Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Moving my blog



Finally after weeks of procrastination I've moved my blog over to my own domain. Please update your bookmarks to www.puffinranch.com.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Falling Sunshine

It's fall. No really, it is! Friday morning hubby and I took Guinness for a walk in Nisene Marks and with each inhale the cold air stung my lungs, fresh and whole. The evenings now fade away in golden-hued sunlight and my deck is covered in leaves from a sudden surge of wind. But what I love about fall most is that it makes me fall in love. With life, the sky, and everything around me. It's when hubby and I fell in love and got married, it's when I adopted Guinness and Jasmine, it's when hot chocolate sounds good again.

Yesterday, I fell in love with something else, Miss Bella, a 9 week old German Shepard/"Something" puppy. We adopted her from the Animal Friends Rescue Project (an organization I'm very supportive of, and the same I adopted sweet Jasmine from). So far she is a delight, but Guinness is a little unsure. I think she'll win him over in no time. We still have MUCH training to do, but it's fall and I'm in love.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I got an offer I couldn't refuse...

....A job offer, that is. Coming back from our relaxing three-day weekend, I jumped on my to-do list when my boss invited me into her office and informed me she had just given her two weeks notice. Completely stunned, but happy for her (her new post is at an interesting sounding startup called ourstory.com, check it out!), the wheels in my head began to turn "But what about all the projects we're working on? What will happen next?" After a few lightening-speed days, and several meetings, I was offered the position of Marketing Manager at Cruzio Internet. I immediately accepted, and will be moving my way -officially, for the first time ever- into management. I will be the manager of my department including supervising one staff person, hopefully some future interns, and planning all our of marketing activities.

While I'm totally excited, I do not take the position lightly. I have big shoes to fill, like Ronald McDonald size. Not because my predecessor was excessively tall, but because she is *excellent* at her job, very well known and respected. It is truly the end of an era (she has worked for the company 9 years, taking it from 4 person staff, to 25).

I expect the next 6 weeks to be a mad-dash of long days, hard work, planning, meetings, and a steep learning curve. But I have been waiting for a long time to move forward in my career and today is THE DAY. I have never been so excited and so overwhelmed in my whole life (except maybe my wedding day).

It's nice to have good news to report. It feels damn good.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Adventures Continue

Labor day is for everything but labor. But it's not just for relaxing either. A special day off work is for stepping outside of your regular routine, seeing the bigger picture and catching up on the good things in life. So that's what we set out to do on our three days. The first day we drove to Pleasanton for the annual Highland Games. Despite frustratingly hot weather and a fruitless search for some of hubby's piping gear, I took a happy trip down memory lane after sipping some Irn Bru. Irn Bru is a staple soda of the Scottish world (probably elsewhere in Europe too). This orange colored and flavored soda was one of our common libations absorbed with "Nice 'n Tasty" eggsalad boxed sandwiches during our Scotland travels in June of 1998. Okay, I realize that might sound kind of gross, but we would pick up our nourishment on the food trolley that strolled down the aisle of the trains where we would eat over game after game of cribbage. We now realize how truly formative this trip was in our relationship and later our marriage. We discovered we traveled together very well and never got sick of each others company, even after four solid weeks. Pretty cool huh?On Saturday we headed to Santa Barbara to visit my best friend Rianna who was in California for a brief three days, far from her home in Boston. Seeing her was a sort of coming home. As one of my oldest friends (in years, not age of course) she is like a sister to whom I need to explain nothing. We kicked back on the Santa Barbara coast, drinking pints at Dargan's pub and enjoying the sunshine. After sending her off at the airport, we slowly made our way home visiting the funny Danish town Solvang and lunching in San Louis Obisbo. Our stop in SLO opened my eyes to another place we could consider building our Puffin Ranch. With realty prices a few hundred thousand dollars less than their SCruz peers, perhaps my Puffin Ranch dreams are not too ambitious. Friends, relaxation, and the potential of making a dream reality? That's a labor day to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

'Frisco Kids

We once fantasized about moving to the City, even long enough to pick out our favorite neighborhoods (I fancied Noe Valley). But after my travels in Spain and sleepless nights in Madrid I realized I couldn't survive in a big, noisy city very long. However, this weekend made the City very alluring. After spending Saturday morning on the beach enjoying coffee with an old friend, we headed up to San Fran to break in my good friend Rachel's new adorable studio at a housewarming party. Good conversation, highly-spiked punch and a wild haired cabby (When we exited the cab Hubby asked "Was that a man or a woman?") served as the perfect Saturday night. Making it a full weekend, we stayed overnight at the Pickwick Hotel (featured in the classic flick "The Maltese Falcon") and woke up late in search of a java-jolt and sugary pastries--the perfect hangover medicine.
What is a trip to the City without art and shopping? So we perused the Market Street wares (I got a fab fall sweater, Hubby some much-needed t-shirts) and then embarked on a tour of the SFMOMA's Matthew Barney exhibit. We were familiar with Barney's work from our trip to New York in 2002 and his bizarre exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum. But his "Drawing Restraint" exhibit took weird to a whole new level. I could become very tangential about what art is, and what makes an artist after viewing Barney's show, but it would be far too long.
After another short visit with Rachel we headed back to our shore-side home, missing the electric vibe of San Francisco, but refreshed by the green air and somber silence of home. Maybe someday we'll experience city living, but for now, our proud redwood trees fill the soul (and encourage the zzzzs).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mud Lovers

I never thought I'd like riding a bike. Bikers or cyclists just looked like children with too many toys--brightly colored jerseys, arched sunglasses, and camelback water systems. They also traveled in obnoxiously large pods, teaming past my home yelling at one another to be heard. But I'm starting to come around. The first weekend in August some co-workers and friends set out to Waddell Creek, several miles north of Santa Cruz, near Davenport. The journey was an awesome, mud-soaked 6 mile ride, followed by a 3 mile hike rewarded with views of four waterfalls. Although I was initially put off by the dirt, the more splattered I got with each puddle, the wider my smile grew. If you had asked me a year ago if I liked mountain biking, or even just a simple bike ride, I would have said no. But with this whole new wheeled world open to me, I now see previously hidden adventures awaiting. My office mate Nikkie and I (pictured along side me) have posted a local cycling map in our office where we're plotting our future destinations. Those toys (especially the padded spandex shorts) don't sound so silly anymore.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Returning to Normal..Sort of

My life has been full. From the break of dawn until late into the damp midnight air, my body has been in motion, mouth moving, or brain focusing diligently. Some times all three at once. But the causes of this overly-packed lifestyle have been good ones, sometimes even wonderful.
The first is love. Love in the form of a wedding between two of my very good friends in one weeks time. Being a part of their planning and celebration is a blessing and a joy, but not without its due time and attention.
The second has been work. My transition into a new workspace (we moved offices) is now complete and I am adjusting to the lifestyle of an overly airconditioned office with no windows to the outside world. To top that off, I've been preparing for our presence at this weekend's Strawberry Festival, from staffing to banners, and actually working at the event (just returning home at 10pm tonight).
The last and best thing that has filled my attention these past few weeks is my beloved sister and her baby dog Ranger. While most of the time we spent together were casual dinners or watching DVDs, her presence in my home changed my day-to-day routine. Now that she has flown home to North Dakota I find myself looking at her favorite spot to sit on the couch, her empty bedroom, and the lack of her presence filling my senses.
Guinness dog feels it too. He has repeatedly walked into the room where Sister and Ranger slept, searching for them, and is trying to reteach himself how to be an only-child dog playing with toys by himself. Some special love and attention is sorely in need.
So while my life has technically returned back to normal, with my sister home and the Strawberry Festival in my past, I've grown accustomed to the new norm. When I passed the threshold, the absence of my sister's smiling face was immediate, the uplifting energy of Ranger missing, and my heart sunk a wee bit in my chest. I sighed and made myself a hot chocolate to cope. So cheers to my returned norm, but I hope she comes home again soon.