Tag Archives: Work

From My Diary. Fall 2017.

Hi there. This is Dylan. Long time no see. And a lot has happened since then. Not all good.

In July dad went to heaven. One day he was here, the next day he was gone. All his things and clothes remained just where he’d left them. His smell was still here. He left without taking anything with him. And he didn’t tell me he was going. Like mom, I’ve been very sad about that. I remember the love he gave me. The back and tummy rubs. And the silly routines we had perfected together. I’m trying to teach mom, but she’s a slow learner. It will take time for her to grasp everything. Dad was a natural. I miss him.

Dylan sadI have a bout of separation anxiety every time mom leaves home without me. I know exactly when she’s planning to leave. And even the thought makes me fearful. Already before she grabs her purse I’m busy hoping she’ll come back. And not go to heaven like dad. To help my anxiety, mom bought me a Thunderskirt. I have to admit that while I don’t like clothes in general, that one makes me feel a bit safer. And it’s warm too. Just right for days like today when it’s windy and almost freezing. Only 55F/13C.

Dylan in Thunderskirt_edited-1And then a hurricane hit our area in early September, the first in almost 100 years. I was not born at the time of the last hurricane, but mom might remember it. Anyway, we took an impromptu trip to Philly. Just hopped on an airplane and left. That was quite an adventure.

philly studio ud137_edited-2It was my first time to fly. The security check was easy, I had a tick mark on my ticket so I just ran through the metal detector before mom. Then I checked out the Admirals Club, but there were no dog treats. Mom gave me a small piece of cheese. Then I flew like a pro. To tell you the truth you don’t actually need to fly. The big metal crate has large wings and it does all the work. You just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Dylan flying_edited-3The hardest thing on this trip was to go to the restaurants with our friends. I had to lie low and be quiet in the booth next to mom. I smelled chicken, bacon, cheese, you name it, but had to keep my head down. No sniffing. It was hard. But somehow I rose to the occasion. Nobody even knew I was there. Right, Gladys?

I have to tell you that I’ve never seen so many geese in my life. They patrolled the vicinity of our hotel every day. Again, I had to practice self-discipline.

Canada geese in Philly_edited-1All in all, it was a great trip. I realized I like to travel. And I hope mom gets me a frequent flyer card. Oh wait, that might not be such a great idea when I think about it. Smells like a double-edged sword. With more miles mom might travel even more. And there’s no guarantee she’d take me everywhere. Like earlier in the fall and again recently. You know, she’s been away twice in the last three weeks. First time she told me she’s going to look for a new home for us. New home? What does that mean? I love my home, my sitter and all my friends, like Bentley and others, at the dog park. I’m not moving. Full stop.

Bentley_edited-1I have to come up with an emergency plan to get that out of her head. All tips are welcome. I just hope it’s not too late.

After coming back, mom took me for a nice outing. We went to see some birds at Fort de Soto Park. We walked the trails near the beaches and found many different birds, big and small.

two willets FDS_edited-1

snowy egret FDS

GBH at FDS

ruddy turnstone FDSBut the most interesting part of the trip was sniffing around at the old fort. By far. The smells were fascinating. Markings of dogs long gone mixed with faint traces of gun powder around the old canons. I like that stuff.

canon and osprey FDS

canon at FDSThen we found another fort. And the soldiers were still there. Mostly pelicans and cormorants. They were guarding the island. Who knows what might come from the sea.

pelicans FDS

skyway bridge FDSOne pelican even gave me the look. Like questioning my right to be there.

pelican at FDSAt the end of the day I was happy, but exhausted and hungry. My dinner time was dangerously close. But mom said she didn’t want to leave before she found at least one osprey. Right away I pointed out several of them for her. They were pretty far away, but she should have spotted them. Then we finally drove back home. And I got my dinner 30 minutes late.

osprey FDS This past week mom left again. For work, she said. That word always sounds iffy to me. I don’t like anything that smells work. Bad smell right off the bat. I suspect she was doing sightseeing. Who can work four days in a row anyway? Impossible. And my hunch proved right. I caught her looking at pictures that didn’t look like work. Even I recognize the building. I watch the news. MSM. And mom’s not working at the White House, is she? I hope not. But here’s the evidence that she was there. Both day and night. Sometimes she’s so difficult to read.

white house DC

white house at night DC_edited-2

national xmas tree day time DC

national xmas tree at night DCWhatever the whole truth, the main thing is she came back. That she’s here now. Giving me tummy rubs. I just hope this lasts for a while.

Take care now. With love, Dylan

Nonstop You. In the Friendly Skies.

Seven flights in seven days. Without a hitch. The effective travel machine of “right-place-right-time-friendly” United and “nonstop-you” Lufthansa took me around North America, Middle East and Europe to all my 26 meetings. On time. What is the likelihood of that?

the intern ud51I traveled with celebrities like Meryl Streep (Get Ready for Ricki) and Robert de Niro (The Intern) among many others. And my feather-light laptop of course. I ate all kinds of meals at odd hours. Lured my body to believe it was dinner time when it was anticipating brunch. And slept a few hours here and there. You know, the kind of sleep where you are aware of most things around you. And wake up instantly when a whiff of coffee reaches your nose.

I have to say coffee was my faithful buddy on this trip. And I have many iPhone pictures (didn’t carry my camera gear) to prove it. Like this one in Frankfurt, where my friend kept me and my luggage company for hours. Four cappuccinos went down before it was time to board my flight to Amman, Jordan.

coffee in Frankfurt Germany UD51My arrival was greeted by a gorgeous sunset. And after our descent through the cloud cover, the ancient city revealed itself, sparkling like a diamond.

Arriving to Amman ud51My modern business hotel was situated in the newer part of Amman. From my window I could see a hillside condo building of beautiful limestone, typical for this area.

view from my window Amman ud51The highlight of this short visit came on my second night in Amman. A friend of mine, with whom I had worked in Egypt three years ago, invited me to her beautiful home for dinner. What an evening that was! Sumptuous dinner with delicious Jordanian dishes and wonderful company of my “Jordanian family” – an experience I will always treasure.

Jordanian Dinner ud51When I left her home late at night, I snapped a picture of this hilly neighborhood, very typical for Amman.

Amman at night ud51After two days full of meetings, I left Amman on a flight just after midnight. The rich history of this fascinating country made me want to return with proper time to explore all its famous sites, including visiting the ruins in Petra and floating in the Dead Sea. Just like the man in this photo by Pete.

1024px-Dead_sea_newspaperUpon landing for the second time the next morning, I found myself in West Indies. In the heart of Geneva, Switzerland. A charming small hotel with its Indies-inspired rooms decorated in warm saffron and pepper colors, offered an exotic interlude for this weary traveler.

hotel room in Geneva ud51By this time my body clock was very confused. It would put me to sleep or wake me up to do some work at any time I wasn’t with my clients. And it kept me updated on the primaries in Florida. Whether I liked it or not.

hotel TV ud51But it was nice to me too. Unlike at home, it allowed me to eat whatever my heart desired. Like rich croissants for breakfast. Two cups of coffee for lunch. And a huge pizza for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. Life was good.

pizza ud51The days and nights melded into one long string of working, sleeping and eating. Until it was time to carry my luggage once again up the 16 steps to the aircraft.

alps ud51I learned (again) that traveling light, while it ensures your stuff goes where you go, is actually quite heavy.  I also discovered that with a dose of divine protection “killer trips” are indeed survivable.

I’m happy to be back home again. Hoping for a gorgeous sunset tonight. Just like this one the day before I left on my trip.

sunset ud50I wish you all a wonderful week ahead. Peace.

The World’s Wildlife Capital: My Journey (Part I)

It was a beautiful early spring day when I left on my latest trip. Tampa Bay was shimmering in the sun.

leaving from Tampa ud48My first flight was short, a climb up to 25,000 feet and down again in Miami. But from there to Nairobi, Kenya, it would take two 8.5 hour flights, with a stopover in London. I was excited as it’d been just over 10 years since I last visited Kenya.

leaving for Africa ud48It would be a work trip of course, with a heavy meeting schedule, but I would be in the wildlife capital of the world! I was hoping for a small break to go for a short game drive in the Nairobi National Park.

sunrise over Nairobi ud48The first morning when I woke up to sunrise over the city, I felt I was back in Africa. I watched some big birds circling in the skies and spotted a Bateleur, an eagle-like raptor, in the distance. He was scanning the cityscape for breakfast. Much in the same way Papa Osprey scans the bay here at home.

Bateleur at sunset ud47And so the days went, I was hurrying from one meeting venue to another. Working. Walking 2-3 miles during each working day.

one of the meeting venues ud48

UN park ud48And seeing much vibrant beauty on the way in this green city. Snapping iPhone photos from the car window, whenever natural or manmade sights that caught my eye.

green Nairobi ud48

elephant statue ud48

flower bed nairobi ud48

flowers 2 Nairobi ud48

flowers in Nairobi ud48After long days I would come back to my hotel to eat, work some more and to rest. The locals were jokingly calling it the “Obama Hotel”.  The President had stayed there during his recent visit. Not in the cheapest single room, but in the presidential suite.

kempinski nairobi ud48It is a fresh hotel with wonderful gardens and great security. I had to walk down to the gates and snap a picture of its beautiful entrance garden. The back garden didn’t disappoint either. It was a tranquil oasis for a late afternoon tea or a pre-dinner drink.

kempinski garden ud48

statue in kempinski garden ud48On Valentine’s Day the staff spread some cheer to us who had to spend the day away from our loved ones. I received a nice vase of miniature roses. That was a wonderful gesture, much appreciated, and those roses lasted for the duration of my trip.

valentines day roses at the hotel ud48And I got my break last Wednesday. A free afternoon! Every minute of it, until sunset, was spent on a four hour game drive in the National Park that is only a short 40-minute drive from the city center. This 117 sq km (45 sq miles) park has a dry climate at an altitude ranging from 1,533 metres (5,030 ft) to 1,760 metres (5,774 ft). It houses a diverse range of habitats and a wide variety of wildlife, including over 400 species of birds. Yay!

giraffe walks the trail ud48I will leave you with this small “teaser” for now. A young giraffe we met on our trail. More posts to come about my mini adventure in the wild. Once I sort out my photos and identify every bird I spotted 🙂

And yes, everything seems to be fine at the salt marsh. Mama Osprey is incubating now. Papa is shuttling fish for her, and taking turns sitting on the egg(s) so she can get a break. But more on that as soon as I have an opportunity to go out and greet my feathered friends. Have a great week everyone, I will try my best to catch up on your blogs in the next few days.

 

Change of Pace (Double Haiku)

 

Slow boat to paradise by Tiny
Slow boat to paradise by Tiny

Puttering away

Catching the breezes of life

Glittering like stars.

Racing forward by Tiny
Racing forward by Tiny

Revving up the speed

Spraying  words into the air

Business in season.

****

Will be traveling for a few days. See you all later, be good.  ♥ Tiny

Sleep Frighten Dance.

Last weekend I was writing yet another review for Trip Advisor. While pinning down the cities I had visited on a world map in the reviewer profile, something hit me. I realized that my visits to some of these cities had been so hurried that I really only saw the airports, the hotels and a variety of boring meeting rooms and conference venues. That was a bit sad, I thought.

But then, slowly, my little head started churning out some details. I could recall a few incidents from those whirlwind travels. And to speak the truth, they were … a bit bizarre.

I particularly remembered a work trip to three countries in Europe that I executed in less than six days. Far from flawlessly. But I survived, contrary to firm predictions of my travel agent. And now I’m hoping that trip will make some light-hearted weekend reading in the what-not-to-do department.

It all started with a one day visit to Finland. I arrived in Helsinki after an overnight flight from New York around 7:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. The rest of our team had arrived the day before, but since my son’s birthday was that Sunday, I had opted to leave on Monday. So now I had to jump right into the team’s meeting schedule. Fresh from the plane. Red-eyed and jet-lagged.

At some point in the afternoon we were in our third meeting for the day in a client’s beautiful meeting room.  I participated in the discussion. But then, gradually, the voices of people talking started to fade away. Until all I heard was distant monotone mumble. I was about to fall asleep. I remember pressing my fingers as hard as I could around the thick edge of the wooden conference table, hoping the pain in my fingers would keep me awake. That trick didn’t work. I drifted further and further away. Suddenly I heard my name being called. I was invited to answer… a question? But what question? All eyes were on me, expectantly.

I glanced at my boss hoping he would help me out. Nothing. Then my sleepy brain came up with a brilliant emergency strategy. Looking around the room I asked: In what context do you want me to explain that?  Addressed to no one in particular. Successful gamble! My boss understood I had not really been there and helped me by expanding on the question. Phew! That was a close call. I was grateful I had remained upright in my chair and not hit my head to the table, with a resultant bump in my forehead. So far so good. During the coffee break that followed, I had three cups of strong black Finnish coffee.

That night I slept like a baby, waking up every two hours wondering where I was. Bright and early the next morning I was at the airport again. On my way to Warsaw, Poland. Solo.

There I quickly checked into my hotel and then participated in a conference at another venue for the rest of the day. Late in the evening, after a joint dinner, all participants received a gift from the local hosts: a beautiful hand-painted Polish coffee mug. I had only my laptop case and a small purse with me, so I shoved the large mug into the front pocket of my trench coat.  A huge bulge.

polish coffee mug ed (2)

On our way back to the hotel where most of us stayed,  it became obvious to me that the other participants wanted to “see the town”.  I protested.  All I wanted was to hit my head on the pillow. But they didn’t allow me to walk alone to the hotel. Could be dangerous for a lady at that time of the night. Little did they know about my self-defense capabilities. But I didn’t feel like elaborating on that so I found myself among people queuing for entrance to a local night club. Just green tea for me, please.

When our company reached the club’s entrance, the bouncer immediately pulled me aside. What now?  He pointed at the obvious bulge in my coat and shouted something in Polish. Loud. Everyone stared at me. Some fearfully, most curiously. Finally my tired brain caught up and I was about to retrieve the coffee mug from my pocket. He almost hit me. Put your hands up! That was English. I swiftly obeyed. Then he carefully reached into my coat pocket and fished up … the mug. The threat was over. Laughter. Who goes into a night club with a large coffee mug in her pocket? Tiny does. Entertainment for the masses.

After some explanations offered by a Polish colleague, we were eventually allowed inside. Bright neon beams. Loud music. I sat at the back wall with my rolled up trench coat, the mug back in the pocket, for the one hour or so we stayed at the club. Finally back in my hotel room, I carefully packed the mug in my carry-on. I still have it and I use it often. It’s special.

After a couple of meetings in our Warsaw office the next morning, I was at the airport again. And boarded a plane to Budapest, Hungary. Exhausted I threw myself on the bed in my hotel room. I would take a nap and go for dinner in two hours. Then enjoy my only free evening on this trip. But that was not to be. I slept 12 hours straight. Took me several minutes to figure out where I was and why. I was in Hungary and I was hungry. It was almost time for breakfast.

That Friday I led a workshop for staff from our local office. All went well. Until the evening. We were invited to a special dinner with cultural entertainment. During the nice traditional dinner,  a band played Hungarian folk music. Very enjoyable. At the time of the dessert, a small group of young folk dancers performed.  And then the band played again. That’s when a youngish male colleague from the local office decided to ask me to dance. Me? No way. So I politely declined referring to my nonexistent skills in Hungarian folk dance. That strategy fell on its face. Everyone stood up and started clapping, urging me to dance. I was their guest so I decided to be brave and give it a try.

I found myself in the middle of the floor with my colleague. Everyone still clapping. He turned out to be a very good folk dancer so I was able to follow him, to a small degree. Whistles and louder clapping. After a few minutes the tempo changed. We started twirling around faster and faster. One, two, three … this was fun! Until somewhere between the fifth and the sixth spin I lost my footing.  As a kid I had never won a competition where we were supposed to spin around in one direction. My head just doesn’t agree with that kind of motion. So there I was laying on the floor. Dizzy. And without the folk dancers’ usual white cotton underwear or long skirt. Colleagues were rushing to pick me up. Not one of my best moments, but quite memorable.

I remember that a group of colleagues walked with me from the restaurant back to my hotel over the Danube river. That was a beautiful walk, we stopped several times to admire the gorgeous night views of Budapest. The next day was Saturday. I would be catching my plane back home around midday.

As a reward for my bravery at the dinner, my Hungarian colleagues offered to show me a bit more of the city the next morning. They took me to a little village in the outskirts of Budapest. It was a picturesque place with lots of craft shops. To my relief there was no music or folk dance that time in the morning. I ended up buying some beautiful traditional embroideries for gifts and some Hungarian crystal dessert bowls for home. I still have them as a reminder of my Hungarian dance performance.

hungarian crystal 4 edited 2

I’m sipping morning coffee from my Polish mug right now. Then will have some fresh fruit from a Hungarian crystal bowl.  I have the evidence. I didn’t dream it all up. I’m smiling. And if you are so inclined, it would be a good time to smile right about now. It’s on me.

More on my wacky travels in other countries later. I wish you all a wonderful weekend. – Tiny