Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Success--Read All About It!

The Jenna and Laura Bush event was wildly successful.  It was hot, packed, and people were excited, but I didn't encounter any problems at my post.

I was talking with one of the Secret Service agents on their detail, his name was Tim, and he was telling me how he'd been up since 5am and had been wearing his bullet-proof vest since shortly thereafter.  Poor guy, it was damn hot in that store because of the hundreds of people moving through it.  

Everyone had to go through security and a metal detector, and the whole prep and get-up was interesting.  

I'm so dehydrated.  I probably sweated off a few pounds of water, and having just showered, I'm going to re-hydrate myself then retire.  

I'm supposed to be off tomorrow, but I have a meeting/project all morning at another store and then a conference call in the afternoon.  

I got a signed copy of the book that I think I'll give to my nephew's school.  It's still in my car.  I'll try to remember to bring it up and post a pic or two of it tomorrow.  It really is a cute story and a wonderfully illustrated book.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Have Returned

I got sick at my conference...a raging sinus I was uncomfortable and snotty and stuffy, but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself, learned a great deal, got a lot of free stuff, and accomplished many things.  

The run-down on the author speakers:
Bob Woodward was engaging, Harlan Coben was difficult to understand, Jenna Bush was overly articulate, Lisi Harrison was delightful, Tom Avitabile was excited, Dennis Lehane was interesting, and David Sedaris was, well, hilarious as you might guess.

I am pleased and proud to say that I rocked the house with my presentations.  My boss called it 'perfection', and her boss said I was 'wonderful', along with a host of other compliments from my peers and several home office people.  There's nothing like a compliment to give one an ego boost.  I was particularly pleased that I was able to present so well because that was the day I felt the worst and had not been able to sleep much at all the night before because of it.  That was my first time to present in front of a group of 150 people, so I am happy with the result.

I got lots of goodies from our vendor partners as well as a box chock full of Ghirardelli chocolate squares.  It's a good thing they're dark chocolate, and I don't like dark chocolate, otherwise I'd be tempted to eat them!  As it is, I'm taking them to the store.

My store won an award which is always nice.  But the funny event during the big awards ceremony is that one of my peers was in the bathroom when his award was announced, so we sent another GM up on stage to accept it on his behalf.  We teased him mercilessly when he returned from the bathroom.

Above are pictures of the signed books I got.  The rest of my loot is still in transit.  And you can also see the box of chocolates.  No Charles, you cannot have my David Sedaris book.

The last picture is a warning sign for an underground cable.  Trust me when I say that when driving 70 mph in the South and seeing this on fenceposts from a distance, it really does look like a swastika.  I was very relieved to learn, after having stopped in Pascagoula, Mississippi and seen it up close, that it is something far more benign.

I was back at work today and got caught up fairly quickly, which is easy to do when everyone was basically out of office last week.  Exactly 2 weeks from today I'll be on a cruise ship sailing from Ft. Lauderdale.  I know the route to Florida by heart now.

I think that's all for now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Whew!--Cleared Again

I say that tongue in cheek because I am a moderately dull person with no strange or subversive undertakings in my past.  I'm ok with moderately dull, actually.

I was cleared again by the Secret Service to be able to work an event at a sister store--a book signing with Jenna and Laura Bush--about 10 days from now.

Now, I have little to no personal interest in those two folks, but I have to say the goings-on surrounding the event are a sight to behold.  It is worth the extra fuss on my part to participate in such an entertaining undertaking.  

Events with people who have Secret Service detail are actually the easiest big events to run:  there is an extremely strict set of rules/guidelines, and they must be followed, no exceptions.  I love that.  With all big events involving an author or artist/musician of some fame, there are always people who attempt to join the entourage:

"He and I went to school together in the 3rd grade.  He'll want me to be with him at the signing table.  Let me through." and "I'm a cancer-survivor.  She was such an inspiration to me.  She won't mind signing this quilt I made." and "When you say he'll only sign the book, that means he'll sign my T-shirt and magazines, too, right?" and "My daughter was in the same Girl Scout Troop as his niece.  I know the guidelines say no pictures, but I want to pose for a picture with him to give to my daughter because she's his biggest fan and could not come tonight."  You get the idea.

With regular events the person's publicist and publisher sets the rules, not the store, but it is up to the store to enforce them.  It's a difficult position to be in, to play the bad guy, because we're in the service business, and people/event-attenders try to push around and sometimes bully the staff into giving them what they want.    

But with the political people events, two of the constant rules are:  no posing for photographs, and bring absolutely nothing through the line/to the signing table.  What does that mean?  Well, the no posing for photographs is obvious.  The 'nothing' rule is for the safety and protection of the political person.  And there are always a host of other rules that exist to ensure their safety. 

I can see how it is difficult, especially for those who are accustomed to carrying a bag or backpack, to not carry something in their hands or in a bag, but that's the way it is.  People enter the front doors in droves with purses, messengers bags, magazine articles, gifts, cameras, other books, etc., and get indignant when told they must take all those items back to their cars.  The rules are made available well ahead of time, so there is ample opportunity to make preparations on their part. 

Again, I understand the frustration, but these are times when the rules absolutely cannot and will not be compromised.  How refreshing that is.  In a world of gray, there is finally some black and white.  And when people start to argue or make demands, and believe me they do, I get to tell them, "I'm sorry.  You cannot bring that into the line with you.  The Secret Service will have you removed if you do."

All that being said, most folks are perfectly compliant and willing to work with us to make the event successful for everyone, but it is those 50-ish people who argue, try to manipulate, bully, posture, try to drag an employee into a political conversation, or try to make a scene to get attention, that makes it such a fun thing to both participate in and observe. 

I've been yelled at by the best and the worst of them and lived to laugh about it.  And I simply have to laugh about grown adults acting like petulant children.  Ha!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bizzee Bee

It's been a full schedule for the past 10 days.  

My boss was on vacation from Wednesday to Wednesday, so I filled in for her while she was gone, in addition to running my store and doing my trainer job.  Next week is our big work conference of the year, and I'm presenting part of two sessions (just to my zone, not to the whole company).  I work overnight tonight to complete a big messy project at the store, and I leave for Orlando early Monday morning.

I'm tired, but feel I have accomplished a great many things.

I'm looking forward to the meeting, as I get to see all the GMs I have come to know and only see once or twice a year.  I also enjoy spending time with others in my district.  

And two weeks after I get back from Orlando, I go on the cruise.

Life is good.  So say we all.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Casper & Gizmo

These are my friend's cats with their portraits that I made for them.  The kitties are brothers and are such a hoot.  Casper is the kitty on the top, and he is hamming it up for the camera.  He wears a red collar which is why his portrait is in red hues.  The bottom picture is that of Gizmo and his portrait.  A very aloof kitty, Gizmo was unusually happy to have me snap his pic.  His portrait is in blue hues because he always wears a blue collar.

Silly kitties.

A Menagerie

Someone else (I'm thinking Mom & Dad) contributed to my gift registry and purchased a share of a pig, a share of rabbits, and ducks/geese.  


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Back in Action

Yesterday was my birthday.  Happy Birthday to me.  I had the day off, as I mosttimes do on Thursdays, and I was cruising around to my favorite sites online when I knocked over a bowl of cereal milk all into my Mac keyboard and all over my mouse.  It was quite a bit of milk.  Both were ruined, so today I went to the Mac store at lunch and bought new a whopping $49.99 each.


At least this new aluminum keyboard doesn't have all the nooks and crannies where food particles and such can shimmy into.  It is an extremely flat keyboard.  The mouse is mostly the same.  I just can't believe they cost so much.  Ack.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

My Sister Bought Me a Goat!

For my birthday this year I'm asking my family and friends to donate to Heifer International via in lieu of gifts.  I created a gift registry a couple of weeks ago and sent my older sister the link.  In yesterday's mail I received a confirmation that a goat had been purchased through my registry.  

Hooray, a goat!

My birthday is April 10th, this coming Thursday, and if you feel so inclined, a $10 donation can buy a share of an animal.

Click on this link:  My Registry to donate.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Authors I'll Get to Meet...

Or at the very least hear speak at my upcoming work conference in 3 weeks:

Dennis Lehane (s'ok), Bob Woodward (bit o' history there), David Sedaris (O..M..G...this will be fun), Lisi Harrison (I admit it, I read those Clique books), Jenna Bush (hmmm).

Sounds like a fascinating and varied lineup, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Practice-Walking in My Shoes

My spanky new shoes arrived several days ago, and I've been practicing walking in them because I quite frankly need to so as not to fall on my ass in three weeks.  The shoes are pretty, pointy, and black and have a 2-inch heel, if I'm measuring it correctly.  They are close-toed with strappy heels.  Elegant and sophisticated, I think, which is everything I'm not.  I wouldn't consider them high heels, but rather medium heels.  I'm completely incapable of walking in anything other than flats.  

Anyone have advice on how to walk in heels?

My dress also arrived today.  It is black, simple, and lovely.  I found a black 'shrug' to wear over the sleeveless dress, and the skirt portion comes down a bit past the knees, which is a good thing for me.  I need to accessorize, and I am thinking bracelet and necklace in silver.  Good choice for black?  Or I could go with some color.  I am not fond of the closure for the shrug (two very ugly buttons), so I'm thinking of ripping off the buttons and fastening it with a pretty pale green and pale blue on a silver background pin in the shape of a dragonfly that I bought a few years ago. 

Would this be too much with a necklace?  The necklace would sit higher up.  

Good grief, I don't know.  I'm completely inept at these sorts of things.  And I also need to figure out where I'm going to put my hotel room key (which is all I will need to carry with me) since there are no pockets on the dress.  Any ideas there?

Your Fashion-absent dork