Sunday, February 26, 2012

Still still still

I counted and it looks like I have slept in more hotel/village/friend beds in 2012 than in my own. This weekend was going to be a "run errands and catch up with my life" couple of days but when my good friends Tara and Bryce invited me to join the first few days of their annual Vail vacation I couldn't really say no. So I packed a suitcase once again and hit my fifth ski resort of the season.

I am still mostly terrified every single time I start down the mountain but I must say-this skiing thing has turned out to be one of my favorite decisions in a long time. I have been no fan of winter pretty much since the first one I spent in Huntington and discovered a life where snow never once interfered.

But tell me a better way to spend a Saturday in February than with good friends in a beautiful place, doing something that is is really fun and pushes your comfort zone a little (a lot!). It makes me significantly less grumpy about scraping my car on a Monday when I know this could happen at the end of the week.

Not a bad view

Cute girls!

I drove home this afternoon and still sort of can't believe this state is my home right now, I wanted to stop and take pictures every five minutes. We met people from all over the world on the lifts and this is driving distance from my house.

Let it snow says I.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reunited and it feels so good

On February 8 in 2002, my dear friends Lori, Bev and I sneaked onto the roof of the Steiner Ice Arena in Salt Lake and watched the fireworks for the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympic Games. It was the relative calm before the storm of the next 17 of the craziest days of my life.

On February 8 in 2012, I spent the day with our two biggest sponsors while they showed sneak peeks of Opening Ceremonies and Medals Stand uniforms to all the team leaders for London. I didn't even realize until 1:30 on the morning when we were still lingering over drinks in some bar downtown that I had completely forgotten to wax nostalgic.

So despite being on the road for five weeks and still trying to get my life back to a bit of normal, I hopped on another place and went to Salt Lake for the weekend for the 10 year anniversary celebration of the 2002 Games.

You might not realize this but at the Organizing Committee in Salt Lake, there were two layers of very seasoned and qualified Directors and Senior Managers. And then there were hundreds of us who were young and inexperienced and hard working and we had far, far more responsibility than you would ever imagine a bunch of almost kids should have had.

We were a funny mix of completely aware that we were out of our league and utterly convinced that we knew everything. I would quite regularly tell my 35 year old, four time Olympian, silver medalist boss the many and varied ways in which I thought he needed to do things differently. I cringe now when I think of some of the things I said and did but I was lucky to have some incredible mentors who patiently let me say and do ridiculous things and still managed to teach me things I use just about every day.

We had a staff reunion Saturday night and it was the typical too many faces to properly catch up with anyone but still super super fun to see them kind of event. I loved checking in and hearing where people went after the Games, meeting some significant others, and fielding some questions about my recent Euro-adventures (maybe don't post photos of a trip with a boy you aren't dating on FB right before you go home and see tons of people!).

After the reunion there was a special Stars on Ice Anniversary Show at the venue that housed Short Track and Figure Skating. My friend Kari managed the event so she got Lori and her family and me some sweet tickets down on the floor. I got there a little early and as I took my seat I looked around and saw ghosts everywhere. The last time I was down there was the final night of Short Track. The last spectator had no sooner left the building than the place was swarming with guys starting tear down. We took a few photos in the kiss and cry before someone barked at us that there was a basketball game to get ready for and poof, the Olympics were over kids. I wasn't quite prepared to be as emotional as I was looking around and remembering a million tiny things I haven't thought about in a million years.

It's been a busy decade. Lori married one of the Transport Managers, Bev and I had dinner in London last month-she's worked every Games since that one, and the boy I held hands with at Closing Ceremonies left the next day to go back to his real life and has two kidlets now. My figure skating boss helped me get this current job. A member of the 2002 Long Track team who I never met ended up being my intern last year and became a dear friend.

I have no idea what that 25 year old version of me would think of the 35 year old sitting in that VIP section Saturday night. Disappointed that she's alone? Glad she looks pretty good? Relieved that those Games were a start not and end to an adventurous career? I don't know. I wonder what I'll think of whatever 45 has done with my life at the next milestone anniversary.

I'm so glad I went. I'm also so glad that despite all it's wonderful moments, I don't wish I could go back. Pretty satisfying.

Junior high pal Paul turned into SLOC friend Paul turned into one of my favorite grown-up friends

Oval peeps, still running flawless events and being awesome

Lori's little one touching the ice right where momma used to work. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


The worst thing about your job being tied to a gigantic world event that is that just about daily there is some post on the internet somewhere about the Olympics being RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. People, I don't need a countdown clock reminding me every day that we still have uniforms to approve and pipe and drape vendors to hire and please please please bless that all the tee-shirts being made in Mexico really DO make it to my warehouse before the boats leave in May. We're doing some new things with the way we process athletes and I sat in a meeting with one of our sports today and the team leader and I just looked at each other with a "I sure hope this works!" grin as we went through the hundred tiny details to figure out before this summer.

So in an effort to keep myself from spending all my free time and energy into worrying, I'm going to spend as much of free time and energy as I possibly can being busy busy busy. Starting this weekend where I go from a Devotchka show to Salt Lake for 48 whirlwind hours to skiing on President's Day to starting my "you don't have to be an athlete to look like one" Games prep regimen. If I leave myself any down time I fear someone will find a trembling heap of swooshes and big pony logos on the floor under my desk.

I'm also collecting music like a crazy person so if you have suggestions for my "Road to London" playlists, bring it. My friend Amanda made me a mix this weekend and it's got all kinds of new favorites on it. Like this one. Lyrics to which I think all of us can relate! Ouch.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Today I

1. Got a thank you note from one of our Chiefs for "showing good leadership"
2. Nailed down the details with USA Basketball on how to get LeBron and Kobe through Team Processing efficiently
3. Gave $ to a good cause
4. Put in a good workout
5. Bought cupcakes for my coworkers

Today I did not

6. Get flowers from a boy

I'm pretty sure 1-5 say way more about me than 6 ever could. Letting Valentine's Day get to you is a choice.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Behind the Scenes

Reality hit with a long day of running around trying to get plugged back into the office. The funny thing about being gone forever is that obviously life is absolutely going on just fine without you and it's almost like having to put in a pair of earrings after you haven't worn them for awhile-the holes are still there but you sort of have to push to get them in.

I've been debating whether I wanted to do a post about the trip and elaborate a little more but I honestly don't know how interesting it would be for anyone but me and possibly Lance. So he and I can just tell each other inside jokes over FB chat and spare you the travelogue. Suffice it to say that if you ever have a chance to go to Munich, or Berlin, or Prague or Amsterdam, go. And if you have a "to visit" list, add them. 

I do have a few fun photos to share though. And maybe a thought or two along with them. 

We started the trip with a ski day in Austria. My coworker Todd who was the leader of our Innsbruck delegation was a Freestyle Skier for Team Canada and then ran the program after he retired so obviously I was in way way over my head. Lance and Chuck, one of our volunteers who joined us, are decent skiers so they were fine, I felt like crying all the way up the first lift but the guys were super patient and I feel like my skiing improved ten fold. As we headed home that night we figured Italy was just across the border so we drove into the border town and had dinner. Not a bad way to unwind and a killer kick-off to the road trip.
Todd getting ready to school all of us
So very cold
Ready for battle
The next day we headed to Munich. And this is when I realized that I was going to love traveling with Lance. We checked into the hotel, got a map from the concierge, walked into the city center, found a restaurant and spread maps and guide books out and spent a few hours figuring out what to do. It was so low key and perfect for a girl who spends her whole professional life planning every detail.
Beer hall 
We did something like this every single day 
Just friends but seriously, this wasn't a bad view for 12 days
Planner (also nerd)

So after two days in Munich we were off to Prague-but not without a stop at the Neuschwanstein castle (after a lot of coaching I finally learned how to say that). Lance had already been and it was a five hour detour/backtrack but so very worth it. It's Sleeping Beauty's castle you guys! We got to Prague early evening and went out exploring. I don't know what else to say about Prague except that you should probably go there and you should probably know before you go that it's an insanely romantic city. Like you'll fall in love with pretty much everything. Another sign I was with a dream traveler-the evening Lance says, "how about we go back to the warm apartment and take naps before dinner?" Check please!
What happens when you send a boy for breakfast by himself

Even lovelier in real life
Hey Bavaria, be prettier
Fairy castle!
Nose in a guide book
I really liked this tree.  
One of the few shots we took together
One of my favorite shots of the whole trip
We left Prague, turned on The Economist podcast and listened to it all the way to Berlin. Berlin turned out to be a lot like Barcelona for me-never a city that was on my list and turned out to be the sleeper hit of the trip. I could have spent a month there. So much interesting history but a very cool modern feel too. We walked for what felt like a month looking for the still standing part of the Berlin Wall and couldn't really believe that such a thing was actually real in our lifetime. 

So. Much. Graffiti. I kind of love it.
TV Tower, cathedral. Old, new. It all sits right next to each other. 
I can't overstate how unbelievably cold it was.  
Checkpoint Charlie 
Following the wall 
One of my favorite stops 
Making Riechstag reservations. And a mess.  
The huge elevator we rode up to the Dome. 
 Then there was more driving. 
So. Much. Driving.

After a night at Lance's we took a train to Amsterdam. I cashed in some hotel points so we could stay in a swankier hotel to finish off the trip. We hit the Van Gogh museum which was on my must do list, I managed to trick Lance into shoe shopping with me and then we spent a good 90 minutes fake arguing about whether the cat photo I had tagged "Amstercat" was funny or not. (It was). 
Someone who can't read German bought buttermilk. 

My Amstercat. I love her. 

And then suddenly it was Sunday and I flew to London and Lance took a train back to Germany. I never like leaving vacation but it's always nice when you feel like you really squeezed all the awesome out of your days off.  I'm sure it's fun to go to Europe when you are young and broke but it was sure fun to be able to just do whatever we wanted for 12 days. Sure let's eat there/see that/stay there-it's pretty rad to travel as an adult with a little disposable income.  Now I just need to work on the next destination-as my singles ward bishop once said "either be on a trip or be planning one." Words to live by.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


One of the sweetest simple pleasures of my life is hearing a song I like in the car and then being able to identify it with an app on my iPhone, immediately download it, and be enjoying it on repeat 90 seconds later.

Also irresistible to me is a song that is so relentlessly upbeat I can't sit still. I happen to be pulling into a parking lot yesterday when this little gem came on the radio (yes I still listen to the radio, don't faint) and I went from being in a good mood to being in a GREAT mood.

I have to get back to the office tomorrow after five weeks of gallivanting and I'm certain it will be a shock to my system. So of course I spent the weekend having fun with my friend Amanda who is in town for work and talking about boys and music and life plans. I have come to the conclusion that we single people have WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON OUR HANDS to sit and ponder "what it all means." I need a husband and kids so I can focus on things like nagging and diaper changes.

In any event, this song is going to get into my all time most played on iTunes at the rate I am going (and yes, I'm dancing at the kitchen table-it can be done.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

First Aid

Nothing better than traveling with someone who shares your musical taste. First Aid Kit was a Lance find and we listened to them from Innsbruck to Amsterdam and all the stops in between. This song was my favorite-and I very often heard it being hummed in the shower when I would sneak in to dry my hair so I think someone else liked it too.

Friday, February 10, 2012


After Berlin and on our way to Amsterdam, we spent the night at Lance's apartment in Geilinkirchen. I couldn't stop teasing him about his SUPER CLICHE bachelor pad. Bare walls. Camping and sports equipment everywhere. Video game consoles all over the floor. Mismatched glasses in the sink. 

I was joking around but then when I couldn't stop putting things away and mindlessly organizing piles we ended up sitting on the couch for a few hours browsing websites and talking about what he could do with the space. At one point he turns to me and says, "we've both been to Amsterdam, wanna skip it and go to IKEA instead?". I couldn't decide if I should have him committed or marry him on the spot. We obviously  went to Amsterdam but we kept talking all weekend about furniture he should get and how to arrange his artwork on the walls. It made me homesick for my own little space.

I finished up all my meetings and visits yesterday and since I'm just going back to London in a month for yes, MORE meetings and visits, my boss let me come back to Colorado a couple of days earlier than planned. Coming back to this felt even better than I was expecting.

 Home. It's hard to overstate how awesome it is no matter how super fabulous the trip was.

And today the Head and the Heart released their video for "Down in the Valley" which is one of my favorite songs about the concept of home.  

Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to sleep in my OWN BED. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Euro-Road Trip 2012 has come to an end. I’m sitting in the airport in Amsterdam, which oddly I’ve flown through kind of an inordinate amount over the last four years, waiting on a delayed flight to London for my FINAL COUNTDOWN meetings. That’s not a stressful name for a meeting is it?

The trip was a screaming success. We skied in the Alps, we nipped into Italy one night just to say we went to Italy for dinner. We walked through a zillion cathedrals, ate our own weight in Haribo candy, walked on cobblestones, sat in cafes, looked at works by at least three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle namesakes. We went to Dachau and parts of the Berlin Wall. I bought some art and some lovely boots. I took more photos of Lance with his nose in a travel book than he is entirely cool with but he didn’t break my camera. But maybe the most fun thing was all the talking and laughing and laughing some more and more laughing we did.

I’ve traveled with a lot of friends and never had any trouble getting along with people but this trip has been surprisingly and delightfully easy in that department. Lance and I originally became friends in Boston, hung out a handful of times there and haven’t actually seen each other since an afternoon in San Francisco five years ago. We starting instant messaging quite a bit when I was up at night owl hours and he was working in Korea-this trip hatched on a similiarly late night while he was in Afghanistan getting anxious to finish his deployment and I was getting a little bit panicked about having done this slightly spontaneous and mildly uncharacteristic thing of convincing my boss to just let me stay in Europe between events. I know this might sound a little silly from a 35 year old woman who has been pretty independent for my entire adult life, but I felt like 2011 was the year I finally realized I can do whatever I want. When I was moving to Boston for the first time I went on quick weekend trip to find an apartment. I went to meet up with this girl who was super nice over email and who I had sort of tentatively told I would take her empty spot. The apartment was dark and cold feeling and in a neighborhood that just made me sad. I called my mom that night and broke into big heaving sobs telling her I guess I was just going to have to sign the lease. I still remember the confusion in my mom’s voice as to why on earth I felt like I had to take a terrible apartment that was making me cry simply because I felt some completely internal pressure to help this girl out. Fortunately I came to my senses and told her I was passing on the place but I’ve made plenty of weird decisions over the years kind of based on thinking that you ought to deny yourself some of the things you want. I’m not sure if that’s a factor of being a terribly responsible oldest child, or some odd over application of long held religious restrictions but I can think of way too many times in my life when I thought, “oh I can’t possibly do that.” When I moved to Colorado I decided to make a much more conscious effort to live more deliberately. Could be an early mid-life crisis but I didn’t want to wake up one day and be fifty and have all of my stories sound the same.

So part of this little adventure was just about saying to myself, “why not?” And I was delighted when we got to Munich and started walking around and ducking into buildings that Lance is totally a “why not?” kind of guy. We didn’t really plan too much. I set up all the places we stayed but that was just about as far as we got. We had some guide books and a few things in each city that we felt we really should see but other than that, we just kind of got up, ate something fattening for breakfast and hopped a subway. Lance is very funny and smart (and super handsome too just as a bonus). I’m a quick laugher and appreciate having someone around who can be goofy one minute and then discuss something from the Economist podcast the next (yes, that’s what we have been listening to in the car. Nerd alert.).

I’m certain that I am a travel cliché at this point but now having been away from my regular life for over a month, I feel like I’ve had some time to really think about what I’m really doing with it. We’ve had some good chats about “what we want to be when we grow up,” and it’s always comforting when someone else who seems to have their life together is equally as uncertain as I am.

Now it's full speed through five days in London of site visiting and talking about clothes. I get to see some old friends and well, London is London so even though I am weary of pulling clothes out of a suitcase and sleeping in a different bed every few days, there are certainly worse ways to spend a week.

2012, you are sure knocking it out of the park.