Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New York State of Mind

Christmas blog to come..but in the mean time...I am heading to New York tonight to Kent's parents' home in Highland Falls. I cant wait to get there! It will be my first visit to their home in the Hudson Valley. It is just a beautiful spot in the world, and I can't wait to experience it for myself.

Kent called me this morning to tell me that there is snow on the ground. We will be playing in a winter wonderland tomorrow, and I am so excited!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Million Dollar Baby

I do realize that even after my last blog about not blogging that I have still not started blogging again.
I just got back from my first trip home since moving to the West coast. I had such a wonderful time, and I am already looking forward to going back. I was so excited last week as I was preparing to fly out the night of the 23rd. We had a holiday potluck at Gap; I was wearing a new sweater, and I just couldn't wait to get on that plane, land in Atlanta and see so many loved ones that I missed so dearly. I was scheduled to leave the office right at five, so I could get home in time to pack and clean before my Super Shuttle picked me up at 8:30 for my midnight flight (had to leave plenty of time for the long holiday lines). Around 3pm, I get a call from our Chicago team that works on the Gap account, and it turns out that we have billed the wrong account for about a $1million in duty (tax) payments to US Customs. If we do not fix this asap, we could potentially overdraft the account, and be subject to thousands of dollars in fines to the government. I immeditely get on the phone with our executive leadership because I definitely need their help when it comes to problems of this size ($1M!). It turns out that this problem is not easily fixable, and we won't know how to fix it until one of our internal customs gurus returns from vacation after Christmas. This means that I must go through the entire holiday not knowing how this can be resolved. I felt utterly helpless at this point!

Feeling discourged, disheartened, and sick to my stomach; I thought, "how in the world could this happen, and how could I not catch it before it became a big problem?" Images of quitting or being fired flashed through my mind. While it was not directly my fault, I still feel like I could have prevented it if I had asked enough questions while this part of the business was transitioned. I lead this program, and the responsibility is mine.

I internalize everything, and now that my boss is basically non-existent I have noone to offer real feedback or support- no one that is truly invested in my development. There are many great people that are involved in the account that I could reach out to for support, but you can't force a mentor/mentee relationship. That develops over time.

In the middle of this, I had to leave the office in order to get home, so I could catch my flight on time to get home. All of the excitement had drained out of me, and I was just sort of empty. I made it to the airport. I drank a beer before boarding my flight, and that made me feel surprisingly better- not that Im condoning alcohol as a coping method. :) I boarded the plane in San Fracisco, made it stop 1 in Dallas around 3am West coast time.... I groggly made my way off of the plane and onto the next one, landing in Atlanta around 9:30 east coast time...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I just re-read my last blog update and realized that I have gone two full months with no entries. I seem to have lost focus on blogging and on working out. I have however been working like crazy and also having amazing weekends. I will provide a brief update here shortly!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Workout Updates- Thursday

Okay okay. so I promised to provide workout updates to keep myself honest. :)
On Monday, I got off of work late, so Kent and I decided to do the Coit Tower run instead. It was pretty brutal. You run fast for a mile and a half on flat ground down the Embarcadero, then you run up about 1000 stairs up hill towards to Coit Tower, which overlooks the city of San Francisco. It is in a great neighborhood called Telegraph Hill where beautiful bright colored homes cover the STEEP streets. When we got to the top of the hill, I was completely out of breath, and feeling the pain, but we couldn't stop there. We did 100 sit ups (not crunches) and 100 pushups, then headed back down the steps and home running at a fast pace. Kent let me use his ipod, and it really pushed me to the next level. His ipod is filled with fast paced, motivating music, unlike mine which is filled with old country love songs.

Tuesday, I worked late and Kent had mediation, so I stayed home and didn't work out. I know I know... already cheating, and it was only day 2.

Last Night, Wednesday, I altered the plan a little and just did the stationary bike for 20 minutes. Not exactly a stellar workout, but at least it was something.

Tonight's workout is up in the air. I would like to get my long run in tonight...if I can get home in time!

I think setting goals is important, but it is more important to just make sure that you do something. You can alter the plan, but at least alter it to where you do something every day even if you don't do it all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge

This blog is supposed to be about experiencing life to the fullest out in California! Last weekend, Kent and I decided to do the classic tourist experience in San Francisco- bike the Golden Gate Bridge. I was a little nervous as I have not ridden a bike in almost 20 years, but I hoped that the old addage "It's like riding a bike" was true.

And... it was! We headed down to the Fisherman's Wharf on Saturday afternoon and rented bikes. Neither of us own bikes right now. Kent had two bikes stolen last year on campus, and I haven't owned one since I was 6 years old. There were many different routes to choose from, but the classic experience is riding through Golden Gate Park, across the bridge, and down to Sausalito, where you can pick up the Ferry for a nice ride home on the SF Bay.

I was able to get the hang of it pretty quickly, even shifting gears and putting on breaks. :) Learning to ride a bike kind of makes you feel like a kid again. With all of the hustle and bustle and stresses of every day life, it is always good to take the time to remember the simplicities of youth.

I still feel like I am visiting San Francisco, and I am on an extended vacation to the West Coast. (A vacation filled with lots of work all week long). Home is really all about being with the people you love, and has less to do with the physical location of your whereabouts.

I sometimes miss Atlanta, reminisce about my long runs there, training for a marathon, running through Lenox Park down Druid Hills Road. The running then was really all about running away from the loneliness, dealing with the pain of separation, and becoming a stronger better person throughout the process. The finish line is only icing on the cake.

Atlanta was home to me until Kent came along, and it wasn't home anymore after he left. I guess home really is where the heart is. Now my heart is here, and one day I will reminisce about our days here. I just keep reminding myself to make the most of every single moment and soak in all of the wonderful things life has to offer!

Workout Updates

I apologize to the few of you who might actually look for updates on this blog. I have not been very diligent with my blogging lately as it has been hard to find the time. Like anything, it just needs to become a priority.

Today, I am going to post my goal workouts for the week, so I can keep my self on track, and hold myself accountable. Will keep the blog updated througout the week, so you can know if I succeeded or failed.

Monday- Run 45 minutes down the Embarcadero and back- total of 1 1/2 hours
Tuesday- Cross Fit
Wed- Run to Coit Tower and back
Thur- Bike 30 minutes and then upper body weights
Friday- Stair master 30 minutes and then lower body weights
Sat- Kayaking in Monterrey
Sun- Hiking in Angel Island

Thursday, August 6, 2009

From Muir Woods to Stinson Beach

Hi everyone! I know that I have not been great about updating my blog in the past week or so, and I promise to get better!

Everything is moving along quite nicely out here in California. (I wonder if I will always use "out here" as a way of describing where I live).

Last weekend, Kent and I decided to organize a big hike. Jud and Ali drove down together from Palo Alto area early on Sunday morning to meet us in the city to begin our big adventure. We also had a surprise guest- Masha- a friend of Albert's that wanted to take the opportunity to get out of the city. Albert wasn't able to join, but he sent Masha in his place. She was wonderful to hike with, and I hope she can go on many more with us. I love being able to meet new and interesting people in a variety of different ways.

Kent and I went to Safeway early Sunday morning to prepare for a picnic at Stinson Beach... our named place of destination. On a sidenote, I love the Safeway grocery store. I truly enjoy shopping there. I do miss Publix from time to time, "where shopping is a pleasure," but Safeway gives you the "ingredients for life." We do have a variety of people that "hang out" in the store and roam the isles just staring at things. You can tell that they need help and that they probobly don't even know where they are. The homeless situation in San Francisco is really terrible, and I am continually amazed at how many there are in this city. I just wonder what is being done at a local level to help? Maybe this is something that I should get involved in. I guess that is a blog for another time.

Back to hiking... We departed with backpacks filled with food, water, blankets, etc. We started off at Muir Woods National Monument and hiked through the Mount Tamalpais State Park.

Our goal was to reach Stinson Beach (about 6miles one way), picnic there, and then head back. We met our goal, and we had a great time. Alot of the hike was uphill. On the way back from Stinson after eating a good solid lunch, the hills were harder. In order to help us lose focus on our pain, we played a word game called Contact. We had played once before in Tahoe over spring break, and we found out that Masha, our new friend, had brought the game to the US after leaving Russia.

The scenery was beautiful, and the company was great. More pics to come!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Honesty vs Tact

Do you think it is possible to be completely honest when writing- whether that be in a blog, in a letter, in an email? Where does tact kick in and honesty go out the window?

Do we present different parts of ourselves to different people in different situations? Is that okay, or is that being fake?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Carolina Babette- A new niece is born!

I am so excited to share this next blog. I have a new niece, Carolina Babette Sturdivant. My cousin Elizabeth gave birth to this gorgeous girl on July 23rd. I am so sad that I cannot see her as a new new born, but I am looking forward to always being a part of her life. The good news is that she and her family live in Panama City where most of my family lives, so I will get to see her every time I go home! I am so glad that she was warmly welcomed into the world by many family members close by!

I like to think that she was sort of named after me, but in reality her name was inspired by the designer Carolina Herrera. :)

How precious is this face? I am sure that she will only add to the amazing joy that her wonderful sister Isabella has brought to our family.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Going to the Next Height

Looking down a steep hill high in the air gets my mind every time. I never really get sick. I just freeze up, and my mind tells my muscles to tighten and slow down. I know that the only way to conquer your fears is to face them. Kent does a great job of helping me do this.

On Sunday, I was once again reminded of my fear and my need to overcome it. Kent and I decided to go for a long adventurous run to the Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks sits upon the highest hills in San Francisco, and you can see the entire city as if you were a bird flying overhead. It is still amazing to me that all of these giant hills exist in the middle of the city!

We started off running from my apartment in SOMA, about a 6 mile jaunt to the peak. Factoring in the elevation changes, it was what one might call a challenging run. It started off pretty level, but anyone who knows the city of San Frncisco knows that doesn't last long. This city is sure to help those gluteous maximus muscles. ;) As we passed the Castro neighborhood, the real hills began. It was just gorgeous that day, so I had barely noticed that we had been running for miles. I was just taking in the view and enjoying conversation with Kent. However, I started feeling pretty winded as we started climbing the last big hill ... that ran through a neighborhood just below the peaks. We climbed about 300 stairs up once there was no more road to run. I was exhausted by the time we reached the actual peak. My legs started shaking, and I was feeling weak, but I kept pushing forward. As we headed up the peak, fear triggered my brain to say, "Stop, you can't do this. You aren't on level ground." This brings up the question: Does fear trigger the brain, or does the brain trigger fear?" I guess it has to start in the brain, right?

Why are some people prone to fear certain things, and others are not? I guess the important thing is to keep facing fears to prove that we can overcome! We can do what we thought we were incapable of. It won't be easy, but that is what makes is rewarding!

I kept going up the first peak. The pictures will show my 'slight' hesitation. Kent held my hand on the way down to reassure me that he wouldn't let me fall. Thankfully, he is so patient and helps me when I hit a wall. I was shaky when we got back down to the bottom of the first peak, but he reminded me and I reminded myself that I had been 10 times higher in the air when we skied in Tahoe- 10,000 feet in the air! In order to prove to myself that I could do it, we went to the top of the 2nd peak. I didn't feel like staying long but enjoyed the view nonetheless!
It was a wonderful run with beautiful views, and I am so happy that I could share it with such a wonderful person.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Caroline Quote of the Day for 20 July, 2009

"The thing about hard workouts, is that sometimes they make you tired" Indeed.

Good food, Good company, Good times

Saturday, Kent and I were lucky enough to have dinner with his Aunt Kristen and Uncle Bill from Atlanta and cousin Sally who is taking a summer advanced learning course at UC-Santa Cruz. We met them near their hotel over near Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf. We had dinner at this amazing French-Vietnamese restaurant, Ava Mandara. We all ordered the halibut, and no one was disappointed. I tried once again to master my chop sticks, but it didn't quite work out. I ended up opting for the fork instead. Dinner was filled with good conversation and good laughs and amazing cuisine. It was a special treat to see some familiar faces from Georgia! After dinner, we headed over to the pier to look out over the San Francisco Bay. It was really warm during the day (75+), so I figured I didn't need a heavy jacket, but I was regretting it once the wind starting picking up over the water. Word to the wise: Always bring a jacket and scarf in SF!

We then headed back to the mainland for some classic Irish coffees. They quickly warmed us up.
We had a blast and look forward to their next visit!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday night at Ocean Beach

A note from Caroline:
Kent and I have decided to experiment with a little blog, and we hope you can share in some of our adventures.  I just recently moved to San Francisco over the 4th of July weekend to be closer to Kent, and I am so happy to finally be here.  I love Georgia and miss Atlanta, but I am so grateful to be here in California now.  This past weekend was absolutely wonderful, and I thought I'd share some of it as part of the first posting on our new blog!
On Friday night, we headed out to Ocean Beach with Jacqueline and Albert to have a little bond fire and roast some marshmallows.  Yes, it is California, and yes it is summertime, and yes, I am wearing snow gear on the beach!  It was so cold.  This San Francisco city weather is a far cry from the Atlanta heat in July.  Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  I never understood what he meant until now. :)  We made the long trek (a few miles) over to Ocean Beach so excited to start our fire, only to be stopped by the cops telling us that all of the legal fire pits were taken.  We made the best of it and had a great time anyway.  Some of you may know that I have always loved the beach at night!!  Here are a few pics from the evening.