I woke up at 4:15 this morning to catch a 6am flight to Atlanta. I knew it was too early when the little food stands were still not open when I got past security and to my gate. When I arrived at 8:30am, I felt exhausted and like I hadn’t even slept the night. I was lucky to get early check in at my hotel and napped for half an hour before getting back to work before my meetings began in the afternoon.

I can feel myself getting older. I don’t always feel it or think I look it, but when I wake up at 4am these past two Mondays to get on a work flight, I feel miserable afterwards. Even now as I type this, I feel worn. My colleagues and I had an early dinner and got back to our hotel at 8pm, and I went straight back to my computer to get all these things done that I had no time to get done during the day. And two more packed and full days await me. I want to take one long nap.

Wedding flower aftermath

Weddings are wasteful parties. That sounds like a really negative thing for a bride-to-be to say, but it’s really true. When you think of all the paper that is printed for things like ceremony programs, menus, and reception cards; invitations, thank you cards, and random other informational and directional signs at the wedding, you also have to realize that the majority of your guests will never care enough to save any of these potentially expensive keepsakes (even more expensive if you choice pricey options like letterpress, foil print, or even hired a freaking calligrapher). That’s a lot of paper down the drain.

Then, there are things like flowers. We all love flowers, and when I say “we,” I mean most women. Yet all the hundreds of dollars you spent on wedding flowers will be tossed at the end of the wedding night. The arch that you chose to completely cover in flowers will be dismantled, and the flowers will be tossed into the garbage bin, if not the compost bin. The reception table centerpieces will be forgotten and also thrown away. The idea pained me, especially since no one coming to our wedding would be local, so I decided to donate all our wedding flowers to an assisted living facility. This way, many elderly people will be able to enjoy the flowers for at least the next four to five days, and the dollars we spent will not be for just a single night. Someone should be able to benefit from all these flowers for more than just a night, right, especially considering how much time it took for all these babies to blossom?

Random catch up

Last night, I dreamt that I ran into a former colleague who left my company last year. He was pretty frustrated with the technology situation and his role here, and so he decided to leave and join a very high profile up and coming startup. I really enjoyed talking with him when he was working here, so it was sad when he left.

In my dream, we caught up by beginning with small talk, and he confided in me that he was actually in the middle of a very intense and messy divorce. His wife, who he has twin sons with, apparently had been a not-so-perfect stay-at-home mom by having some mutual friend over… in their bed while he was at work in Manhattan during the weekdays, and he had caught her in bed with the guy on a day he came home early from work. It was a crazy conversation, especially since I hadn’t seen him in so long.

This dream just goes to show what a chaotic and senseless week I had. This made no sense at all.

Yearbook picture

I woke up this morning to a Facebook message from a cousin who usually makes zero effort to keep in touch with me. He simply said that he saw a photo on his Facebook Newfeed and linked it to me. I clicked it, and it’s a San Francisco George Washington High School yearbook staff photo from 1996-1997. I caught my breath when I read the text before looking at the photo and immediately realized that was Ed’s last year of high school and also the year that he was on the yearbook staff. He joined the staff to participate in some extracurricular activity and also in hopes that he might make a friend or two. Unfortunately, he didn’t, and he didn’t enjoy his time on the staff at all. In the group staff photo, it’s exactly as I would have imagined it: it’s a large group of students, smiling and looking at the camera, and on the left side of the photo is my brother, slightly off to the side and away from the others, looking seriously at the camera. All the names of everyone pictured is also noted in the photo description.

You think it might make me happy to see an unexpected photo of my brother, but the truth is that in this context, it does not. If anything, it made me want to cry when I saw it because it just made me remember how much he hated high school, school in general, and how alienated and alone he always felt. He always felt ignored or misunderstood or unimportant. I was too young then to realize that my brother felt that way in school, and I had no concept of loneliness or depression at that time. I only learned about it shortly after he graduated when he started revealing to me how he felt. I always look back and wish I could have understood more and helped him, but I suppose that at age 11, most things of that complexity should be out of my reach.

I missed him all day today, and not just because I saw this photo of him and was reminded of the deepness of his pain and suffering and sadness. It’s also because overall, this has been a really grueling, frustrating, and tiring week, and I just want to be done with everything and everyone from this week.

Train travel

I dreaded taking this train, and now that I have taken it, it absolutely was not fun at all. It’s a spoiled point of view, but after having taken amazing trains in Japan, Switzerland, and Germany, it’s really hard to take an Amtrak train and think, “wow, this is an awesome experience!” The wi-fi kept coming in and out, the ride was really bumpy, and the seats were sub par. Granted, it only took one hour and 20 minutes to get back to Penn Station, but I could feel myself getting nauseated while trying to get some work done. I just want to get home. I just want to get home. I kept thinking this in my mind.

I talked to my dad about the whole experience, and he said to me that at least I got to stay at a nice hotel in downtown and expense some decent meals. The truth is that while work travel may seem glamorous to those who don’t do it often or at all, at the end of the day, sometimes it’s really nice and comforting just to eat a meal in your own home, made by yourself or a family member, and just sit and relax and not be in some foreign transient environment. It can be a really lonely and alienating experience, especially after you got stranded in an airport due to wind storms and everyone around you is an upset or angry stranger.

Unexpectedly in Philadelphia

On my return home from Tampa today, I had a connecting flight through Philadelphia. I knew the winds and rain were a bit crazy since I felt a lot of turbulence on the flight to Philly, but I didn’t realize that it would cause several delays and ultimately a flight cancellation for my return to New York. I waited for hours and hours for an update, and of course all the airline agents were agitated and didn’t know what to tell us. The airport was packed with thousands of passengers who had been displaced, so tension was thick in the air, and I heard a lot of yelling and swearing as I walked through the AA terminal.

I’m only two hours away from New York City, I thought as I charged my phone at an available outlet and tried to figure out my next steps. I could try a car service, maybe even Uber it, wait for a flight tomorrow… what’s it going to be? Oh, well, the car services were all unavailable until 2pm tomorrow, no flights were going to land at LaGuardia airport tonight, and all flights for tomorrow are booked up also until 2pm tomorrow (magic time it appears to be), Uber refused to let me input any address not in Pennsylvania, and when I tried calling the first three airport hotels, they had zero rooms available.

I ended up finally booking a hotel in downtown Philadelphia and booked a seat on Amtrak to get back to the city by midday tomorrow. I never thought I wouldn’t be returning back to New York on this trip via plane and that I’d have to take a disgusting Keystone train back to the city. This trip has become the most exhausting trip ever, and it was all for work. All I want to do is go home, and I can’t do that. My level of frustration is at an all-time high.

Always on

During my work trips to see clients, I always take them out for a team dinner or bonding event, and the events seem to have gotten bigger and bigger every subsequent time I have come down. The events are rarely fewer than 12 people, and with the usual long tables that American restaurants love, it’s hard to interact with everyone. I try to get my internal team to spread out, stop talking to each other, and talk to our clients, which is obviously the reason we are all visiting. These events are made to get to know each other outside of the office, get a sense of everyone’s personalities, and subconsciously find ways to get them to like and trust us more and thus work better together.

I oftentimes realize that although I appear as an extrovert to a lot of people, these events make me more cognizant that I’m really just a closeted introvert. Sure, I love talking to new people, I have no problem talking to strangers, and I’m pretty good at small talk with random people on the street (and my loud volume and laugh also makes people think I’m very extroverted), but sometimes, making the effort to talk to people I don’t know that well personally can be so taxing. I can feel myself straining when I am sharing stories to engage with people I don’t know. I don’t know if they can tell I am straining or if they are just eating up what I am saying. But they seem to be enjoying themselves, and I guess that’s all that matters.

When I got back to my hotel tonight, I plopped all my stuff down, washed up, and crawled into bed with my computer. I felt so relieved to have alone time and be by myself.

My mom asked why our company doesn’t make us share rooms when we travel in order to save money. “You’re costing your company a lot of money every time you take these work trips,” she said to me the other day. “$200-350/night for a hotel room is ridiculous. Why don’t you just offer to share a room with one of your woman coworkers?”

Um… no. I need that alone time. I need my privacy. I’m a 30-freakin’-year-old career woman. I am not ever offering to share a room when I travel, not that I have ever, even once, been asked. If I didn’t have that alone time to myself and had to think about whether I had to put clothes on when leaving the bathroom to go to the hotel bedroom, I would not be a happy little worker. The older I get, the more I savor time to myself. It’s my time to recharge, think, and just be me. I don’t always want to be “always on,” always thinking about what other people think or how they will react to the things I say and do. Sometimes, I just want to be off and relaxed.

Little blob

I spent the evening in Tampa tonight with a friend’s friend, his wife, and their 1.5 year old son. He’s probably the smartest little child I’ve ever met. He mimics everything that we do – high fives, jumps, yells, even chest beating. He’s also the happiest and most expressive little toddler I’ve ever seen. Today during our dinner of ribs, barbequed chicken, baked beans and slaw, he even ate our food cut into bits, all on his own, interchanging between using his little baby fork and his hands, along with a pretty decent pile of baked sweet potatoes. This child has the palate of God’s children.

Every time I see them, of course we spend a bit of time talking about children, child-rearing, and my potential future as a mother. I read their little toddler bedtime stories tonight, and he loved every minute of it – all my little explanations, imitations of animals and trains, and facial expressions. “He was so enthralled with your story telling!” my friend exclaimed. “Wow, you’re going to be a great mom one day!”

Maybe I will be, but I am absolutely terrified. The idea that a little blob could come out of my body and be 100% dependent on me is quite surreal. I told him this, and he said everyone feels that way. I suppose that is true.

“It’s scary in the beginning, and I felt the same way when he was born,” my friend said. “But after a while, you realize that babies aren’t that complicated after all. When babies cry, it’s always one of three things: 1) they’re hungry, 2) their diapers need to be changed, or 3) they’re tired and need to sleep.”

If only it were really that simple.


I tried to make a group client dinner reservation for Roux, a popular restaurant in Tampa, and they made it really impossible to get through. I tried calling their phone, which resulted in a failed voice message system that produced loud beeping sounds and refused to let me leave a message. I attempted making a reservation through their online booking system, and they would not allow me to make a booking for more than 10 people via their site. I called again and again. This was just not going to work. Finally, I decided that I would need to Tweet them on Twitter to get a response. Within a day, their PR and communications manager messaged me back and called me, made my booking and set up fixed menus for me.

It’s amazing to see the power of Twitter. Of course, in fear that I would potentially give them negative publicity via Twitter, Facebook, or another channel, they tended to my every need and continued to respond to all my e-mails within an hour or so. Social media works very, very well.

No more gifts

My mom loves her gifts. But she also is eagerly awaiting the day after my wedding so she can hound me about her future grandchildren — you know, the ones who I haven’t been thinking much about at all.

“Don’t buy me any more gifts,” she said yesterday. “You should be saving money for your future children… my future grandchildren!” Then she starts chuckling. I can see her smiling through the phone. The smile is so big that I can feel it through the phone. “You know, I need grandchildren! I need them soon!”

She used to hound me about saving money for a future down payment on a house. Now that I am getting married in a month, she is hounding me for the grandchildren. It’s always something.