Faith

Wow, it’s that time! countdownTwenty eight years ago, I walked into 633 Folsom in San Francisco, both nervous and excited to get started. My only goal? I wanted to work for a company that would give me room to grow. After my first day, my first week, my first month, my first year (!) I couldn’t believe they were paying me to do this stuff. (Yeah, that was not the first time I realized I was a nerd on a cosmic scale….. I can hear y’all snickering.) All these years later, I am so grateful for all of the adventures and opportunities I’ve had.

I’ve been so, So, SO fortunate to have y’all in my life and to have you share yours. I’m most grateful for your inspiration and I hope y’all know how much you’ve meant to me. There are not enough words (and y’all don’t have enough time 😉 ) for me to list all the things we’ve accomplished together. I have to mention, however, the most important of these was the world we built. We brought out the best in each other and I wish y’all the best as you carry on the AT&T community.

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As I sign off from AT&T for the last time, I leave you with this song –  Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande’s Faith (From “Sing”)

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Every time I see it, I’m reminded of the faith we have in each other, I’m reminded of y’all.

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Every time you see it, I hope you think of those in your life that need you for their inspiration.

Thank you for having faith in me and best wishes for a fabulous 2017!

Caryn

Miles and Miles

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When I’m counting my blessings, one of the items on my list is my career. Among other things, it took us back to Texas, where I was born. During my childhood and then as an adult, we’ve moved frequently. After we moved to Dallas in the 90s, we always knew Texas would be home.

 

miles-cloudsThere’s something about the wide open sky and the never ending highways (all 80,000
miles of them) that makes me feel at peace. We now live in south Texas, where the weather is relatively mild and the big city is as close to a small town as you can get.

 

What better way to celebrate Friday, than with a little Texas swing? Asleep at the Wheel’s Miles and Miles of Texas is one of my favorites and I used to play it regularly on Friday mornings when I worked in DC. It wasn’t long before we Boogie(d) Back to Texas. Gotta love Ray and the rest of the band. 😉

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Own It

Good morning and HAPPY FRIDAY!

I’m in need of something a little fun, a little camp, so how about a little MC Hammer? Yeah, that’s how we livin…. Need to get a fresh attitude? Oh, my Lord, thank You for blessing me….Looking for some energy? Now, you know you wanna dance. Want to shake off the seriousness of your day? No quote here, but how about you join me in imagining everyone wearing those harem pants? Whoot! 😀

Its your life so own it

It doesn’t matter how challenging things are, we all need to remember what we do well, celebrate who we are and own it. Whether it’s you, your family, your community or your company, you know you rock it. Need some help visualizing? I absolutely love this lipsync of U Can’t Touch This by McKinney High School. EVERYONE is in on the action – do you think it brought them together? And how great is it that the administration supported this effort? It tells you that they make their campus fun for their students, which pays off in a strong sense of community and students who are willing to work hard. (My favorite is the kid at 3’15” who looks like he might get pushed into his locker but, boy, he can bust a move. Good for him for taking center stage!)

So move, outta your seat, and… git r done, then enjoy your weekend!

Caryn

It’s All Good

Happy Friday! Get down, get Funky! I usually send out a note to my coworkers on Fridays with a Funky Friday theme. We started out with watching old Soul Train videos and it expanded from there.

Is it work related? No, not at all. But… it gets us up and dancing and brings a common grin to everybody on my email. Shared experiences bring us together and, for a national team, it’s a challenge to accomplish this. We don’t get to see each other in the halls or go to lunch. We’re on conference calls nonstop and it’s too easy to miss the personal connection. What to do then? Inject a little humor (have you seen the hair on those Soul Train vids? Priceless!) and a little musical inspiration and you have something that gets us up out of our chairs. Totally worth the few minutes of distraction…

Today’s song is one of my favorites – its retro funk sound is not only perfect for my Booty Shaker playlist, it’s also got really good lyrics. Basically, its message is that it doesn’t matter about our differences –

Hollywood, or in the hood, it don’t matter…

Tight fade, or long braids, it don’t matter…

East coast or west coast, it don’t matter…

Either way, it’s all good.”

This is Robert Randolph and the Family Band’s Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That. Time for a little chair dancing!

Curveballs

Curveball: Slang Something that is unexpected or designed to trick or deceive.

I travel for business about two weeks a month. Sometimes I luck out and it’s fun, like when I got to go to South Beach. I may not get to do anything besides work but I get good pictures like this one from my hotel window in May 2013.

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Sometimes I luck out and the travel itself goes smoothly, getting there and back with no delays, no lost luggage. Smooth. As. Glass.

Sometimes life reflects perfectly, like on calm water. If your day started like this, it’s hard to believe it could go wrong. (photo courtesy of the internet, couldn’t find the photographer’s name)

Sometimes, though, life throws you a curveball or two. Recently I had one of those trips. Several of us flew to Denver, had a good meeting and then headed to the airport. I was flying home to San Antonio via Dallas (DFW) and had a very tight layover. On the way into the airport, I was already thinking ahead to how I was going to manage it. I have the FlightTracker app on my iPhone and it gives you all kinds of flight info, including gate numbers. I know DFW well and was all ready to map out my layover.

You know when you have plans, you assume life will play along? Silly you. To borrow from another saying, plans are made to be broken. It takes a lot of strength to realize that the plan is not reality. That afternoon, I had to dig deep for it. I was tired and, thanks to some chronic health problems, very close to a physical crash. The delays on my last trip were so severe that I needed a wheelchair.  The prospect of more delays was stressful, beyond what many can imagine.

My first flight was delayed and making the connection wasn’t looking good. Mini-melt down time.

“But wait,” you say, “aren’t there other flights? Can’t you just get them to re-book you?”

“Of course,” I respond. “I should have thought of that.” Seriously. So I take a deep breath and tell the ticket agent I’m panicking over missing my connection. She’s not terribly friendly but I’m calmer just for having said it. She gets me on a later flight from DFW to home and I’m on my way. I’m not thrilled but it’s no big deal. I figure I’ll park myself at my gate, do some email, read a book. Except we’d used my phone for navigation to around Denver and the battery was low.

“No problem!” you say. “Just plug into an outlet.”

“I’m on it,” I respond, looking around. “Huh. No outlets in sight.”

“How can Denver’s airport not have outlets?” You look at me as if I should try harder.

“Wait,” I yell, “there’s some over there!” I point at a bank of pay phones. Yeah, you read that right – it’s 2013 and the outlets are at a bank of payphones.

But, hold on. There are no chairs next to the payphones. And I’m in a dress. “Blerg!” It may seem unladylike but that’s the least of my concerns. I drop my bags, park myself on the floor and try to act like it’s perfectly normal for a businesswoman in a dress to sit on the floor. Thank goodness for stretch! (Uhh, fabrics. I know guys don’t care, but girls do.)

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Finally, our plane arrives. By now, I’m frustrated because the airline can’t seem to predict when the flight will actually take off. Uncertainty is itself a stressor. My new layover time is shrinking by the minute but it looks like I’ll have just enough time. Passengers line up and I can tell in one sniff that many have passed the time in the airport bar.

I find my seat and learn quickly that my seatmate is not just frustrated, he’s passed into the zone of being pissed. Pissed as in he’s very, very unhappy. He’s also more than mildly inebriated (pissed means drunk in UK slang). His lack of inhibitions and his frustration nearly end up getting him thrown off the plane for not turning off his phone. After a face down with the flight attendants, he quiets down and we finally (!) take off.  It’s only two hours to DFW. We’ll be off the plane soon enough.

We land in Dallas and the entire plane is now in a frenzy to get to their next gate. Thanks to my iPhone app, I already know my next flight is delayed. It’s late – after 10 pm – and the terminal is surreally empty except for us.

A funky sculpture in DFW's newest terminal.

A funky sculpture in DFW’s newest terminal.

It's late, I'm tired and yeah, the escalator made me dizzy, too.

It’s late, I’m tired and yeah, the escalator made me dizzy, too.

I ride the Skylink to my next gate, where, sure enough, the flight is delayed. We have a plane but no crew. Since the delays are not weather related, I know the airline will do nearly anything to get us home – they won’t want to pay for lodging. Now, after delays, drunken passengers and being a seriously tired puppy, I am in my happy place. I park myself on the floor again, open my book and zone out.

Once the crew arrives, the passengers crowd the gate agent like they think there aren’t enough seats for all of us. We finally get  on board, the attendants give the turn-your-electronics-off speech and…we continue to sit at the gate. The pilot informs us we’re waiting for a passenger who has “gotten turned around” in the airport.  It seems my day could have been worse, I could be worried about missing the final flight home. Isn’t it nice of the crew to wait for a passenger who is likely panicking as she runs to catch the plane? I wonder if she knows this? I wonder if she realizes how all of us (well, most of us) are happy to take a few minutes and make sure she gets to the plane.

So what’s the moral of the story? Life throws curveballs at you. How you react is up to you. There may be lots of justifiable reasons for you to lose it. Do you think, though, that my drunken seat mate made it easier for himself? I’ll bet he walked away from that day that thinking everyone was a jerk. We, of course, thought he was the jerk.

Having a plan is good, being prepared for curveballs is better. Equip yourself by working with what you got. Be grateful for what works, let go of what doesn’t. Curveballs come and plans go but your peace of mind goes with you everywhere.

Define Success

How do you know when something is enough? Are you successful or successful…enough?  I had a boss who told me I’d never get rich working for that particular employer. Wow, depressing, right? Or not…. His yardstick clearly wasn’t mine.

Like most folks, my husband and I were broke when we got married but we always had an income, a roof over our house and food on the table. We rarely had to tell ourselves “no” when it came to something. Not that we didn’t have to budget, but we spent our money relatively smart and were able to buy the normal fun things. We started out in a tiny little house but eventually traded up to a series of “forever” houses (my work has moved us around a bit). Every single house we’ve had has been beautiful in some way. Is that the definition of being rich? Maybe, but it only lasts so long if your house is empty.

We’ve always had an abundance of books. When the boys were little I would tell them, “we are rich in books!” because every bookshelf was overflowing. Does that mean we were rich? Even a house full of books may not be home though.

Ever since Martin and I got together, we’ve always had a house full of our boys, family, the neighbors’ and the boys’ friends. We wanted to be that house, the one where all the kids hang out. We don’t mind the mess, the noise or the extra food bill (even now, when each boy seems to need an extra large pizza). Ok, we don’t mind their mess as long as there is daylight outside…. In all seriousness, we love that they come over, talk for a bit, and then go do their thing. For us, this is the definition of success. It means that people see your home as safe and comfortable, that it’s a place to be yourself and where you are accepted for who you are. Our boys are getting older (the youngest is 17) and I’m happy to see them grow up. I’ll miss the impromptu sessions in our kitchen where they gather with their buddies around a pizza. I’ll still think we’re rich though, because of the role we’ve had in their upbringing.

My dad with Gus and Dylan. Don't let the scowls fool you - apparently the boys have outgrown smiling for the camera. :)

My dad with Gus and Dylan. Don’t let the scowls fool you – apparently the boys have outgrown smiling for the camera. 🙂

Happy Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day, a time when I think back to my childhood and then to my husband.

My dad is the kind of guy who is almost always smiling. Everything is an adventure to him. Even in his 70s, he’s learning new things and enjoying life, like converting to all Apple products and standing in line overnight to get the latest iPad. Yep, that’s my dad. Sitting in his lawn chair and also making friends up and down the line while they wait. Dad is also great at taking care of others. He’s always lending a hand with family and friends. He’s always been the best at this, even if it’s just moral support. I remember once when the unthinkable happened, I was just out of college and had gotten fired.  He lived far away but gave me some encouragement and advice long distance, basically reminding me that I was perfect, that I would be fine and that he was proud of me. Logically, I knew I’d find another job but having someone tell you they were proud of you even if you’d been fired? Priceless balm for your soul. I’m so proud to be his daughter.

Dad and the grandkids prepare to fly to CA for the summer - circa 2000.

Dad and the grandkids prepare to fly to CA for the summer – circa 2001.

Dylan, Dad & Gus a few years ago

Dylan, Dad & Gus a few years ago

Gus, Dad & Dylan in January 2013

Gus, Dad & Dylan in January 2013

My husband is another one of the great guys. He’s loving, smart and funny. He plays gorgeous music and leads a wicked pace up the mountains on his Calfee. Martin has been a SAHD (fancy term for stay at home dad) since Gus was born. He’s made our home a sanctuary and a great place for the boys to grow up. Martin is always taking care of folks, putting their needs first. This has given me the freedom to focus on my career, which has resulted in great adventures for us. More than anything, Martin loves us as we are.

Martin with Dylan, Father's Day 1991

Martin with Dylan, Father’s Day 1991

Martin with Gus after a game

Martin with Gus after a game about 5 years ago

Bike Dad at the Shiner ride

Bike Dad at the Shiner ride

With a dad like mine, is it any wonder I found such a great guy for my husband? Happy Father’s Day to two very cool guys. xoxoxo