Thursday, November 18, 2010

Forever autumn

These photos were taken yesterday afternoon, so we still have quite a bit of fall color in Charlotte as you can see. Fall was late getting here, but it seems to be sticking around longer than it does in some other places.

Reminds me of the song "Forever Autumn" by Justin Hayward (Moody Blues). I always liked that song regardless of the fact that it's so sad. I'll be sad when the fall color goes away!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall color

When I lived in Indiana, I got used to vibrant fall color which peaked in mid-October. So when mid-October came and went here, I was thinking: "Hmm. I guess the color is more muted here because there are more evergreen trees or whatever." (Twenty years away will make you forget these things.) All I had to do was wait 3 weeks. I took this photo today in Freedom Park. It was another gorgeous Carolina day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Come on, ride the train

This is the LYNX, Charlotte's light rail. Currently, there's only one line - the Blue line. It runs from Uptown Charlotte to Pineville and back, along South Boulevard. We live close to the Woodlawn station (but not close enough to walk to it, unfortunately).

There was a plan to expand this line out to UNCC and to build a couple of other lines. The Red line was going to go all the way up to the Mooresville area. The Silver line would have gone to Matthews, probably close enough to my office that I could have taken the train everyday.

But then the economy went nuts, and now people don't want their taxes raised. So the future of LYNX is uncertain. This is too bad, because the LYNX is awesome!

Where I'm supposed to be

A lot of people seemed to think I'd fallen on my head when I decided to move to the discount retail industry after working in Big Pharma for a decade. Even one of my cousins admitted: "When I heard you were working at [my new company], I thought: "Man! She's really gone downhill!" I'll admit, for the first few days as I acclimated to my new environment (tiny workstation, grey paint, industrial lighting, no coffee shop) there were a couple of times when I questioned my decision, too.

But something happened Monday morning that reinforced the feeling I've had all along about this job and company. This was the right move for me. I'm where I'm supposed to be.

It wasn't anything complicated or time consuming. The whole event lasted maybe 20 or 30 seconds. My Senior Vice President (who reports to our CEO) was walking past my desk on his way to somewhere else. When he passed my workstation, he stopped. "How are you?" he asked, and we exchanged the usual pleasantries. Then: "I'm hearing really good things about you. So glad you're here with us!" It was a simple but powerful interaction.

My Senior VP stopped by MY cube to talk to ME!!!

When I was with my previous company, I never saw my Senior VP. The VP underneath him was more visible, but I ever actually met the man. I mean, there were at least three people on the org chart between us, and there were several thousand people at my level. I was just krill in a very large ocean.

I've been with my new company for just shy of three months now, and while it's true that I miss some of the perks of my old job (such as the onsite coffee shops (with baristas!), cafeterias, credit union, health center, etc.) I can honestly say that the perks of my current job are vastly superior. The people are great. The work is challenging, but it's also fun. Most importantly, I feel appreciated.

I'm glad I made the switch.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My other life

We spent this past weekend on the family farm in southeastern North Carolina. This seems to be becoming the norm rather than the exception. At least two weekends a month, we pack up the dogs and head to the farm as soon as possible after I get off work on Fridays, and we don't come back until Sunday evening. It's not that we don't like the city or don't want to be here, because of course we do. It's just that going to the farm is sort of like going camping, but better. We get to hang out with my very cool parents. We get to feed the chickens and gather (and eat!) the fresh eggs. We get to be outdoors as much as we want, and watch the birds and the dogs and even the deer feeding on the edge of the woods. It's all very laid back.

When we're on the farm, we stay in The House With The Crooked Floor . . . and we're trying to fix it up, little by little. The floor may be crooked (several windows are crooked, too), but this is a special house. Built by my great-grandparents in approximately 1905 on land that's been on one side or another of the family since before the U.S. Civil War, this is special house on a special plot of land . . . to me.

I've mentioned previously that my Dad grew up in this house. I, too, lived here -- from the ages of 5 to 11. When I lived here, the front bedroom (my room) had orange shag carpet. Back in the 70s, baby, that orange shag carpet was the deal. :-) It's not there anymore, though.

Betcha wanna know how the house became crooked. Well, it didn't have anything to do with politics. Many years ago, my uncle (who lived in this house until he passed away a few years ago) wanted to move the house further back from the road. He hired a crew to move it, and they lifted it up from the foundation. Suddenly, the house began to crack, so they had to put it back down. And the legend was born.

Our favorite part of the house is the front porch. We love sitting in the front porch swing with our morning coffee. The porch is slightly hidden by Camelia and Azalea bushes. The Camelias are currently in bloom (Yes! In November!) There's a big oak tree in the front yard that's been here longer than anyone remembers.

When you're sitting on the porch, you can watch the traffic go by, or you can watch the horses on my cousin's farm across the road. Both of these activities can be quite entertaining. Believe me.

Anyway, that's the story behind the story of The House With The Crooked Floor. And now you know where many of our weekends are spent. This is my other life, and I love it! (S loves it, too!)