Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bleary Eyed

It's 2:15 am and I'm in a cab on the way to my office to collect my car and go home!  After a long week - I'm finally going home!  

I got all washers up and running today - passing and not passing - they were being finicky but we were guaranteed that my product was not going to be blamed.  Several of the tests had spots and I was grousing about it and trying to figure how to rerun and my rep was saying "oh my word, it looks fine just leave it alone!" To which my new BFF:) the dept director Cynthia replied "Alison is obviously a perfectionist - and there's nothing wrong with that because we appreciate her aim for perfection for us!"  Someone finally gets my thought process:). Thank you!

Got to the airport about 2 hours before my flight, enough time to stop and get a drink!  Then boarded the plane, backed out of the gate on time, fell asleep, awakened by the ding ding of the pilot coming on to say there's a broken seat we had to go back to the gate for them to fix.  We had sat on the runway for 45 minutes waiting for them to decide that and then we were back at the gate for another 20 while they fixed and filled out paperwork.  Ugh - finally took off.

And now I'm in a cab and we stopped once because he was dinking around and now we just got pulled over -- I didn't even notice he was going 97 in a 55 zone... And he just showed his insurance and its expired.  I'm exhausted - help I'm exhausted!  I'm ready to cry!:(. I just want to go home!

Hopefully sometime today?  What is today even!....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Up Hills And Down

Another useless day work wise.  Well - I got a lot of office work done and it was nice being in CA to do it, but not really necessary.  I didn't even get a chance to go into the account because they were still working on fixing problems that I had found.

So, I found a great cafe in San Jose Mission area and just sat on my laptop for quite a while.  

After I had had my laptop fill and had finished most everything that I needed to I decided I had a little time and I wanted to take a run so I found a trail area - actually titled "wilderness" area.  What started out as a run turned into more of an intense hike in running shoes as most of it was straight up.  My little legs kicked out as much run as they could but it was more my thighs and butt that decided the feet needed to slow it down.  Once I came to terms with the hike - it was amazing!  There was no one on the trail and I was out for about an hour and a half and I just prayed and contemplated things and felt so much peace by the time I got back to my car.  It was absolutely beautiful!

This was outside the coffee shop I was at.  I had to do a double take... For some reason, a lot of times when I go to sign my name on my iPhone, it changes Alison to Alsion so when I saw this - I think my brain transposed it to my name.  Just made me have a little laugh!

After my run in San Jose area, I headed back over to Tracy to stay with Willie and Lillie for the evening.  They do their food pantry prep on Wednesday night so I was excited just to see how things ran and to help out. 
They pick up food from a food bank on Wednesday afternoon.  That means boxes and cans and meat and frozen goods.  Then they do this assembly line and have a shopping list of everything that goes in a bag.  

Finished bags.  We did 75 of them last night.

And then we closed off with prayer for all the families that were going to come on Thursday.

Then Lillie and I headed back to the parsonage because Willie had made dinner for us.  We ate and sat around and talked for a long time and then Willie went to bed and Lillie and I stayed up and talked even longer.  She even had bought a tostones maker for me!  Those amazing fried plantain things - I can't wait to try and make them!

 When I went to bed last night I just had to thank God for new friends and for the crazy ways and places he has me meet them!  Willie and Lillie have been such a blessing and encouragement to me in the short time I've known them and they definitely have helped me up a few hills that I've had lately - and it's a reminder to me that God provides what I need, when we need it, sometimes even before I know I need it!  There are always hills, but He's faithful to get me up and over those hills every time!

I have to insert one more thought from a devotional reading I did tonight.  I'm reading Morning And Evening by Spurgeon.  The reading for the evening starts "memory is frequently the bondslave of despondency.  Despairing minds call to remembrance every dark foreboding in the past, and dilate upon every gloomy feature in the present; thus memory, clothes in sackcloth, presents to the mind a cup of mingled gall and wormwood."  I loved that thought of how we can take a memory and let it debilate us and control us into depression.  The solution is from Lamentations 3:21-23 "remember my afflictions and my wanderings... My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.  But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.  The steadfast love of The Lord never ceases; his mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness".  To allow God to control my memories and use them rather than allowing my memories to control me and use me.  It's a freeing thought.
Ponderings concluded....:)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Eating Chick-fil-a And Humble Pie

I was trying to live by this sign today!:). It was an absolutely hideous day for the most part as I was in my account at 6:30 a.m and left at 4 and accomplished nothing except to obtain continuous verbal acknowledgement that I was very smart and much appreciated - which may seem like a good days work... But not when that's exactly all that was done.

I had learned from previous mistakes and so I had them run a test that needed to be run before I came in to switch to my product.  I have now learned I made another mistake and didnt ask them to save the test.  So when I got in today I asked them to rerun it as they just marked it as passed and threw the actual test.  When the manager got in she started questioning me about rerunning the test when they already knew it passed.  I basically said that I had just learned from experience that I wanted a base line test to compare things to when I run mine.  The tests all ended coming up as fails.  I was so happy I had stuck to my proverbial guns.  And then we spent all day tweaking and rerunning and calling people and never getting my product in today.  So that was bad, but literally all day the manager was saying how I was so smart to ask for the tests to me rerun and when she was giving me a hard time before she was "just testing" me.  I'm not sure what the test was, but apparently I passed!  Anyways - I was so frustrated all day and I was trying to just figure out how to stay calm and not feel like I had wasted a day.  Hopefully tomorrow Ill get things hooked up to the washers!

And I got to take BIKRAM again today!!!! YAY!  There was a studio about 5 minutes from the hospital I was working at and so I got done just in time to go over and take a class.  YAY YAY!  It was a pretty good studio and the instructor was good, except very hard to understand as her accent was so strong - I think she was like Columbian or something.   And then, after my 90 minute class, I don't know if I nullified all the work I did, but there was a delicious Chick-Fil-A right by my hotel and so I decided to swing on in and pick up dinner.  Does that mean that all the work I did is now undone?  I'm choosing to believe NO! :)

Anyways - they had this sign up in the locker room at the Bikram studio and it just made me smile because I've been working on some stuff lately.  Correction - GOD has been working on some stuff on me.  Theres a song that I've been listening to called "Its Your Revolution" where he says "Open up our eyes, make what we have inside more than just believing, more than words we say..."  I'm working on my outer self and what comes out even when my inner self feels sucky because I know my inner self is so unpredicatable and moody, but my heart is God's and that should be joy and that should be affecting my inner and my outer way more than I'm letting it because I'm letting the outside control me from the inside.  Its something that I'm giving to God and slowly working through and trying to own up to things where I need to.  I believe the more you leave stuff just sitting the more it affects how you act so.... 

I had some humble pie to eat tonight... 
The one thing about being on the road is that when you're finally home the last thing you want to do is run stupid errands for things like make up remover and vitamins.  So since there was a CVS and I needed some things, I just stopped in and bought necessities and then a gift for my friends who I plan to stay with tomorrow night.  I got up to the counter and she rang everything up (including the bag which you have to pay $.10 for in CA now... thank you) and I swiped my wonderful Chase credit card which I know 100% should very much work.  "Use another form of payment" popped up.  I swiped again ... and again ... and again.... same response every time.  The little Asian lady with the broken accent said "you use 'nother card?" and I started getting a little sucky with her because I was quite convinced it was their register.  We stand there rerunning and me being nasty and then she says "there cash machine there" and I go over to use it.... And basically the same message comes up.
I asked her to save the bag and I went out to call Chase... which was an exceptionally frustrating situation as I went through the whole message thing and then got put on hold and then about 5 minutes later, got hung up on.  And then I call again and the same thing happened.  I finally called the international line and they end up connecting me with the fraud dept -- who we have to go through a ton of stuff and then they finally tell me that yes they had put a hold on my card.  WHA?  I was pretty upset as they usually send a text message and then I have to reply to it and it keeps my card up - he tells me "oh, we were just getting ready to send you a message".  AUGH!

So, the humble pie came when I went back in to CVS to claim my bag and I just felt so bad that I had gotten all snarky on the nice little Asian lady so I spent like 10 minutes apologizing profusely and telling her how horrible I had been to her and asking her to forgive me.  Positive point is - I think I made a new friend AND I now feel happy because I feel like I made something right that I needed to make right.  

Its baby stepping because I know there are probably a ton of things that I need to be working on and apologizing for, but - baby stepping because you can only eat so much humble pie.  Once its all said and done, though - its quite satisfying! :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

A God Blessing Day!

I love the way God hooks me up with new friends and how He uses us in each others lives!  

Remember Willie and Lillie, the couple from our cruise earlier this year?  I got to spend the day with them today and what an amazing blessing they were to me!  I'm in San Francisco and I had, rather stupidly, booked myself to work today - only to have it brought to my attention after I booked my flight that it was indeed a holiday.  So, with it being way too expensive to change my flight, I figured I'd see if I could spend the day with Lillie and Willie at their home in Tracy (about an hour from San Fran).  So - as soon as my flight landed this morning I hopped in a rental and got to them by about 11:30.  

We ate lunch and then Lillie and I sat and talked forever, and then she took me across the parking lot to tour their church.  Willie is the senior pr at Valley Community Church.  She showed me the food pantry (which I've been planning on helping them with on weds night -excited!:) and the whole church.  She brought me into Willies office and, he had this picture on his desk - I just fell in love with it!  It's the most adorable photo!

After the tour, Lillie brought me back and they had made Puerto Rican food for me.  Yellow rice and beans, steak and onions and the most amazing fried plantains ever.  It was so amazing!  I couldn't stop eating the plantains!

Tomorrow I'm working in Mountain View - I'm praying all goes well as I need a good trial with this rep as they always seem to end up badly.  Were starting at like 6:30 so I'm hoping to be done in time to catch a Bikram class at a local studio. That will make 2 times in a one week period for Bikram.  I don't even know how to control my excitement!:)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Grand Total

I just got home this afternoon from my week on the road.  My grand total in driving this week was 1908 miles!  That just makes me tired....:). But work and friend-wise, it was a great week.

The highlight of my week, besides Melissa...
I got to do a Bikram class!  I was in 7th heaven and on top of that, Mel even joined me and got through the class with flying colors.  It was fun to share my love with yet another friend!

And Friday I came straight from THE Cities to THE city:). It was high time to hang out with my bestie, Kim!  It had been since before Easter that I saw her.  We went out to a great Italian place in Andersenville and the headed back to her place where I made up my makeshift bed on her hardwood floor - two yoga mats, 2 yoga towels, 4 beach towels and a Cubs blanket later and I actually slept quite well!

And then Saturday morning, Ioana took the train over to Edgewater where we were and we all got to eat breakfast together.  It was my last time to see Ioana before she heads back to Bucharest.  I had talked about going to we her in October after Hungary... Looks like I have to now as she's leaving stuff behind for me to bring with me to Romania.  Alison is everyone's pack mule  when it comes to overseas - and I love it!:)

And the my trip home got me there in time for the dog park and then - 100 cupcakes more for the wedding next weekend.  They're all tucked safely away in various freezers throughout Lake County.  I'm so glad I'm done!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

So Beautiful!

You probably don't even know what you're looking at - but trust me - its a thing of beauty!!!!!

I'm back in Springfield at the new addition to the hospital here and their new department that were working in hasnt even opened yet.  It's brand new everything and its absolutely wonderful! 

Most facilities are working with washers that are older than proverbial dirt (btw, those are brand new instrument washers in the pict).  And on too of that, tend to have this brand of washer that is horrible to work with.  You know when there is one company that started a trend and everyone uses it and then other companies come out with similar products but everyone keeps on using the first company because - well, when you need a Kleenex you use Kleenex, right... Guess what, there's Puffs, there's Scott, there's even Target brand.... But everyone is stuck on Kleenex!  Ah!  Anyways, this "Kleenex" brand washer company is horrible horrible to work with and is most if the cause for any part of me hating my job.  

So - these washers that were just installed were the "Puffs" brand of Kleenex and I love working with them!  All their service techs are just the nicest guys and they're decent human beings!  And, to boot - their washers work really really well!;)

So that's that -
And now on to Eau Claire, WI!  

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Ah beautiful sun!!!!!! It's another weekend that God opened up the sky with a wonderful ball of bright sun!  Today, I had my friend Ioana with me (came on Friday) to spend the weekend.  She works with a Christian organization in Bucharest and is here for a few weeks doing support raising.  She came out to see me and just to take a few days of r and r so I made sure we had a completely relaxing weekend as I pretty much needed out too!  We went to my Bible study on Friday night and Saturday we slept in and hung out and she helped me bake cupcakes and then we went out to eat and ended the evening with a movie that made our brains actually have to kick into gear (Inception).

Today we did Sunday school and church and then ate at yummy Walker Bros (sun roof open the whole time we were in the car!) and then we enjoyed a nice few go arounds at the dog park (home of said Calvin friend, Mr Tick).

I'm trying to figure how to budget my time and get her back to the city tomorrow as well as getting my week in gear!...

Crazy week upcoming - but I'm actually excited about it because I absolutely love every account I'm working with (well, except one mean customer - just is not a nice person to begin with, but I can handle it...:).  And on top of awesome customers I get to stay with my awesome friend, Melissa and that just makes me super happy!  I need some good Mel time... 

So here's how crazy things are for this week.  My account in Springfield was missing some product from their order and so we need to start this new facility up.  SO - Friday, I had to go to our warehouse and pick up a ... Ready ... 30 gallon drum of detergent - that's 290 lbs of soap rolling around in the back of my car.  They had to bring it out to my car on a forklift and three guys had to get it in.  I have NO clue how they're getting it out -- but now I have to drive my car for the week so Ill be putting a billion (slight exaggeration) miles on my new car already!

So my planned itinerary goes
Monday - Springfield, Il
Tuesday - Eau Claire, WI (7 hours from Springfield to Eau Claire!  Eek!)
                 St Louis Park, MN
Then staying in Rochester 
Wednesday - Chippewa Falls, WI
Thursday - Wyoming, MN
And then yay - I think I've got some time to go take a Bikram class in the cities!  So needing it!
Friday - Minneapolis for two appts and then HOME!

I'm seriously wondering how many miles I'm going to put on but thank goodness for podcasts and a bunch of apps that I have with sermons and lectures and stuff and my bible app -- keeps me entertained for hours and I feel like someone is riding with me:)

But for today - I'm still on the back porch (listening to the Lakes high school graduation from the football field behind us) soaking up sun!!!! I love you sun!!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Back To Cupcakes

This is what I did with my Thursday evening back home....

I have a wedding in 2 weeks that I have to make 200 (actually a little more than that) cupcakes for.  Half red velvet (which is a particularly finicky recipe to do with cupcakes) and the other half chocolate.  Since I'm gone all next week and the next, I'm starting on them now and freezing them which, believe it or not, make for an even more delicious and easy to handle cupcake.  

Ill tackle a few more dozen this weekend but I have about 50 done already - yay!

Tomorrow I pick up my friend Ioana (she's from Romania - works with a human trafficking rescue mission there - LOVE her!  She's such a good and godly heart and such a blessing to be around). She's spending the weekend and possibly a little longer.  It will be great to spend time with her and catch up.  The last time I saw her was the fall in Greece as she was training at a human traffick rescue mission there.

And next week I get to stay with Melissa in MN - yay!  I love that I love my friends so much - and even more that God gives me all these opportunities to see them!:)

Oh - I forgot to mention - I actually got a job offer today:). It was actually tongue in cheek but I know she was serious.  It was one if my customers in MN and I've just helped them a lot with their dept and I know she really likes me and trusts me and tends to call me a lot for dept advice.  They're looking for a new dept supervisor/director and she said "hey - would you consider it?"  And it made me smile to have the offer and I even did say "sometimes I think it would be nice to have roots and not travel so much" - but at the end of the day, just not sure I'm willing to move to Minne-snow-da...  I'm holding out for an offer from my customer at Stanford in CA!  I know Ill be waiting a while, but.... I can be patient!:)

Back Home

I met up for dinner with Cathy in St Louis... SO awesome to see her!  She's just such a great person and has come through so much and is in such a healthy place that its just an encouragement and an amazingly fun time being with her!  And then to be able to celebrate her finishing her degree - even more awesome!  And how can you not like someone who says that she would love to go on a date to the Cheescake Factory and order a side salad, a bowl of extra croutons and a plate of mini corn dogs - and a water.  I'd take her out just to see that!

And then as I left St Louis on 65 - I look to my left and immediately drool starts to form at the sides of my mouth....  There sits the mother of all hospitals that I've been trying to get business from for the past 12 years!  SOB!  BJC - Barnes Jewish Hospital!  I couldn't find a picture on line but you'll just have to trust me that the main site is MAMMOTH!  And then there are like 7 outlying hospitals as well.  WHY won't they love me?!:). Maybe some day -gives me something to keep aiming for.

Finished up some additional business on Wednesday, but thanks to our distributors bad job at communication about not delivering product, sigh, Ill need to go back to Springfield -possible next week which means it will be a hellish week as I have to be in MN as well.  

Where can I order another Alison?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Start Your Day The Margarita Way!

You've got to love an SPD manager that has a margarita tape dispenser!  What an awesome way to start an early morning conversion/in-service!  Truly, I love working with this SPD because they're so laid back and easy going.  They ask great questions and really want to do things right. And they obviously like a good margarita!:). So cool for Belleville, IL.  Whats even better, when I mentioned how I loved the tape dispenser, the comment was "thats all theyll let me have, for some reason they dont think a wet bar is a good idea..." :). Sometimes these smaller hospitals can be a pain in my rear and sometimes they're pure pleasure!  Today - my Tuesday is pure pleasure!

And to boot - I get to take a quick jaunt over to St Louis tonight to meet up with my hysterically fun and wonderfully - wonderful friend Cathy!  Yay!  Celebration as she just finished her bachelors degree!  It was a long road- but she got to the end!  Excited to see her!

Monday, May 12, 2014

It's Just Another Monday

Rental car, 5 hour drive, traffic.... It's just such a typical Monday as of late.  Whether its 5 hours in a car or on a plane, I've been away from home nonstop lately.  Ack... That's my thought on that:)

This week at least it's just southern IL so it makes it that much easier to get home - if it weren't for the construction and traffic.  The good thing about all this travel is - its definitely getting me some business.  That makes it a little worth it!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Been And Gone

Time goes by quickly - without my update...

The other day - I can't even recall which day as they all run together - I went from Tamps back to Amarillo, TX (through Houston- ah!) and I've been here for 2 nights - dont even know how many days.  So tired - long days.  But wrapped things up this morning with a meeting that they gave us their business.

I'm now on the plane back to Houston and then onto Columbus, OH for a medical convention (education - no vendor booths!)