Sunday, October 30, 2011

Comfort Food

I have been more than a little obsessively downloading music the last week. Feist and Ryan Adams both released albums while I was nowhere near my good speakers and my friend Heather finally put up her annual Fall mix so I have been buying full albums of artists I am falling for thanks to her.

I'm a little all over the board at the moment but here are five tracks you should listen to and then pay to add to your collection immediately.

Listen to this and then join in me hoping these guys tour near your house immediately because I NEED TO SEE THIS LIVE.

I actually found this one this summer but it's on the new snowboard movie The Art of Flight that you should watch even if you don't care one bit about snowboarding but you like things that are awesome. I love to listen to this on my way home from a great bike ride or a killer trip up the Incline.

This is not new but that Pearl Jam documentary sent me searching through my iTunes for Eddie Vedder's voice. I forgot all about the Into the Wild soundtrack but oh man, it's so good. My favorite lyric of this song is "When I walk beside her, I am a better man. When I look to leave her, I always stagger back again." Inexplicably this song has me so excited for the bright cold mornings I plan to spend on a slope somewhere this winter.

My love for Ryan Adams is well documented on this blog. I loved all his albums with the Cardinals but this feels like Heartbreaker which means it feels like Huntington Beach days and I never don't want to be reminded of that.

And finally, Leslie Feist. If I could write songs I would want them to come out sounding like hers. This version of "How Come You Never Go There" is stunning. Although I wonder if those backup singers were sad they had to wear those terrible jeans and she got to wear that cute dress.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The stars at night

Halfway through my time in Texas, I watched the new Cameron Crowe documentary on Pearl Jam two nights in a row. The whole thing, two nights in an exhausted fog row. Because halfway through my time in Texas my brain was so full it was comforting to listen to Eddie Vedder's voice and think about being 16 and in the basement of my friend Sarah's house watching MTV in the middle of the night and seeing the video for "Jeremy" and my head kind of exploding.

An exploding head is maybe the best way to describe what it's like to be managing an event for 21 straight days. I wasn't sure how this thing was going to go. I almost can't be rational about what kind of an experience Team Processing was in Vancouver. I mean it's the Olympics right? The whole world was paying attention but tell me something you know about the Pan American Games that you didn't learn by watching my tweets or Facebook page. It's actually the second biggest multi-sport event in the world next to the Summer Olympics but I'm sure more of you can name who is playing in the World Series right now than who won the gold in Women's Softball. Spoiler alert-we did. Seventh straight Pan Am gold as a matter of fact. So true confession, while I was excited to get on the ground an run and event where, unlike Vancouver, the show was all mine, I really hadn't managed to get that excited about the actual sport side of it. It's not an Olympic qualifier so lots of sports use it as an opportunity to send development teams, I just wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was like a three week, full-bore, crash-course personal and professional leadership laboratory.

Last time I ran Team Processing, one of our Senior Directors was on hand and not everyone reported to me. This time I had full responsibility for the venue and 18 people staff members including an intern on loan from the Houston Sports Authority. To say I felt a different measure of accountability is a giant understatement. On top of wanting to make sure the athletes had a great time, I wanted all of the staffers, the volunteers, and every last person we relied on at the hotel to enjoy the experience. And there were moments where I suddenly understood why Michael Scott is such a brilliant character-because when you want to make EVERYONE happy you may find yourself making your staff play musical chairs to win a pair of Oakleys (true story). The hope is that you realize the moment is going horribly awry and you cut the game short so everyone can go do what they really want which is most likely to go drink beers in the concierge lounge or eat something that requires utensils. And then sometimes you catch a glimpse of yourself with your hair in a ponytail wearing a hoodie and calling the transportation staff a bunch of nerds and you know all those Liz Lemon comparisons might have some validity.

This was the first time I had done everything-selected the venue, picked my own staff, chosen the apparel and placed the orders. On top of that I was experimenting with a new way of issuing the apparel as a test for London and wasn't even entirely sure how we were going to do it. So it was a thrill hearing the athletes whisper in the dressing room about how cool the gear was, to get emails the next day from Team Leaders saying it was the smoothest processing they had ever been to, and to have my staff tell me they'd love to come to London and do it all over again. I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment and my brain is full of all kinds of new dreams and ideas for the next few events. 

There were so many great moments it's hard to pick just one but there was a particular highlight for me this year. We had a Track athlete one night whose plane was landing long after Team Processing had closed so I stuck around with his two team leaders to get him outfitted. We were sitting in the lobby, pretty tired and ready for bed when this kid walks in just grinning from ear to ear. We all shook hand with him and I thought he was going to explode as we took him down to get his apparel. His face lit up again when we handed him a bag full of apparel and shoes. He went in to try everything on and came out to model every single outfit and asked us to take photos. He told us this was his very first National Team and getting to wear USA on his chest was the realization of a dream he'd had since he was a little kid. I had to fight back tears as I watched him dancing around in front of the flag in his podium uniform. It's rare to be in a job where you get so many chances to watch someone's dreams coming true. It made me feel hyper aware of my responsibility to do my very best for every single athlete that comes through. And it made me feel incredibly lucky to do what I do. How many people in the whole world get to have this job?

A few fun photos from the trip...

Arriving in Houston
Load in day and the big green forklift
My survival kit
I loved seeing this every day 

I also didn't mind seeing this. Go Team USA!

Behind the scenes, prepacking the swim team

The women's gymnastics. Yep, that's Shawn Johnson
Pallet jack in flip flops-our warehouse manager would kill me

Yep, that's this little monkey jumping on the bed at our wrap party

We celebrated with a little fuel for the Houston economy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back in Kansas

21 days later I'm back home in Colorado Springs. There is a big snowstorm predicted for tonight so my plan is to go stock up on things I can make in my own kitchen and not eat standing up in the office, get a few movies out of the Red Box and spend all day tomorrow snuggled up on my couch. It was, as expected, an unbelievable experience. But I am exhausted both physically and mentally and I go back to do it all again for 10 days next week so I'm officially shutting my brain off for about 36 hours.

Monday, October 17, 2011


We have to write the date and day of the week on a white board in the office or else no one has any idea if it's Tuesday or Saturday. But I do know that today was grey day.
And here's a little story I shared with our PR team tonight... One of the Pelota guys is French and needed to make a call to France. His phone wasn’t working and I’m a sucker for a chance to speak French so I let him use my cell phone (I only work for a 403b, no big deal letting a guy call France on my cell phone right?). He was in the Processing room so he was trying stuff on and trying to figure out the country code at the same time. We offered to help track down the code so he left the phone with me and went to the dressing room. After several failed attempts to get the right collection of numbers it was finally ringing so I, ever the helpful one, dashed over to the dressing room to give him the phone and yep, you guessed it, yanked the curtain open to reveal a whole bunch of mostly naked Pelota players. I’m not sure if the roar in the dressing room in front of me or the roar in the processing room behind me was louder but a good time was had by all.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I'm 35 today. And sometimes I feel like maybe I'm the luckiest girl in the whole world. I have too much love, and joy and support and satisfaction in my life that it seems like I ought to be doing more with it. I need to figure out what that means. But so far 35 feels pretty alright.

Monday, October 10, 2011


In case there's any confusion about why my job is so great...this guy came through Processing last night.
So, you know. It's maybe alright to be spending my birthday here.