat on the swing watching eagles and butterflies.

My morning turned out perfect after all.

17 April 2010

First Time Flyer

Last week I went on my first official business trip for the casino. It took me to San Diego for five days, to the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Trade Show and Convention. I had a wonderful time. It was just the right combination of work and play. I was there with our General Manager, her Executive Assistant, the HR Director, and the Cage Manager. We stayed at the luxurious Omni Hotel, right across the way from the Convention Center, bordering the historic Gas Lamp District and with a view of the harbor and the San Diego Padres stadium.

I picked up a few pointers on Casino Marketing in general and the use of Social Media in particular, and had a chance to get to know my co-workers better over a cocktail or two. Of course, the lovely San Diego weather and the abundance of restaurants and bars with an outside patio helped tremendously in that respect. Not to mention the San Diego Harbor cruise we took on Wednesday afternoon, compliments of a company that offers all inclusive cruises for high rollers.

I almost didn't make it, though. We flew out of Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport. Quite the mouthful but in reality a small airport with friendly people. Fortunately for me. You see, my husband had surprised me the day before my departure with a new bag for toiletries, the roll-up kind ideal for travel. Not only did he surprise me with the bag, he had also filled it with assorted travel size necessities, including a brand new camera!

Now I know all about the rule stating anything liquid cannot exceed three ounces and must be presented in a clear plastic bag. Nothing in my bag was over three ounces, I had made sure of that, and the inside of my bag was made of clear plastic. I assumed taking my toiletries bag out of my carry-on and opening it up would be enough. It wasn't. I had forgotten one thing: the clear plastic bag cannot be larger than one quart and mine definitely was. I was bringing on far too many containers with liquids.

While the TSA officials were debating what, if anything, they were going to make me toss, I walked through the metal detector and set it off because I had forgotten to take off my belt. After a second, silent run, I was cordially invited to step aside for a manual pat down. As I was standing there with my arms stretched out, palms facing up, another TSA official held up my purse, asking to whom it belonged. She had to scan it again. "Sure," I replied, "no problem." The second scan still did not satisfy her and she informed me a search of my purse was necessary. Did I have anything sharp in there? "No," I answered her in earnest. Only to see her walk off moments later with my brand new pruning sheers in her hand. Oops...

While my co-workers were laughing their heads off, I explained to the TSA what on earth I was doing with gardening tools in my purse (gardening, what else?), and I was allowed to proceed to the gate. Without my shiny pruning sheers but with all of my toiletries to compensate for my loss.

You'd think I had never traveled on an airplane before...

13 February 2010

Dutch Word Of The Day

Not many people at the casino realize I am Dutch. My colleagues all want to know how to pronounce my name, and where it comes from, but they mostly think I am an American with Dutch ancestors. Recently one my staff returned from maternity leave. During one of our meetings, my nationality came up and she was genuinely surprised to learn I am the resident alien, Dutch born and raised. I was asked to prove it on the spot by speaking to her in Dutch. She was very impressed by my skills and expressed the desire to learn Dutch. And just like that, the idea of the Dutch Word of the Day was born.

Every day when I come in, I write a Dutch word on the dry erase board with the translation and instructions on pronunciation beneath it. We have a lot of fun with it, especially when I throw in some g’s, forcing them to "hock a loogie" as someone so eloquently put it. Today’s word is gok automaat (slot machine) in honor of the big slot tournament promotion we are currently running on Saturdays. Next week, I am teaching them the days of the week.

Our little inside joke has started to take on a life of its own, however. Throughout the casino people are talking about the Dutch Word of the Day. They come to our office to see what the day's word is, they discuss it in the break rooms, and for the first time I am asked questions about windmills, tulips, and wooden shoes.

Now, if I could only get them to stop confusing Dutch with Danish. A Danish is something you eat. Easy, no?

09 December 2009

Snow! And Lots Of It!

We woke up this morning to a foot of snow. Winter has arrived, full-fledged. Tomorrow the low temperatures will drop even further. (They already have in Washington, everyone - including Ryan - is dealing with frozen pipes or hoses, it seems.)

Getting to work was a bit of a challenge, me being a Wisconsin newbie and a wimp about driving in the snow. But I made it, and in one piece. I felt really bad about being late on my third day, but when I realized hardly anyone (guests included) had come in, I felt much better. So good in fact, that I left again three hours later. I prefer a little daylight with my icy roads.

I came home to a nice and clean driveway. Clearly some serious snow shoveling had taken place in my absence.