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Posts Tagged ‘work’

I’m going to preface all of this by saying that I really, really, really love my curly hair. I feel like it’s a defining part of my personality. I don’t always love that it has a mind of its own, but overall my curly hair does me right.

At my roommate Abby’s birthday party a few weeks ago my roommate Mary and I got into a discussion about how I used to dye my hair black. She asked to see a picture so I pulled one up, in the picture I happened to have my hair straight (something I haven’t done since college).

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(Side note: Can you believe I used to pluck my eyebrows to look like that? I can’t imagine plucking them so thin now. Waxing all the way.)

She asked me why I never straighten it now and I said it takes too long, it doesn’t actually get straight, and it just curls again as the day goes on. She wanted to try straightening it so I said sure. On this past Sunday night we were finally both home and she did it.

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As you can see it definitely still has a wave to it, it’s cut to be curly, but for the most part it was fairly straight. All of my roommates were surprised at how different I look, which is usually the reaction I get. Then I went to work yesterday. And I got these reactions:

1. you look so much prettier
2. you look 5 years younger
3. it looks so much fuller
4. your eyes really pop
5. you look like a completely different person
6. your hair is a completely different color
7. you look so classy and sophisticated

Now, the people I work with are totally nuts, but these were still some crazy reactions. Who tells someone that they looks prettier? And how awful must these people think I look every day?

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I’m wearing it straight again today (above) and people seem to have adjusted. After being out in a bad rainstorm and sweating in kickboxing my hair was pretty wet and it got curly and frizzy, but I figured I’d try straightening it again and came up with this kind of bed head look. But tomorrow it’s back to curly.

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Grand Central Terminal Tour

I’ve talked about how my job has some nice perks before, but today I got to do one of the coolest things yet; go on a tour of Grand Central Terminal.

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Did you notice how I called it a “terminal” and not a “station?” That’s because it isn’t a station. No trains pass through, it’s just the beginning and end of the line, which makes it a terminus or a terminal. Our tour guide really stressed that point.

We started out in the main area pictured above (but on the floor) and spent a while there while he gave us some background on the Terminal. For instance, did you know that the whole Terminal used to be covered in black dirt? I remember the ceiling looking very different when I was a child, but I don’t remember it all being black. In the late-90s they restored the whole space. Guess what the dirt was? Not diesel fuel like they first suspected…it was tar from cigarettes! How awful is that?

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But it looks pretty great now. The Terminal actually extends all the way up to 95th St. in Manhattan and has 63 tracks and 45 platforms. There is a secret underground station in the Terminal that’s used for the president to make secret escapes (and was used regularly for the president in the days when train travel was more common). There’s also a secret staircase in the information booth that goes down to the second level. Plus the face of the clock on the top of the information booth is made of opal and is worth several million dollars.

Another cool thing is their recycling program. When they started having bins to recycle newspapers it immediately turned into one of the biggest recycling programs in the country. The first year they recycled several tons of newspapers, but then the next year the number went down. And they couldn’t figure out what was causing it. Then they realized that people were going into the recycling bins and taking out the newspapers to read! The New York Times got wind of this and provided Grand Central with different bins that are too tall and the opening is too small for people to reach into. Crazy, right?

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Another cool thing we got to see was the lost and found. They have an 80% return rate for items which is really impressive (obviously). They catalog everything with when it was found, what train it was on, etc. and they keep most items for 90 days before selling them. Stuff like jewelry or photo albums are never sold, they’re kept forever. The guide actually told us people coming to claim jewelry 15 years later is really common. I guess grandkids will be looking at old pictures with their grandmother and notice a ring or something and ask what happened to it and the grandmother will say she lost it in the City and never looked for it and then the grandkids will go back and track it down.

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They had a lot of phones and a lot of umbrellas. I don’t think I’d ever go back and look for an umbrella I lost.

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These were my favorite, George Bush and Ray Charles dolls. There were also a lot of artificial limbs and crutches which the guide said are from veterans going to hospitals and then forgetting their new limbs or their crutches on the way back.

Then we went to a few places that are top secret and I can’t share online. Which is a shame because they were really, really cool. And I conquered my fear of heights.

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But after that we went back to the top of the windows, where there are walkways, to take the pictures I put at the beginning of this post. It was an amazing view.

I knew a little bit about Grand Central prior to the tour (Jackie Kennedy being instrumental in saving it, etc.), but I learned so many interesting things. It was a VIP tour, but they also have audio tours and if you’re in NYC I would suggest doing those, it’s such an amazing place. Growing up on Long Island I always came and left NYC through Penn Station which is an absolute hell hole. They say that it was once more grand and beautiful than Grand Central but then it was torn down in the early-1960s to build Madison Square Garden and office buildings. Seriously, 1960s New Yorkers? What were you thinking?

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Amarillo, TX: V

I’m down in Amarillo, TX. This is my fifth time in Amarillo (see times one, two, three, and four). I came down yesterday afternoon and I’m leaving this afternoon. A quick trip.

I was nervous about getting to and from the airport. In the past I’ve always used the official company car service, but we’ve been asked to stop using them because they’re too expensive (no comment). The guy called to say he was outside 10 minutes early and I headed downstairs a few minutes later. But he wasn’t there. I called him and he was at the wrong address. It took him about 10 minutes to get to me so I went for a walk up and down the block.

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Once I got in the car it was fine, he was really nice, the car was clean, and he was a good driver.

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I got to the airport, got through security, and headed for lunch at Ruby Tuesday (options are limited).

We left Newark a few minutes late, but got to Dallas about half an hour early.

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An Airlink ride later and I was in the terminal for my flight to Amarillo. I had about 45 minutes until we boarded so I did laps around the airport to get some exercise (have to make those 10,000 steps/day). I also peaked in on the Spain/Portugal game and Wimbledon.

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Our flight was delayed about half an hour so I got to watch the end of the soccer game, which was great. We were delayed even more when there was a loose screw on our plane (reassuring).

Finally we made it to Amarillo!

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That’s the ridiculously long walkway you have to go through to get to the car rentals. I had a moment of panic when Enterprise was out of GPS units and my cell phone didn’t get service. I decided to start driving and finally my phone started working.

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Dinner was at Blue Sky, obviously. Eaten back at the hotel.

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(That’s a little sneak peak, I’m going to do a full post on my Amarillo eats for my WIAW post next week.)

The most exciting news is that my hotel room doesn’t overlook the indoors.

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The room is pretty nice. The same as what it always is here.

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The sunset was especially gorgeous.

I settled in with my food and the Olympic swimming trials.

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I forgot how strange I find Michael Phelps to be. I mean obviously his achievements are remarkable and his talent is out of this world, but he’s weird, right? This Ryan Lochte on the other hand is super cute and seems quite normal 😉

I headed to bed around 9:30, but couldn’t sleep due to an awful stomach ache. I tossed and turned until around 1:30am, it sucked! At different points I thought of calling the front desk to see if they had any medicine and for a while I thought I was going to need to go to the hospital. Terrible!

I woke up around 7:30 feeling better but not 100%.

I had planned to visit the local Great Harvest here but I was sad to see they’re no longer open. My appointments didn’t start until 10:30 so I just killed time in the hotel room walking laps (10,000 steps, people!) while watching Wimbledon.

I had two appointments in the morning and then a break for lunch. For lunch I headed to Rudy’s, a BBQ chain here that I love.

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Then I headed back for two more appointments and when it was over made my way to the airport.

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It’s hot here, if you didn’t already assume that.

Now I’m at the airport waiting for my 4:40pm flight to Dallas and then my 6:55pm flight back to NYC. Thank you city of Amarillo for the free WiFi!

 

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Greetings from Puerto Rico

Oh Puerto Rico. So many thoughts. I landed here last night around midnight, took a cab to the hotel (with a nice cab driver who was from NYC and whose sister is the main news anchor one of the NYC Spanish-language TV stations and, even better, he didn’t kill me) and got here a little after 1am. Even at 1am I could tell the view from my room was pretty sweet.


(Taken during the day, obviously)

Waking up at 6:45am was rough, especially considering I was/am still on Texas time so it felt like 4:45am. By a stroke of good luck I had most of the day off from work. There was a breakfast and panel discussion this morning and then I had 2 8-minute one-on-one sessions (the majority of the conference I’m attending are one-on-one sessions), an hour and a half off, lunch, two hours off, 2 more one-on-one sessions, and then 3 hours off.

So I spent a lot of time at the beach.

It was pretty great.

Oh and I got to wear my new beach coverup, I think it’s pretty cute.


(I don’t know why my head looks so large)

Around 5pm I left the beach because it got chilly. I went and sat on my balcony and watched the sunset.

It sounds cheesy, but I was sitting out there, reading my book and I was just so thankful for everything in my life. Even though I’m exhausted, I don’t really know anyone at the conference, and technology in Puerto Rico is pretty spotty, it didn’t matter. It was just so peaceful and gorgeous.

It made me realize why these people on House Hunters International buy these generic places in the Caribbean.

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World Traveler

Tomorrow I leave for four days in Austin, TX, followed by four days in Puerto Rico.

I travel for work a few times each year. Two trips to Amarillo, TX, two trips to Austin, TX, and several road trips to New Jersey. It’s nice, but they’re quick, kind of frantic trips, to the same places again and again.

Lots of people tell me how lucky I am I get to travel for work. And I try very hard not to punch these people in the face. I am not complaining, I am lucky to see new places, to get out of the office, and to have a job for that matter, but these trips aren’t necessarily fun.

For my last trip, to Amarillo at the beginning of December, I flew out of NY at 12:30 on Wednesday, which meant I had to leave the office at 10:15. I landed in Dallas around 3pm Dallas time, which was early so luckily I had time to grab a drink. My flight to Amarillo took off around 5pm, I landed in Amarillo at 6pm, got my rental car, found somewhere to eat dinner, and made it to the hotel about 7pm. I ate, I did some things for my meeting the next day, and then went to bed around 10pm. My appointment Thursday morning was at 8:30 so I had to be there at 8:15 which meant I needed to be up at 7am to leave the hotel at 8am. I finished my appointment around 11:30, grabbed lunch, and then headed back to the airport for my 2pm flight. I landed in Dallas at 3pm, had to change terminals, grab dinner, and get to my gate for my 5pm flight. I landed back in NY at 9pm, and was home just before 10pm.

So that’s about 19 hours traveling and 17 hours actually in Amarillo, and 9 of those hours in Amarillo were spent sleep.

This trip I’m lucky. I’m visiting with a college friend in Austin so I arrive Saturday morning even though my appointment isn’t until Tuesday morning. I’ll have Saturday and Sunday to spend with my friend and then I pick up my coworker Monday afternoon and show her around Austin.

I then leave for Puerto Rico Tuesday afternoon, connect through Orlando, and then arrive in PR at midnight. I’m in conferences all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, but then I’m staying until Saturday evening to do some exploring on my own.

I am lucky, for work I’ve been to Boston, St. Paul, MN, Phoenix, AR, Amarillo, TX (4 times), Austin, TX (2 times), Ann Arbor, MI, and Minneapolis, MN. Besides Boston I had never visited any of those cities before and I don’t know if I ever would have had any reason to visit. But ultimately they’re work trips. They’re quick, they’re busy, and they’re done on the cheap.

So you can tell me I’m so lucky, and it’s not that I disagree, but I still will want to punch you in the face.

 

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Amarillo IV

I came down to Amarillo yesterday for the fourth time. This was a pretty quick and uneventful trip. We landed an hour early in Dallas which gave me time t sit and have a margarita.

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We landed in Amarillo right around 6 and I quickly picked up my car and attempted to find Blue Sky Burger. Unfortunately my GPS decided not to find anything so it took me a few attempts.

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I headed over to the hotel ate dinner, and watched TV for the rest of the night.

I went to my appointments on Thursday morning and then went to Rudy’s for lunch. I had a few small things to eat, but my favorite by far was the Green Chile Stew. It was so good, I wish I had gotten more.

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I headed over to the airport, did some work on my laptop, and then boarded the plane to Dallas. I had to change terminals so I had less time, but I picked up some dinner and then waited for my plane back to NYC. We landed at Newark right on time. My car unfortunately wasn’t on time and I had to wait about 15 minutes.

But I got back to Brooklyn in time to make cookies for our Christmas party.

I ❤ Texas.

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This year I got another chance to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, being a balloon handler on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon. If you want a full breakdown of how it works check out last year’s post where I go into all the specifics. This year I’ll just post the highlights.

We lucked out with another year of really great weather. It was actually pretty warm!

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My pass, which never arrived, thank you Laura for delivering it!

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Getting ourselves sexy in the bathroom.

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One of my favorite things, both this year and last year, is seeing all the random people in the parade. This guy was butter, he’s holding toast for his lady friend who couldn’t get it down the aisle of the bus.

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Unlike last year it was light when we got uptown, which confused me because I swear it was the same time.

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Laura and I

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I think this is one of the coolest parts, being able to see how the balloons look from underneath.

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Elisa, me, and Laura

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After I had the Buzz balloon on Halloween I feel a special connection to him. The Buzz handlers also had really cool outfits (relative to how ridiculous the outfits are in general).

We were a few balloons earlier than last year, but somehow I had to take a later train to my grandparents’ than last year. Penn Station was insane (I don’t remember it being insane last year), I got a smoothie, a bottle of water, and a magazine which I could barely balance. Then you had to give your ticket when you boarded the train (normally they come and collect them once you’re on your way) which was almost a near disaster.

But otherwise it was a really great experience yet again. The Wimpy Kid balloon will be in the parade one more year (you buy 3 years at a time), but I don’t know if I’ll do it again if I get the offer. I’m pretty lucky that this year and last year were both dry, pretty warm, and that we were at the beginning of the parade.

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