My background is diverse, my experience deep and my education cutting-edge. I have spent the past 15 years building a proven track record by helping companies create comprehensive and solid marketing plans and campaigns that work and bring results. Quite simply I do what I promise, my follow-through is impeccable and my portfolio is second-to-none.

 

Saturday
Apr192014

The Magic Is Gone.

This has been a big week in our household. It's been a week where I've quite literally watched my son shed his boyish innocence and walk through the door of adolescence.

I knew it was happening. He's 12 and it's been bound to happen sooner or later. But for the past year or so, he humored me by playing the Easter Bunny/Santa Claus/Tooth Fairy game. I had the sense that he saw the flaw in the logic of a tiny fairy flying around the world stealing teeth from under the pillows of sleeping children and leaving coins in return. I could see his brow furrow when he tried to process the logistics of a jolly old man covering the entire world in one night in a sleigh pulled by reindeer or a bunny that hid colored eggs for thousands of children in the span of one night. He's right- if you strip away the ceremony and folklore, these things just don't make any sense. But there really is a bit of magic in these stories and the traditions that go with them.

But let's face it. The rules of the game state that if you don't believe, you don't get the loot. And so he played along because he was caught between wanting to believe and realizing the physical impossibility of such things.

This year, we turned the page. As Easter approached, we went through the motions of coloring eggs, and I made the ceremonial mad dash through the store grabbing Easter basket stuffings. And as we colored eggs the other night, he announced that "I didn't have to hide eggs anymore and could just give him the basket on Easter morning because he knows how this works." As a parent, it was a bit crushing. The magic was gone.

And the very next day, he came home from school with one less tooth in his mouth. When he walked through the door and announced that he had lost his final baby tooth, he then asked if he could "just take a dollar from my wallet and hand me the tooth." Double whammy.

It's not that I wanted to raise a functioning adult who still believed in the magic of Santa, but it is a bit of a blow when you realize that the magic has officially left because you don't get to play that game again until you become a grandparent.

Although, I will say that there is an upside to this. 2014 will mark the first year that I get to sleep in on Easter morning and don't have to take careful notes detailing where the eggs are hidden for fear of finding one very ripe stray by smell several months later.

 

Wednesday
Apr022014

In Search of Perspective

In the last three days, I have worked a total of 38 hours. True story.

And so, after hour 38 when I stumbled out of my office at 4:00 crying "Uncle!", I knew I needed to find my perspective. And I knew just where to look. Somehow, my perspective always seems to be on the far shore of a lake, or at the top of Sage Hills.

I feel fortunate to know exactly where to look. However, I do have to admit that I wish my perspective were somewhere a bit more convenient, like my bed. Or maybe even the sofa. Or perhaps at the bottom of a glass of wine.

Because it's only April 2 and far too cold to cross a lake, I laced up my shoes, grabbed my trusty trail running partner (FatPearl) and headed out to find what I had clearly lost over the last 38 hours.

 

This is FatPearl and while she is incredibly loyal and always up for an adventure, she does cut corners on the trail. And she gloats when she's ahead of me. She's kind of a brat like that. (Author's note: Her real  name is Pearl. And she's a very sweet dog. But like her momma, she tends to pack a few extra pounds in the "off season," hence the name.)

It was cold and windy and it felt as though distance had been added to the trail system that I have come to know like the back of my hand. But without fail, there it was. My perspective, waiting for me.

And suddenly, the 248 emails I downloaded on Monday and had yet to fully wade through, and the 18-hour day I put in yesterday, and the never-ending stream of meeting requests didn't seem like such a big deal. Because when you're standing near the top of a very large hill that you've just conquered, it's not. And it's that simple.

So tomorrow will be a very new day. One full of hope and promise, rather than anxiety and sleep deprivation. And I have a public trail system created by visionaries before me, some budding wildflowers, and one dog to thank for it.  

Wednesday
Mar122014

Blessed.

I am blessed in countless ways. In fact, sometimes it feels a bit glutinous. One of those ways includes the amazing group of women that share my life.

I really don't like this cliche, but I think it accurately describes what I feel: We are a group in individuals woven together into a beautiful fabric. Gag, I know. But you see where I'm going with this.

Some of us meet regularly for lunch, more to give each other sometimes brutal reality checks than anything else. You don't get that from anyone other than very close friends. This group has snapped me back into reality on more than one occasion.

Some of us meet for happy hour to celebrate, commiserate, or solve life's greatest challenges. It's amazing what can happen over a glass of wine.

Some of us "therapy run" as the sun is rising and return feeling infinitely better and more grounded than when we laced up our shoes.

Some of us only connect periodically by text or Facebook in the perfect vacuum of time  that stands still. 

Several years ago I developed a very bizarre and skewed theory that people, women especially, didn't need friends to survive. It came from a "survival of the fittest/forge your own trail" mentality. I was an idiot. And I was wrong. And this amazing group of women have proven me wrong dozens of times. There have been periods in my life I may not have survived were it not for my friends. And for that I am grateful.

We have shared divorce, child birth, poor hair choices, career changes, financial struggles, the death of parents, marriage, and everything in between. Their issues are my issues. And my issues become their issues. I have stood on their shoulders more than once.

In fact, before I married my husband, I told him VERY SERIOUSLY that if he wanted to marry me, he had to also consider himself married to my friends. Because they weren't going anywhere. He gets it. And that just happens to be yet another blessing.

If you're lucky enough to have people in your life that will allow you to stand on their shoulders when your water is rising too quickly, and will stand on your shoulders in turn, you too are blessed.

Tuesday
Feb252014

Tragically Unhip.

This post is a bit late, but you know what they say...

I recently took my son to see the Imagine Dragons concert at Key Arena. Amazing. Epic. And we both spent months looking forward to the show.

For those who don't know me, I LOVE live music. And while I really do enjoy it all, what I really love are epic rock shows in sold-out stadiums that include at least one power ballad and leave me without a face. Because I've rocked it off.

I'll admit I've lost count, but if I were a betting woman, which I am, I would say it's a safe bet to say I've been to at least 70 concerts in my time on this planet. And, I've seen it all. From Michael Bolton (because my boyfriend in college REALLY wanted to go- hello, red flag!) to AC/DC and everything in between.

Imagine Dragons is my new favorite band, and I would put this particular show in my top five of all time. They are, in my book, keeping company with Prince, No Doubt, Aerosmith, and my beloved Maroon 5. These guys are the real deal.

And what made this show extra special was the fact that I was with my son. I've taken him to other concerts, but we were really truly both looking forward to this show. My brother joined us, making it a great time all around.

Key Arena was sold out. And when we arrived, I quickly realized how far I've come in my concert-going career. First, I was the only person there wearing a parka and sensible shoes. Which clearly makes me the smartest because the floors are concrete and it's nearly impossible to keep a venue that large warm. Advantage me.

Second, during the token power ballad everyone pulled out their phones and somehow made a magic light appear. No more lighters waving in time with the beat. Now we use phones. I knew this, of course, but have no idea how to make the light on my phone appear, or even where to find it. I wasted the rocking that was reserved for the power ballad looking for the light. Advantage phone.

Third, I had naturally arrived at the concert a well-informed Imagine Dragons fan. I had done my research. I knew the back-story and "may" have considered joining their Fan Club. I know their rise to fame has been fast, but well-deserved. At one point the lead singer stopped the show, and explained that the last time they played Seattle was just three short years ago, and for that show they played a "dive bar" with less than 100 people there. On that night, Key Arena was packed. It was a bit emotional for him, and therefore everyone sharing the moment with the band. Amazing. But my thoughts drifted to wondering if they were staying on top of their nutrition. All that sudden travel and the new demands on their time and energy required that they stay in top shape and keep themselves healthy. Were they taking their vitamins? Were they drinking enough water? Touring must be exhausting, especially when you're not used to it. Were they getting enough sleep? Advantage Lame-ville.

And, with the sudden rise to fame, were they taking care of their families? Were they home for dinner? Were they showing their spouses and significant others that they were the priority? Were they calling their mothers?

And so I had somehow transformed from the girl who "rocked" the skin-tight dress and make-the-magic- happen heels to the woman who worried whether or not the band was eating a balanced diet. I'm not sure when it happened, but I realized that I had become tragically unhip.

And after the concert, my faceless son and I hopped back in the car and headed over two mountain passes in February so that I could attend an 8:30am Board meeting, officially leaving no trace of the girl who looked for any opportunity to crowd surf.

 

Wednesday
Feb052014

24 hours on the East Coast.

My grandmother died last week. She lived in New Jersey, and my sister and I immediately began making plans to fly back east for the services. Her funeral was on Monday of this week, and I'm sure you can imagine that making plans to fly from Seattle to New Jersey at the exact time that Seattle is playing in the Superbowl- which was held in New Jersey- is not the easiest or cheapest thing I'll ever do. But, thanks to heroic efforts by my sister, we found an itinerary that would work.

The plan was perfect. I would fly from Wenatchee to Seattle and we would fly together to Philadelphia and make the two-hour drive to our grandmother's hometown. Start to finish, I would be gone 36 hours.

The plan was perfect. Except for the fact that when I arrived at the Wenatchee airport, the plane was being diverted to Spokane. By my calculation, I would have had just enough time to make the connection in Spokane and get to Seattle to board the flight to Philly. Except for this one woman.

There was one confused and frantic woman who monopolized the three ticketing agents for over 30 minutes and demanded that they personally rearrange her travel itinerary leaving a line of passengers who were largely being ignored. While this was happening, I was watching the minutes tick by while waiting to board the plane and began to realize that I would not make my connection in time. And I'm certain others were in the same predicament. No problem, I'll just catch the next flight out of Seattle. An inconvenience for sure, but at least I would get there.

The plan was revised. I used the time to rearrange my itinerary, which had me route through Chicago, before heading on to Philly. And while I wouldn't land in Philly until six hours later than expected, I felt lucky to be there in time.

The plan was manageable.

When I stepped off the plane to Chicago, and casually wandered to my new gate with time to spare, the agent informed me that my flight from Chicago to Philly had been cancelled. Naturally, I asked why. Naturally, he did not give an explanation. Instead, what he told me was that that happened to be the last flight to Philly while placing a "This Counter Closed" sign in front of me. I realized there was now no hope of making my grandmother's service in time. I began to ugly cry. Which, after all, was a better option than punching him. At least for him.

The plan was a disaster. I realized that based on this, not only would I have missed my grandmother's funeral, but I would have flown halfway across the country only to sob on the floor of the Chicago airport before turning around and flying home. I decided to go big. Not only did I ugly cry, but I did it grand fashion as a crumpled  mass in the corner while hysterically shouting into the phone at my sister. Not my finest moment, but at least I owned it. 

At my sister's instruction (she's so smart), I picked myself up, stumbled to another counter and found a much nicer and sympathetic agent who booked me on another carrier for a flight that was currently boarding. They were in the final stages of boarding and wouldn't hold the plane for me. I was counting my lucky stars that my ugly cry hadn't lasted longer while she called ahead to tell them I was coming. What happened next was a new PR, undoubtedly set to the "Chariots of Fire" theme, as I proceeded to sprint through the airport. I boarded the plane, sandwiched myself between two large men, and proceeded to mop up the sweat and do my best to muffle the residual sobs.

I made it. My sister picked me up, we drove to our hotel, and landed in bed at 2am. We were home free.

We awoke 4 hours later to something called the "Polar Vortex" and 6 inches of snow on the ground and a rental car without snow tires. And, we still had 30 miles to travel on the NJ Turnpike to the site of the services. I haven't told Jason this part, and I hope you won't either. He'll freak. So let's make this our little secret, okay?

We were only 5 minutes late for the services, but we made it. We left immediately after to make the long and treacherous journey home, only to find our return flight delayed by 3 hours. This caused me to miss my connection to Wenatchee and overnight in Seattle, but we found a bar and passed the time by toasting our grandmother.

So, if you're keeping track, I only made it on one of the actual flights I had booked on my very expensive ticket. I'm convinced my actual itinerary would have been nearly free since it was so awful.  But, I made it, and if given the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn't hesitate.