Monday, April 26, 2010

In Less than Two Weeks...

"If pleasures are greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of troubles." - Elbert Hubbard

I can't wait for my facebook status to be "Je suis a Paris!" Less than two weeks for me to be in the City of Light... walking the streets that inspired the lives of Hemingway, Picasso, Child, Dali, Stavinsky, and so many more. I have lists of places to see and the planning is overwhelming... I have only SEVEN DAYS in a city with museums that can take months to see everything. It's a little much and I'm so concerned I'm not going to be able to see it all.

Reality Check: I will NOT be able to see it all. This I know for sure. So I've got to quit freaking out about what I'm going to miss and enjoy my time there. And while I don't plan to sleep, I also plan to return, to see it all again and experience Paris (with the rest of France) at a slower pace. So this trip will be about some of the must sees: Effiel Tower, Versailles, Mona Lisa, etc. And the food... Have I mentioned how excited I am to eat the food? I've gone on a Paris diet... not going out with friends to save money for eating in Paris... why should I eat a processed hamburger when I'll be able to eat Parisan cuisine!?!? And the wine? My taste buds start to do a happy dance in my mouth when I think about it. I have decided, if the opportunity presents itself, I will try escargot... It just seems appropriate, don't you think?

Following my desire to be more adventurous and experience more of life, trying this delicacy in a new country for the first time seems like a step in the right direction. So we'll see. It's not a goal but an opportunity. Haven't added it to the bucket list yet but am looking to include it on this trip.

Speaking of the List, what's there that I need to make sure I cover on this trip?

#29 Tour the Sewers

#70 Walk the Hall of Mirrors

and possibily...

#43 Cooking Classes in Paris

although, when I wrote that, I was thinking more along the lines of a 6 week intensive class, not an afternoon session but I won't turn my nose up at that either.

I've just finished "My Life in France" by Julia Child - she mentions attending afternoon lectures at Le Cordon Bleu open to the public for a small fee. I wonder if they are still a part of the school? If so, I'll definitely want to drop in... again, not good enough for a check on the list but still an experience not to be missed.

Ooh la la... Lookie here. (This is why I love the interwebs... an idea pops into my head and I can research it right away).

Culinary Demonstrations DAILY in Paris. With TASTINGS. I am in heaven. Also, options to tour the Parisian markets (something Julia did often in her training) to see how to properly pick produce, then followed by a cooking demonstration. Or a food & wine course, how to pair with foods, tastings included. I may stay at Le Cordon Bleu the whole time. Oh dear, Jennie may hate me by the end of the trip because of my obsession with Julia and cooking and Paris and food but I'm about to pop with excitement! ("French people eat French food every day!" - Julia Child).

And so I dream, 11 days to go...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catching Up

"Enthusiasm is excitemen with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity" - Bo Bennett

I've been a little overwhelmed lately and when I got my new computer, I didn't immediately transfer my favorite sites so I've been a little behind on my reading. But here who is keeping me entertained and inspired these days. It's where I go when I need to feel less alone, rejuvenated, and renewed with enthusiasm for a different life.

Some are new, focused on travel or photography, and some are old favorites. Check them out, enjoy and be inspired.

Jennsylvania - ya'll know I love this lady and her crazy antics. Her stories are right up my alley - I can't read her at work because she makes me laugh out loud. And I will be attending her book signing in Atlanta this May after I missed it the last time. A mistake not to be made again. I might even bring her cupcakes.

Chookooloonks - my peaceful site... her pictures are beautiful, her words are thoughtful, and she gives me warm fuzzies. And inspires me to evolve and flow as life continues to come at me. I found her through the beloved Shutter Sisters, all of whom make me feel less alone.

betweenbird - one of my long time friends, a photographer with a great eye. Love her in person, love her work, and love her longtime. Enjoy her work.

Camels & Chocolate - Always on the move, this girl travels the world with style and looks like so much fun! I lost a good work day to her site, completely enthralled with her adventures and enthusiasm for life. I follow her on twitter and invited her to hang out anytime she's around my neck of the woods. If you've got the travel bug, she'll give you itchy feet with one post.

Nomadic Matt - the lone male in the group, this MBA has figured out how to work on the road. He'a making it work, has great advice and introduced me to the idea of seeing the sewers of Paris (which I am soooo excited about). Really thinking about how to make his lifestyle work for me.

Dooce - the queen of all bloggers, she's always on the list... especially when she's writes great posts about The First Lady, I'll forget to visit and then I'm drawn back in for all of her crazy antics.

More is Better - always leaving me in stitches, this one is always (and I mean always) up to something. Most recent posts: fire dancing, sex dolls, and yelling at school children.... I wish I was 8 years younger and living in San Francisco. I'd so want to be her friend just so I'd laugh each day.

Nomadic Chick - she shares my dream of a RTW trip, only her's has been made possible by a layoff in her corporate world. Very excited for her and can't wait to see what happens along the way, motivating me to make it happen for myself.

There you are, 8 of my favorite sites. They make me laugh (and cry), inspire me, encourage me, and make me feel less alone in this crazy world. When I can't sleep, it's reassuring to know they are there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A New Window

"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brillantly disguised as impossible situations." - Charles R. Swindoll

My life took a crazy turn last week... And I still haven't reacted... I'm frozen like a deer in headlights, suprised by the unexpected.

Last December, a job posting on a website I visit regularly caught my attention and I applied for a position. As my frequent readers know, I wrestle with my current job and wonder if I'm choosing the "right" path or just the "easiest" path. I look for less physical containment and constant obligation than my family's business requires and I don't enjoy the management of people and their daily drama to consider (and yes, it's always daily when you have as large of a staff as we do - it's more than daily, it's more like hourly). So, anyways, this job posting caught my eye. I applied. I received a questionaire. I complete it and emailed back. I never heard another word.

Until last Wednesday. Almost six months later. To schedule a phone interview. For Friday. So I thought, why not, I should always explore opportunities and keep my options open. Two and half hours later on the phone, I had a verbal job offer. Yesterday I received the formal offer by email. And now, I'm not certain what to do...

The job is
  • A different industry and I would definitely entertain a change
  • "Virtual" meaning I could do my job anywhere, anytime, anyway equaling a newfound freedom for me
  • Commission based meaning hard work is rewarded (and rewarded well)
  • Established & Defined - someone else is making the decisions and I just have to do my job
  • Reputable - a young company on it's way up with tons of growth ahead and mass appeal

I'm purposely being vague and I apologize for the lack of detail but I'm uncertain of any policies and I would hate to get in trouble before I even accept the job.

And, as before, leaving my family business is hard. It would be even harder to do so without a physical move which I'm not looking to do at this time. Taking this job would allow me that option since I know I'd like to live other places at some point in the future. What's frustrating is when I applied for this job, I was in a completely different place concerning my life, my job, and my desire level to stay with my status quo. Now, things have changed and evolved, wheels are in motion and I can see progress.

It's a "have my cake and eat it too" moment because I want to try this new option and keep my finger in the pie of my current job. Sometimes, life is just ridiculously complicated. Or in this case, a seemingly impossible situation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Selfish Plea to the Universe

"There's no disaster that can't become a blessing, and no blessing that can't become a disaster." - Richard Bach

Dear Universe,

I'm a logical person and a practical person... I deal with life and death every day in my profession so I try to keep my personal drama in perspective. I try not to get too worked up over the little things and take joy in the calamities (!what a great word!) of life, laughing it off and retelling my misfortunes for the pleasure of others.

However, if my FIRST EVER TRIP TO PARIS! is disruppted by the volcano in Iceland I might cry. For seven days and seven nights. Cry until my tear ducts dry up and I can't cry any more. This would be a travesty in it's own right since I am a champion crier... who cries at all and anything... those GE mom commercials during the Olympics? I cried. Running over an already dead squirrel Sunday morning, I cried. When I'm laughing, I usually laugh until I cry. The world needs my tears... I make it ok for others to cry so the ash from the volcano MUST NOT interfer with my first ever trip to PARIS!

I have waited 31 looooooooooooooooong years for this trip (alright, maybe more like 25 years) and a natural disaster is not going to interfer with my plans. I will not allow it. So let's see what we can do about cleaning up the air so my flight to CDG has no problems. Now, once I'm there... all bets are off... strand me in Europe with no flight home for as long as necessary... you won't hear a peep from me.

But let me get there first, okay? Okay. Glad we got that sorted out...

Your Loving Citizen Lindsey

aka IfNothingElse

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Thing...

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one" - Oscar Wilde

Ole Oscar and my boss (aka my father) have a similar approach to job/life/work balance. Without a job and work, there is no balance and everything else I have going on in my life is extra. Which it often has to be since I rarely have time for anything else. Sometimes it's irritating and sometimes I find it to be a great excuse (ahem, such as when I think I need to go to the gym...)!

I've always admired my parents for their work hard, play harder, get up and do it all again mentality. They do more than anyone else I know and they don't stop. I wear out way before they do and I'm embarrassed to admit I can't accomplish the same amount my 30 years my senior parents are able to do without blinking. I remembering detailing our schedules to someone about a year ago and her question of "do your parents every stop?" making me pause to chuckle...

Recently, we've had some changes in the business and we're adapting, growing, plotting and planning as we best know how and it seems to be working. It has put me and my father working literally side by side for a majority of the time. Which he and I love because we don't have to complete sentences sometimes when talking to each other, we think so much alike but I'm sure for some of our employees, there's a little too much "Hickman" going on in that area. But I'm really enjoying it and the other night at dinner, he said he was too. And with the change of our structure, I have a much more tangible job with a clearer set of goals. One that's inspiring me to get up for work each day and pushing me to stay later (even later than before) to make sure the job is done. All of these are good things.

And yet, I'm still looking for "My Thang" - Something to motivate and inspire me. Something bringing out the best of my talents and passions for me to accomplish something. Something which makes work feel easier and less stressful for me.

A friend runs her own business - it's just her and she's making it happen for herself and while she's growing/expanding/generally kicking ass, she's not wanting to grow it beyond a certain point. Not wanting employees and payrolls and managment skills. Oh, how I wish for her choices.

For if I stay my current course and follow the path before me, I will have all of those headaches and more... And while my experience and my personality actually lend to being somewhat good at some of those functions, there's quite a few where I am limited. And I find it so hard to know what to do, how to choose, what to emphasize and how to rejuvenate myself when I do have "me" time.*

And while a part of me questions, observes and wants for something more meaningful - another part of me keeps trucking along to ensure I reach the current pot at the end of the rainbow. If nothing else, I've figured out the only way for me to be happy is to learn every day, find challenge in my work, and constantly strive for improvement in service or quality of production. Stagnant or repetitive production is not for me. I also know that part of life will always be questioning where I am, where I want to be, how I can get there, and then what will be the next step. Obviously, it's what I'm pondering now.

*Other than the obvious choice of a large glass of wine while taking a bubble bath, of course.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

PARIS! photo blog

Look at what I just found...

What to See...

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

So I've got my Lonely Planet guidebook, emails with recommendations, movies to watch, books to read and blogs with tips. All for my trip to PARIS! (that's how I refer to it in my head & I actually get to visualize my excitement on here, so bare with me). I've printed the map of the metro, figured out what I want to see in the Louvre, and planned a day trip to Versailles. I'm so ready to go.

What's so funny is everyone whom I've told I'm going to Paris says the people are horribly rude. Which is the standard stereotype for French people. Especially to Americans. Interested to see if it's true - haven't read of that but been told it. I've traveled before and was attacked by a drunk Englishman in a vineyard in New Zealand about our former president. So hopefully I'll be able to hold my own. Especially in a country with a foreign language. At least if they're insulting me, I won't be able to understand them - I guess that's a positive thing. Althought I actually would love to learn French (just have this tiny problem with hearing sounds, it doesn't happen for me).

So I've got restaurants to try, especially the crepe stand across from Notre Dame (if it's still there and as good as it was in 2003), which I hope can find. And I've been told the view from the Effiel Tower is not to be missed - great - I have a thing about heights. I can deal if I have to but I'd rather not. But I've got a feeling this is one I can't miss out on so I'll be dealing with my racing pulse while I force myself to focus on the beauty of the view instead of how much the fall would hurt.

But I digress.

So 27 days until I go to PARIS!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Adventure Begins...

"America is my country and Paris is my hometown." - Gertrude Stein

I am going to Paris... In exactly 35 days, I will be flying from NYC to PARIS. For seven days, my childhood bestie and I will walk around, see the sights, visit museums, drink French wine and eat French food! And I'm so excited I can't think about anything else! I heard on the news that the Euro was down today and all I could think was that hopefully it will stay that way for the next month.

While it's outside of my desire to do a RTW trip and will definitely set back my savings for that trip as I completely depleted my travel account to pay for the trip, I'm rationalizing my choice with the money is being used for travel and I can't keep waiting for "some day". So, a week in Paris as my first European adventure will have to do. No compliants here.

While I've never been anywhere in Europe and I want to see it all, biting off Paris is an ambitious endeavor for someone who only speaks English and sometimes I don't do that well. Jennie, my traveling buddy, knows "some" French but I'll admit, after reading everything is in French, I'm a little intimidated. But at the same time, people are rude to me here so they can be rude there and I'll still BE IN PARIS!!!

After reading NomadicMatt's post about the Sewers of Paris, I've always thought that would be a very cool adventure. So I'm requesting that be on the itinerary. As well as the Catacombs. Plus the Louvre, Effiel Tower, Notre Dame, Monmarte, Jardin de Luxemburg, Moulin Rouge...

I could go on forever.

Now comes the fun part, reading Paris books and watching French movies and planning for French fun!

I'm just so excited. I can't stand it. Now to figure out how much spending money I'll need.