Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Remember Me?

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Well, it happened. For the first time since I started blogging in January 2006, I went a calendar month without a blog post. I’d say 7+ years is a pretty good run. If I’m honest, I didn’t feel much like writing: no blogging, my Yelp activity was way off and I deactivated my Facebook for two weeks (more on that later). The reason? I wanted to focus on getting through some difficult things in life. There’s more to be done, but I feel like I’m over the hump… especially given all the good news I’m about to drop on you. Let me catch you up on what’s been happening.

  • Melissa’s Graduation – I flew to Virginia yesterday because Melissa is graduating this week! She has an exam to do tomorrow, but otherwise she’s done. I knew she could do it; she’ll tell you differently. We won’t be back together until Memorial Day because we both have some family commitments to take care of, but at least we get to spend half of the time left until then together. This last month was the longest and most challenging out of all of them and I am very, very glad it’s over.
  • Promotion – Last week, I got a manger title at work and another analyst, that will report to me, is starting at Amazon tomorrow. That puts my direct reports at two with headcount open for another analyst… as soon as we find the right candidate. It’s not technically a “level” promotion in Amazon speak, but it did come with more money/stock. I’m a Manager II, Programmer/Analyst but my business title has yet to be decided on – it will probably be something like Manager, HR Analytics. My next milestone is to get promoted up a level; my boss and I are “actively working” on getting that done at the mid-year review in five months. I put “actively working” in quotes because you have to convince more than just your manager that you deserve it. Really it’s about demonstrating to a wide(r) audience that you’re already operating on that level. Face time, if you will. Looking at the last 13 years of my career, I can say I wasn’t ready to be a manger until now. I thought I was; I wasn’t.
  • New Phone – I bought a Galaxy S4 a few weeks ago. My GS2 was getting pretty long in the tooth and I was looking forward to an upgrade. Some of the features are gimmicky and I haven’t bothered, but others (like not turning the screen off when you’re looking at it and gestures) are pretty cool. The screen is pretty big and I actually feel bad for people with smaller screens (yes, iPhones Mike). I’m sure it works for them, but I’m a total screen whore. I’ll save you the babbling fanboi ramble – suffice to say I like it. LTE ain’t so bad either… I can’t believe our cell phones now get speeds similar to WiFi.
  • 911 – Audrey is turning out to be a great city car. It’s fun, it’s small and it gets a lot of attention. Who wouldn’t want to drive that? Not me, I find myself driving it 95% of the time. I’m about as ready as I’m going to get for trading in the Subaru for our “one car.”
  • CrossFit – I’ve continued my devotion, after taking March off. I am down 20 pounds since starting this whole thing and very, very close to being down 50 since I decided to get healthier 6.5 years ago. With any luck, I’ll be setting a new goal for myself in the next month.
  • Food Allergies – I saw a naturopathic doctor to work through diagnosing some seemingly worsening food allergies. Prevailing theory is I have a wheat allergy and adrenal imbalance, although I’ve heard that’s somewhat of a standard diagnosis NDs make. We’re going to be doing a bunch of testing to 1) find answers and 2) re-balance my body. I’m keeping an open mind, in true Pacific NW spirit, and am cautiously optimistic. Even if it turns out to be be voodoo, I got an Rx for weekly massages (read: it’s covered by insurance!). I also scored an EpiPen in case I have a reaction to some of the treatments. Don’t freak out Mom, it’s really only because I seem to be fairly allergic to carrots these days (which you knew).
  • Movies – I’ve seen quite a few over the last month. I can’t wait to see Iron Man 3 this week with Melissa.
    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Surprisingly entertaining; I liked the way they wove in historical context.
    The Great Gatsby – Zero connection with the characters. I was hopeful because I love period films, but it was very disappointing.
    The Place Beyond the Pines – Good, but depressing. I’m glad I took a chance on it.
    Argo – I’m kinda indifferent about it. Well made but I’m glad I didn’t see it in the theater.
    Red Dawn – Even worse than I expected. Do not see!
    Life of Pi – Visually stunning, with an interesting ending, although it probably would have been better viewed in an altered state.
  • Facebook Deactivation – I don’t want to make this a long winded explanation, even though I feel like I have a lot to say. Let’s just say I used it entirely too much and it became a way to ignore building new friendships. What I noticed in the first few days is how many times in a day my thoughts defaulted to “Oh, I should share this on Facebook RIGHT NOW.” Getting over that was pretty relaxing and I ended up not really missing it. Not having Facebook is not without sacrifice, though. Namely, it was harder to stay up with businesses (e.g. my gym), log into certain websites, play the two games I care about and gets news from close friends that I don’t often talk to. The catalyst for me re-activating was the passing of a good friend’s dad and me finding out about it from Melissa (who read on Facebook) over a week after it happened. I am saddened by his loss and the fact that I couldn’t offer support earlier. In light of this, I think I’m going to compromise by using it but only making very close friends and family visible.

One Helluva Weekend

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

This past weekend, we traveled to the east coast for the first time since we moved. The nature of such a visit meant we crammed a whole lotta activities into a short amount of time. We knew it was gonna be a busy weekend going in, but I don’t think we were really ready for all the stuff we ticked off our list. Here’s a (not so) brief look at what we did.

  • Friday AM flight through Chicago to Richmond
  • Pick up rental car and drive 100 miles to Orange, Virginia
  • Check into our hotel around midnight and rush to sleep
  • Wake up at 8:30 (very early when you’re on Pacific Time), eat breakfast and check out
  • Drive 15 minutes to Skydive Orange, so I can use a gift certificate from my mom
  • JUMP OUT OF A PLANE AT 14K FEET (and cross something off my Life List)
  • Drive 100 miles back to Richmond and check into the second hotel
  • Grab some lunch and a beer… and leave my credit card in the bill where it mysteriously disappears
  • Head back to the hotel to get dressed up for a wedding
  • Attend Mike and Heather’s wedding at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum
  • Drink mojitos, Mexican beers and shots of tequila at the reception
  • Wake up a smidge before 8, check out and drive 4.5 hours to New Jersey
  • Attend my niece’s sixth birthday party
  • Watch the Flyers beat the Penguins before going out to dinner with the fam
  • Sleep in our third bed in as many nights
  • Wake up after everyone left for the day and cook/eat the scrapple my sister was nice enough to buy (it’s not available in WA)
  • Drive to Philly to visit with one of my fraternity brothers, meet his newborn son Abe and see the rowhome they remodeled
  • Drop the rental off at the Philadelphia Airport
  • Fly home Monday PM through Denver
  • Climb into bed at 12:08 am Tuesday morning, after setting the alarm for work

Mike and Heather’s wedding was great, making perfect use (credit: Mike’s mom) of the sunny 75 degree weather. I think they’re perfect for one another (something I told Mike more than I probably should have before they got engaged) and was really happy to see them make it official. Much of their wedding was unconventional, or perhaps just atypical for weddings these days, but it fit them well. The reception seemed to be a continuation of the bachelor party we had for Mike in New Orleans last month, only with all our wives there. [I don’t care what you say Mike, that was not music you could dance to.] I’m not gonna lie, I’m jealous of their honeymoon in France and a host of other countries. Anyway, congrats you two! We can’t wait to lobby you to move to Seattle. <grin>

The skydiving? It was definitely a life experience. I’ll write a separate post once I get the video online.

So, yeah… it was a nutso weekend. I felt a bit like the undead at times and I’m still recovering, but I regret nothing.

Ketchup

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I love ketchup, but that has nothing to do with this post. The purpose of this post is to apologize for the lack of updates (it makes me feel better, even if you don’t care) and to catch you up on the goings on around here. I’ve been meaning to write for the last couple weeks, but things have been pretty busy ’round these parts. Generally speaking, the time I spend at a computer is at work, working, and my free time is spent meeting new people, exploring the city or settling into our rental house. I think the balance will change over time, but sitting down and creating seems like a fairly stressful proposition these days. Truth be told, I’m struggling with the focus to write this quick blurb about all the important things. So, lets get started.

House

We are completely unpacked and, for the most part, have finished decorating. Our guest room is ready to accept guests and our first visitor, my mom, is going to be here in 2.5 weeks. The house itself is… interesting. It’s 100 years old, has been partially restored and as they always say about houses this old, has “character.” We’re currently battling a ground water issue (hey, it’s Seattle) but are doing our best to settle into a house we don’t own. This is our first time renting since our college apartment, so it takes some getting used to. That’s both a good and bad thing.

Job

I no longer feel lost at work. I was completely and utterly befuddled just a month ago, but I’ve finally started to grasp the work and build a working relationship with those around me. There is A LOT of work to do, but it no longer seems like an impossible task. I’ve really had to (re)learn a lot of things, most notably how to truly multitask and be on my game pretty much all the time. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Amazon is very different than any other job I’ve had. Ever.

Social

We are expanding our social network, slowly but surely. The are a couple people I work with that have been very welcoming, going out of their way to make sure we feel included. We end up going out with a group one night a week, usually tagging along with whatever people throw out there as a way to see and do as much as possible. It’s hard to say where lasting friendships will come from, but I’m thankful for how easy it’s been to move beyond the “We don’t know anyone” phase.

Seattle

As you may have seen on Facebook, I’m really loving city living. We are close enough to everything that we can bus pretty much everywhere, but far enough away in a more secluded neighborhood that we can forget we’re living IN a city. Beyond that, I am reminded almost every day why I moved here. The people are amazingly pleasant, the geography and scenery are breathtaking and there is such a sense of honesty and culture that I can’t help but fall for it. At first glance, the city isn’t anything special… but the deeper you scratch, the more you realize what’s underneath is pretty damn cool. Oh, and I saw Mount Rainer on my way to work today. How cool is that? I am really looking forward to having visitors because I want to show them what I think makes this city great and have them love it as much as I do.

Marriage

Simply put, my wife is wonderful. Moving here has made me realize just how awesome we are together.  I love her as much now as ever.