After 8 years abroad, these past two years of transition back into the US have been “interesting” to say the least. I’m so thankful I can now bask in my independence. Today was a wonderful day. I moved into my apartment. I’ve been dreaming about this since I stepped foot back in the US in December of 2010.
Today, I picked up the keys to my new apartment. It’s taken me just over two years to get to this point, where I can stand on my own two feet and have my independence. I could not be more excited.
I’m so pleased with the wonderful apartment I found in North Park. It’s so convenient to downtown, University Heights, Hillcrest, the freeways, and the hip little hot spots around the area.
The apartment is a bit of a historical building. It’s one of the old Navy row house cottages and dates back to 1935. I love the hardwood floors and the tiled kitchen and bathroom. The bedroom and closet are quite spacious for this style of housing. Actually, the apartment feels very roomy and will be more than adequate space for my furball, Aria and me. I’ve never really lived in large spaces, so this is just perfect.
I’m eager to move in and have yet another fresh start here in San Diego. Funny thing is that even though I am a native of this wonderful city, this is my first apartment in San Diego. I’m excited to finally have my freedom, and the independence to create a life that is reminiscent of the way I lived my life when I lived abroad.
I move in on Monday and I am so excited to unpack all those boxes I sent from Hanoi. I’ve forgotten what treasures are packed inside. I’m sure it will be a wonderful stroll down memory lane!
Here’s a couple of photos of my blank slate!
The Inauguration of President Obama was a very special occasion for me this year. You see, four years ago, I was in Laos, a Communist country, on the day of Obama’s first inauguration and I did not have a chance to celebrate. You can read that story HERE.
This year, I didn’t do anything special, no parties or gatherings. I just watched on TV in the comfort of home, my PJs and a cup of coffee. I watched the formalities of arrivals and seatings, of music, poems and speeches, of the crowds waving their flags awash with smiles and hope on their faces. I get emotional during formal events and ceremonies. I don’t know why. I felt excited. I felt pride for my country. It made me reflect on my life and experiences and my choice to remain here in the US versus the adventure of living in Argentina or Spain (thoughts I had when I returned from Vietnam). I’m glad I decided to stay. I’m happy to live in the United States.
Today was a good day, a proud day, and I am thankful I was here, in my home country, to watch the ceremony and celebration. No matter who you voted for, the Inauguration is a significant day in US history. When you have been denied the opportunity to witness it, it makes you all the more grateful when you can. I hope you enjoyed the events today, too.
If you missed it, you can watch it here:
Want to see some historical photos of inaugurations past? Click HERE.
Happy New Year! Indeed, the roller coaster that was 2012 is behind us. I am grateful. As the clock struck midnight on 12/31, I was eager to welcome 2013. From everyone’s posts on Twitter and Facebook, it seems you are equally enthusiastic about a clean slate. Without going into tremendous detail, I will simply say that 2012 was not my favorite year. I am enthusiastic for this New Year and a refreshed spirit.
As you may remember, I do not make resolutions for the New Year. Sure, I’ve set a few personal goals about health and exercise, even deciding that I would not eat a bite of fast food this year, but I prefer to determine a theme for the New Year and let everything I do speak to that theme. My theme for 2012 was Rise & Shine and that largely had to do with my business. My life continues to revolve around my business and is dictated by it’s every breath. Still in its infancy in 2012, I suffered the growing pains many entrepreneurs who are operating on a shoestring budget experience. I made great progress in 2012, even though there were some struggles mixed in the bag. What matters most is that I ended 2013 on a high note and am poised to carry my shiny torch into the New Year.
And so with that, I wanted my 2013 theme to embody the spirit of momentum and moving forward. “Onward & Upward” was under consideration as was “As The Crow Flies.” In my search for the meaning of certain words and phrases, I discovered a great site which explains the meaning, origin and history of many of these types of sayings. Click HERE.
What I zoned in on, was one that has a sports reference, a competitive spirit and that determination I need to carry me through the year on a very bright note. Ladies and gentleman, my 2013 personal theme is, “Knuckles Down, Chin Up, GAME ON!” Think of a football team’s offense at 4th and inches, getting set on the line of scrimmage. The game-winning touchdown is at stake and as they put their knuckles down on the grass, lift their chin with the positive attitude and belief they will score, and dig deep inside their own being as they wait for the signal from the QB. Once they hear it, it is totally – Game ON! And that moment, that energy and impetus is what I want to strive for, capture and maintain in 2013.
I have much – so much – to accomplish this year, both personally and professionally. You can bet your bottom dollar that with this fire in my belly and my eye on the endzone, that I will exceed my goals. Yes, it is a Happy New Year and I look forward to a 2013 full of W’s.
Have you ever thought of creating a personal theme? If you were to chose a theme for 2013, what would it be? Share your themes, goals, and resolutions in the comments.
I shopped online at Barnes & Noble to avoid holiday shopping season. B&N shipped my items in separate packages. I received one package which did not have the soft-cover journal I need for my business notes, but a book on yoga for pain. The first line of the return policy states, “It’s easy to return an item if you’re not satisfied.” The online policy also states that I may return items in the store. The packing slip adds “For your convenience” the item can be returned to the store.
This is what I ordered:
This is what was delivered:
I checked online to see which B&N actually had my journal in stock. I went to that store. I was told that they cannot exchange the item because it “messes up the inventory.” I pointed out the online policy as well as referenced the packing slip verbiage. The clerk, Jeanette had to call customer service. There was no special hotline from the store. She called the same number any of us would have to call. Jeanette was on hold for five minutes. After explaining the situation to the man (how can I possibly be the only person this happens to?), he needed to speak with me. Benjamin confirmed the order number, billing and shipping address, then put me needed to put me on hold.
After being on hold for more than seven minutes, Benjamin explained that his “tools” weren’t working. Wanting clarification, I asked him what “tools” meant. It was his computer. So he had to transfer me to another customer service representative who could help me (and whose tools were apparently working). I waited on the phone for a good ten minutes. I asked Jeanette if I could just return the incorrect item and purchase the correct item. Perhaps they couldn’t “exchange” an online item for an in-store item, but surely, based on the return policies, they would allow me to return the item they screwed up and let me purchase the correct item. Right?
Wrong. Jeanette helped me hang up with customer service before telling me that she would return the item via UPS on my behalf. So essentially, I gave up the incorrect item and the packing slip so that they could mail it for me and purchased the correct item (which Jeanette gave me at a 10% discount).
I’m still shaking my head a bit. I ordered these things online so I wouldn’t have to deal with going to the store during the holiday shopping season. B&N sent me the wrong item. Sending me the wrong item was cause for me having to go to their store (returning the item at the store seems less hassle than the mail). And even though their policy states that I can return it in the store, that’s actually not the case. Until the incorrect item which they sent me arrives back with them, my account will not be credited, so I have essentially paid for the item twice. I don’t have a guarantee (except faith in humans and Jeanette) that I will be credited. How is that easy?
I’m sorry Barnes & Noble, but you cannot post a policy online and on your packing slips and then not honor that in-store. Major F in customer service on that one.
Have you experienced anything like this lately? Or better, have you experienced great customer service this holiday season?
Time to give credit where credit is due. Dr. Perry Diamond, the vet at Clairemont Village Pet Clinic is AWESOME! I mentioned in a Facebook post the other night that Aria had a bad reaction to her booster shots and I had to rush her back to the Vet so she could get two more shots to cmal the situation down. She stayed at the clinic for a few hours for observation to make sure she had no further reaction to the boosters. All said and done, Wednesday was a rough day for my furball, but she’s quite the trooper.
What I love about this clinic is the caring staff and “old-fashioned” customer service. I received a call today from Dr. Diamond simply asking how Aria was doing. He assured me that her record noted her reaction and that the next time we’ll pre-medicate her for her boosters. While his follow-up is routine for his practice, he is sincere and genuinely concerned for his patients. And I really appreciate that he takes the time to check-in on the health of my pet after she’s had a tough day.
It’s been probably about 20 years since I’ve been to a Chargers game. I remember very few specifics. Chargers played the Chiefs. I was surprised to find that one of my friends from junior high was a Charger Girl. Given the age of the cheerleaders, I’m guessing it had to be about 20 years ago. And yes, that makes me feel really, really old.
I was excited for the game yesterday. I was attending with a fabulous business group called WISE – Women in Sports and Events – a group which is emerging in San Diego. It’s a national organization and after seeing their success in Los Angeles, I am eager to be a part of the formation in San Diego. As the board member who is serving to do marketing for the group, I’ll be mentioning the events and programs we produce often.
So it was with WISE that I found myself tailgating before the game. With one of our board members an employee with the Chargers, we had a great set-up for the day. We even had the chance to meet Chargers Executive VP and CFO, Jeanne Bonk (far left in photo above). It was nice to get better acquainted with the gals and enjoy pre-game festivities.
Once inside, we took our seats up in the view section, behind the endzone, opposite the big scoreboard. As we sat down, I took in the view and the atmosphere and realized just how many Bengals fans were in the stadium, and how many empty seats there were.
Another thing that surprised me is how few players and personnel are actually on the sidelines. On camera, it looks to be full. But from above, you can see that the roster is not all that deep. And we could see Norv, with his complacent stance and slow steps up and down the field. There is nothing inspiring about that man.
The game was the game – nothing overly exciting happened, as you know. We enjoyed watching the defense score and the kicker score, but Rivers and his offense went scoreless for this match-up.
Of all the things that happened during the game, the event which stuck with me the most happened in the stands. Right about the start of the 4th quarter and three sections over from us, a fight broke out and a bunch of people jumped to their feet. The event staff and police arrived on the scene. It took them several minutes to calm everyone down. And it seemed they cleared up the issue. However, about five minutes after the police and event staff left, the two men went at it again. And then even more event staff and police showed up.
At the moment this happened, a group of small boys, probably 5-7 years old, were escorted out by the three or so dads who brought them to the game. All the little boys were decked out in their Charges gear and they all held hands as they went down the stairs and exited. I’m sure they were confused and upset they had to leave. But the fathers made the right choice. The scene unfolding was pretty nasty. I know those men/families paid a lot of money for those little tykes to watch the game. It was such a shame that the fathers were forced to end their outing early because some jerks in the “cheap” seats couldn’t control themselves. I wish we had seen the event staff escort this precious group of boys to another section – there were certainly plenty of open seats!
The drunks who started the commotion were eventually escorted out in handcuffs (which should have been done at the first altercation). That’s all good and well, but I do wonder what those dads told their little boys. And I am sad that what was probably their first Chargers experience is tainted with violence and drunken idiots. I get so frustrated when I see situations like this.
Have you experienced a Chargers game this season? How did you enjoy game-day?