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Category: Road Warrior (page 3 of 8)

Beachfront Business

After my “kwik trip” to Wisconsin to celebrate Bre’s confirmation, I was home for just a few hours before heading back to the airport. As has been the case several times this year, a business trip ended up being scheduled right against a bit of fun. This time, my early Monday morning travel was to Florida – on Tuesday I was facilitating a workshop.


The hotel where our meeting was held included “beachfront” in the name and was very aptly named, the view from the balcony of my hotel truly was stunning…morning, noon and night! Needless to say, when in my room I spent a lot of time staring out the window or out on the balcony. At night, the gentle sound of the waves coming through the sliding glass door made for excellent sleep.


After a successful day on Tuesday, my goal for Wednesday morning was simple: be on the beach for sunrise. I am so glad that I did that! The 40 minutes I spent on the beach watching the sun, clouds & waves was so restorative – as the light started to emerge and play against the clouds and water my head was filled…with favorite verses, with lyrics to songs & hymns (morning has broken, anyone?), with reflections on the last couple of years since I made the decision to change jobs and relocate…In the midst of it all, I was thankful for the technology held in my hand that allowed me to capture pictures & even videos of the sunrise to share with dear ones far away.


Midday on Wednesday, it was time to leave the spectacular beachfront views and begin to journey home. As I drove back towards Orlando, I saw a sign for the Brevard County Stadium – a lightbulb went off that this was the home of the Brewers farm team: Brevard County Manatees. I had plenty of time before my flight so I took a 3 mile detour to the stadium. I walked around & snapped a few pictures to share with friends. Staff cars were in the parking lot so I found the main phone number & called. “Hi, I’m a Brewers fan in the area on a business trip – is it possible for me to stop in & get some Sea Cow Swag?” I was given instructions to take the elevator to their office & someone would meet me. In just a few minutes, we were in the team store (which was already torn down for the season) & I was picking up a couple of ball caps from the storage closet. All told, I maybe added 15 minutes to my time to get back to the airport – and now I have a fun new hat to add to the collection (sidenote: manatees have been a favorite animal since a 5th grade report on them – still have yet to see a live one up close…)

The workshop was a success…the beach views restorative…the baseball stop a fun serendipity! Once again, it was fun to work a bit of extra fun into a few road warrior days.

Across the Pond…Again

Last week brought my third business trip to the UK in less than 3 months. A full week of workshops outside of London was on the schedule and I planned to stay through till Sunday to enjoy a weekend in London.

The work week was busy – I was glad that on Monday evening a colleague & I had made plans to check out a nearby tavern right on the Thames. Dinner was the best fish & chips I’ve encountered during these recent travels & the setting was a nice respite from the workshops. Throughout the week, I got caught up in World Cup fever as colleagues from multiple countries were in “full on” team spirit.

On Friday afternoon, as work wrapped up a car picked me up to take me into London for some fun. Once again, I enjoyed staying at a great hotel “in the middle of it all” using points from my WI travel. Once I settled into the hotel on Friday afternoon, I walked a couple of blocks to hop on the tube to the Swiss Cottage stop. On the agenda, catching up with a friend from my book club days in Chicago. It had been several years since we had seen each other so there was much catching up to do – in addition to “life” we were also trading book recommendations back & forth.

Saturday was a “full on” tourist day. After enjoying breakfast delivered to my room (thank you concierge status!), it was time to see the city. My first stop was The British Museum. I was there for about 3 hours and yet I know I only skimmed the surface of this amazing collection of artifacts.

After the museum, I strolled down Oxford Street to do some shopping. My main shopping goal was a return to Liberty to get one of their beautiful scarves. Along the way I did a bit of other shopping to pick up treats for family. I arrived at Liberty to signs of big sales – so my plan to get one scarf ended up morphing into picking up 2 of their gorgeous scarves on sale for the price of 1. After shopping, it was back to the hotel – an iced coffee, panini & coverage of the Royal Ascot races provided a respite from the hot day.

Late in the afternoon, I hopped on the tube & headed across the river to the London Eye. It was a gorgeous day to hop into one of the carriages for a “spin around the city.”
From the London Eye, I walked along the River Walk and came across a steel drum performer with a haunting performance of Amazing Grace. A walk across the Jubilee Bridge brought me back towards my hotel. Along the way, I walked past Trafalgar Square and then turned onto Leicester Square.

My goal was dining al fresco in one of the many cafes that line the square. A table at Muriel’s Kitchen provided a lovely end to that goal. My sister texted that I needed to get a slice of banoffee pie to end the day. The restaurant didn’t serve it. Thanks to my iPhone, I googled “banoffee pie near Leicester Square” & saw mention of a cafe in the area – as I walked back towards my hotel I came across the cafe & ordered a slice “takeaway.”

On Sunday morning, the city was just starting to wake up as my car took me back to Heathrow. After being in the middle of such hustle and bustle, it was nice to see the quieter side of the city. The flight home was for catching up on movies and reading…and also for tea time just before landing. I think one or two more UK trips will be on the horizon as the year progresses – I wonder what tourist adventures await on future trips.

A Sunny Sunday…London Style

This time last Sunday, I was tourist for a day in London ahead of a meetings at one of our locations outside of London. Meetings started on Monday afternoon – so a Saturday overnight flight & a few hotel points from all my WI travel allowed for a Sunday afternoon and evening in the midst of it all. A colleague flew in early too and was game for some Sunday adventure.
A postcard view from my hotel room

A postcard view from my hotel room

As I opened the door to my hotel room, I was greeted with an incredible view of the London skyline – I think I might have a postcard that looks just about the same. After cleaning up a bit, it was time to set out for some London fun.
In Trafalgar Square

In Trafalgar Square

First, a stroll practically around the corner to Trafalgar Square. On such a warm and sunny afternoon, the square was bustling with people & performance art. We wandered through some of the galleries at the National Gallery – in our tired state, the commentary we had about some of the paintings was quite rich.
The view from the cafe

The view from the cafe

After recharging with an iced latte & a ginger biscuit, it was time for a bit of shopping. A quick taxi ride dropped us in front of Liberty of London.
About to enter Liberty

About to enter Liberty

It was great fun to stroll through the floors at Liberty – the florals truly are amazing. Some purchases were made and ideas for purchases on future trips were filed away.
A glimpse of the red carpet

A glimpse of the red carpet

When our shopping was done (or rather we knew we needed to leave before doing anymore damage), we met up with a colleague for drinks before walking to dinner. As we walked, we passed the theater & red carpet for a BAFTA awards show.
My postcard view - the nighttime edition

My postcard view – the nighttime edition

After dinner, it was time for me to grab a cab back to my hotel & “finally” get some sleep. Upon my return to my room, I stared out the window for a bit watching my iconic skyline view come to life with the night lights. Thanks to the marvel that is FaceTime, I gave the family a touring of the darkening skyline before calling it a night. On Monday morning, a taxi ride to Waterloo Station and then a 45 minute train ride transported us away from being a London tourist to our several days of planning workshops. More trips may be on the horizon…I wonder what tourist adventures I’ll be able to incorporate into them?

Business Trip Tourist: London

The last week of March, I had a couple of days of business meetings in London. In addition to productive meetings, I managed to insert a few touristy activities to make the most of my first trip to London.
I arrived to Heathrow on Monday morning. After collecting my luggage and passing through Border Patrol, as I walked through the doorway of the passenger arrivals area to a sea of people waiting for friends & family it was a given that “God Only Knows” would be the ear worm that filled my head.
London Scenes
Since my meetings didn’t start until Tuesday, I had Monday for exploring. Before arriving, I had grand plans to explore a couple of museums; however, those plans were sidelined by a blister (all that DC walking) & the reality that I would be doing a fair bit of walking to/from the meetings each day. After a quick rest at the hotel, I mapped out a new plan with the help of the concierge – I had a ticket for one of the on & off tour buses and away I went.
London Scenes
It was a sunny & crisp afternoon – sitting in the open air of the upper level of the bus was perfect for keeping me awake when my body was saying “just let me sleep.” The tour guide was a delightful fount of information – I could have easily stayed on the bus for the entire route. But, at the Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey I hopped off the bus so that I could achieve my one goal for the afternoon: enjoy a proper afternoon tea.
London Scenes
While web-planning things I wanted to do in London, I had stumbled across the website for a cafe on the grounds of the abbey that seemed like a perfect option for tea. Indeed, the afternoon tea at The Cellarium was a lovely recharge for my very tired self.
Tea Time
After tea, I hopped back on the bus for a bit more sight seeing before heading back to the hotel.
London Scenes
Once our meetings concluded on Wednesday afternoon, I had the evening free since I wasn’t flying home till Thursday morning. I caught a cab to Leicster Square and went to the TKTS booth to see what shows had “special” tickets for the evening. I had decided that I didn’t want to see a big musical or something that was “easy access” back home. I picked up a 2nd row ticket to the new play “Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense” based on the works of P.G. Wodehouse. I’ve been a fan of the actor Matthew MacFadyen since I discovered the MI-5/Spooks television series on Netflix several years ago – it was a treat to see him originate the role of Jeeves and be very comedic after mostly seeing his dramatic roles. To complete the tourist experience for the evening, my dinner before the show was fish ‘n chips & a pint at a pub around the corner from the theatre.
Taking in a show in the West End
While the trip was quick…the work meetings were worthwhile & the moments of touring were a lovely first introduction to London. Needless to say, I will not be disappointed if I have another meeting there in the future.
One the flight home, I looked out the window & saw Iceland

One the flight home, I looked out the window & saw Iceland

In 17+ years of business travel, I’ve managed to find all sorts fun moments in the midst of work. This trip was no exception!

Wisconsin Wanderings

A journey of 85,544 stitches…
What started as a small throw...

What started as a small throw…

Two years ago today, I cast on the first stitches of this afghan on a (most likely snowy) Sunday afternoon in my hotel while on assignment in Marinette. I started with a skein of beautiful Malabrigo in Tuareg – I had 2 skeins of this yarn and decided that I would begin & end with it. The color (a favorite hue) and name of the yarn seem like an appropriate anchor to this afghan because I was indeed a bit nomadic during this work assignment. Little did I know that an initial consulting project would turn into a job/career change and a relocation from the Midwest to the northeast. I’ve named this my “Wisconsin Wanderings” afghan because all of the yarn is from my time in Marinette (2009-2012). When I had the opportunity, I did a fair amount of “wandering” on the weekends – many times the wanderings included a yarn shop visit…a yarn shop visit included purchases…my stash was growing with lots of single skeins. Turning an eclectic assortment of skeins into an afghan for my new place seemed like a good way to celebrate the memories.

A few yarns from the journey…

Oh, the varied yarns! Most are worsted weight – some a bit thicker, some a bit thinner. There are yarns…

…from the local yarn shop in Menominee – What an interesting place. I’m sure there is a story about the owner, the shoppe name, her younger days; however, whenever I was in there it just didn’t seem like it was possible to ask. My first time in, I came across a skein of the Manos wildflowers yarn that was so popular as I first jumped into knit blogging – that is in the afghan. On other visits to the shoppe, I picked up quite an assortment of old skeins of yarn – including a truly “vintage” skein of Lorna’s Laces with a “pre Chicago” label.

…from Iris Fine Yarns in Appleton which was a stop just about every time I was in Appleton – Several Malabrigo skeins – including 2 skeins of Malabrigo Tuareg that I used to start & end the afghan; a fun 3 strand twist that included a strand of green and strand of gold (Go Pack Go!)

…from the Seivers School of Fiber Art on Washington Island, part of a delightful day trip in August 2010…2 handspun skeins from local students/fiber artists…

…from Red Sock Yarns in Door County, a stop during several delightful day trips…Yellows, greens and blues to remind me of the beauty of Door County; a skein called Tundra that calls to mind the dormant acres in wintertime

…from the local farmer’s market…on my first visit in May 2010 I picked up a kettle-dyed light purple that was a surprise to see among the produce & meats

…from “finally” meeting a long time blog friend (hi Vicki!) who lived nearby and is now dying gorgeous yarns (Make.Do) – we met at her farmer’s market stall in July 2012…the blues in the skein capture the bay & the skies that filled many a day and adventure

…from some of my “self” knitting projects during my time there – yarn from my 2010 Olympic sweater; yarn from a Coastal Shawlette; yarn from the first scarf I knit about a month after starting the project; yarn from an infinity scarf that has been a cool weather staple the last 2 years

Crafting a Memory Afghan...

Crafting a Memory Afghan…

Stitches were knit…in the hotel that was “home” for so long, in the suite that we have renamed “the Amy suite” because I stayed there so many times…on a Sunday morning along the waterfront in Menominee during the final busy month before the project went live…in the office at 2AM while managing cutover activities one weekend…on weekends at home in Chicago…at home in the ‘Ville over Christmas ’12 break – back when the project was still fairly small & transportable…at my new home here in Pennsylvania…many a Packers game included knitting (although it still was possible to mess up the simple 2 row pattern during some game moments)…2012 was knit into 2013 and 2013 was knit into 2014 on New Year’s Eves…

Ready for use...

Ready for use…

The afghan came off the needles in early January and has been put to immediate use with the cold winter that we have had so far.And now, the afghan is on my sofa – ready to be grabbed and used to warm up. With the cold winter that we’ve had here, it has already been put to good use. It looks like a good napping blanket – I might need to start taking naps.

Marinette memories captured…in photos and in yarn…

These 85,544 stitches are a tactile scrapbook…looking at the stitches and the yarns, I’m taken back to moments in time: good work days, tough work days, “normal” work days, new opportunities, silly moments, early Monday morning drives north to start the work week, new and endearing friendships, daytrips and exploration, so many shore moments – early morning breakfasts in my car watching the sunrise over the water & evening walks to the lighthouse and back to de-stress from the day, many a moment along the shore, big milestones, weekend afternoons at the local cafe with a coffee and a book or knitting, small daily routines, Sunday suppers with friends – so many things that filled my days there.

Beyond photos and scrapbooks, what are “unique” ways that you have captured memories from special times in your life?

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