australia, ocean

Detours off Britta Blvd

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the adventure continues...and ends...
australia, ocean
brittadotcom
Sorry...I kept trying to write posts along the way, and about half of this is a bunch of stuff written during the trip & saved, but either I'd fall asleep when trying to update before bed, usually at least 2:30am, or I just ran out of free time...so here is the full story of Squaw Valley 2006...


Sunday was fun...I wandered around the village a bit, realizing there really aren't that many shops there, then ran in to Mylene & Maricar, so even though I had already eaten my leftover shrimp enchilada, I went with them to the High Sierra Grille, where we ate & hung out for a couple hours, deciding that $20 round trip just to get up to the summit to ice skate was a bit much. We finally left, wandered into shops again, then ended up by the ski lifts entrance at the Balboa Cafe where a guitar & bass jazz duo were playing on the patio. Mylene drooled over his minimalist upright bass (Mylene is an awesome upright bass player herself), and we hung out for awhile listening to tasty jazz standards. When Margie, Donna & Stephanie were done skiing, they caught up with us, and we all headed over to the Auld Dubliner again to watch the football game (Seahawks vs. Panthers I think? I had to ask where the Panthers were from!)...then since we had dinner reservations back at the Balboa Cafe at 8pm, the skiiers left to shower & get ready for dinner while Rosa, Jay, Eric & I stayed at the pub until dinner. Dinner was yummy, and the wine-fueled conversation was rambunctious as to be expected in this group, then we went back to the pub. Pretty empty again, and people kept saying they were planning on an easy & early evening...but somehow even after I was trying by consuming many drinks but not even getting a buzz, I ended up being mother hen to a few REALLY drunk friends! Kind of funny when you're the sober one so can remember everything. ;) I escorted everyone safely to their rooms, getting to sleep myself around 3:30. I tried to blog then, but I was much too tired...sorry!


Monday morning was my last chance for sleeping in, so I took advantage! I got up at 10 after another very late night and was ready by 11ish to help with finishing everything needed for the big Marketing Winter Olympics we were running for Tuesday morning. I cut & ironed 12 flags, helped sort foam letters into packets, then even started on redoing a hotel's marketing DVD, since the one they sent for my boss's boss to use for her Wednesday night presentation was total CRAP...I mean really, we can't believe they actually sent out something with such poor quality video as marketing material! Glad I brought my Mac & my external hard drive with space on it, since I'm actually using it for slideshow & video editing - heh! We had our team meeting at 3pm until almost 5pm to hash out what we all needed to do, then 5pm was the cocktails then dinner since that was the official start of the work event, so everyone had arrived. The live band was a bit loud for the room since talking was difficult even right next to you - the saxophonist was great, but he really didn't need to be miked in that room! Dinner was delicious, then while the newbies in town strolled over to the Irish pub, we went back to Mylene's room to keep working on the Olympics stuff. About 10:30 we realized we needed more supplies, and since others had been drinking more at dinner and I had my car here, I drove to the Tahoe City Albertsons about 20 minutes away. After seeing a wild coyote in the parking lot as we left, we made it out of there just before they closed at 11pm. I finally left Mylene's room at 2am when they were still using the hotel business center to print everything, so I got about 4 hours of sleep before I had to get up at 7am for the 8am meeting start...ugh! I knew that was coming, which is exactly why I slept in while I had the chance! ;)


Tuesday morning I did get up in time, so I was downstairs before 8am, ready since I was enlisted to video the sales VP's opening speech, and we were still organizing all the last-minute stuff for the Olympics. Our CEO's talk ran over, so our Olympics started late too. After a bit of a multimedia glitch for the torch "lighting" the games went pretty well, even the eating contest including WAY too many pork rinds (blech! I was very thankful I was timing, not competing!), and me being Popsicle Queen hit on the cheekbone by a rogue snowball in the wIntercourse obstacle course, until the very last event. The Iditarod-inspired sled race, where the team had to pull one of their members on the sled, went well until the last heat, when someone fell & injured his hamstring. Poor guy has to be on ice for 48 hours and still has to fly back to the East Coast to get home. :(

We had a pizza lunch after the games, then back into all-afternoon meetings, where my boss told my team "You really SHOULD be at all the sessions this afternoon"...so I struggled to stay awake through the 5 different sessions that were tailored to Sales but still interesting to know. We only had about 30 minutes between the sessions ended and when we were supposed to meet for dinner, so I was only able to log in on my work computer since I was called on my cell about an urgent issue. We all took the cable car up to the high summit at over 8200ft, then some played broomball on the ice rink while the rest of us watched them from the warm bar with free drinks and nibbles. I did venture outside for photo ops, but since I was only in my normal shoes, my penchant for the perfect shot ended up soaking myself up to the knees when I fell through the snowpack...heh! Needless to say, when I had enough cool photos, I went back inside for more wine & appetizers while I let my feet dry out. ;)

Dinner was fine, but the pre-dinner nibbles were so tasty (the crabcakes and the pesto shrimp - yum!) several of us weren't that hungry, so we ate lightly at the buffet, but I still had a taste of every dessert, including several cherry stems to tie. ;) We took the cable car back down & while some did go to the Irish pub (yet again), more of my friends were hoping for low-key if anything, so Rosa & I offered our room for the evening, since our corner suite has such a big living room and no neighbors. We got the 2 guys here who were leaving early the next day, a sales guy & 5 others to drink & munch plus watch a bit of the Wedding Crashers on DVD with the fireplace making things cozy...people were tired tonight so most left around 11:30 or so, but most promised to party Wednesday night...


Wednesday was our "free day" where the company was paying for lift tickets, equipment rental, and even lessons, but since I didn't have any snow pants or proper gloves, I decided against any of that. Just as well, since my boss Laura wasn't either, and she's so afraid of heights that she didn't want to ride in the cable car gondola by herself! I got up around 9am & was getting myself ready for the day when Laura called me asking if I'd go with her at least up to lunch. I was trying to finish the multimedia stuff for that little preso, plus since I had both camcorder tapes, I was hoping I could maybe try to whip together come video clips for the Wednesday night presentation of the winners. When Laura called about 11:30, she said "You're not still working on the preso are you? I'm going to come take you away..." haha! So, I left the video importing from the camcorders and we left for lunch up the mountain. The weather was crystal clear and beautiful, and we did get all the way to the 8200ft summit, where I took a bunch of photos, tromping in snow too deep for my non-snow-worthy shoes just to get the shots I wanted, then one of the few others we saw wandering took a photo of us with Lake Tahoe in the distance, which was nice. There were races scheduled at 2pm, but we had to get down the mountain before we could get up on the other smaller gondola where we supposedly could see the races. Well, we got up there, and we think we could see where the races would be, but we couldn't get out there without skis to get close enough to see who was who, so we gave up & went back down. Since I mentioned how we had so few party provisions for our party room, we stopped at the little market Laura had found, and she insisted on paying for some chips, salsa, & some OJ & berry juice as vodka mixers, so that was nice of her. We got back to my room & I showed Laura what I'd thought the best plan was for the preso I was working on, and she agreed, even though Margie would have the final say, of course.

I never did get to work on the video, since about 3:30, Mylene came by asking to use my car to go to the 7-11 shop down at the corner, so since I wanted more party provisions myself, I went ahead & drove, which brought us back around 4pm, when Margie was back & wanted to put together the Olympic results preso & see my other preso. Thankfully Margie agreed about the one preso, which meant I was done with that, but it took us until 5:10 to finish the results preso, and since dinner started at 6pm, I had to get there to set up the AV stuff by 5:30! I did get over there in time, and after a lot of fiddling, we figured out where we could set up, and everything was working fine by about 5:55. Since I had loaded in all my photos through Tuesday night, I threw together the quickest iPhoto slideshow in the West (I did have to delete a bunch of crap ones, so it wasn't quite as easy as "select all" & slideshow!), then left it running while everyone had cocktails and even through dinner, since it was so many photos. People did seem to enjoy that, since some were even standing & watching vs. just glancing every so often. As I was eating dinner, Margie came over & asks "Can we change the preso? I want to add some stuff"...so we covered the lens so as not to give anything away, edited the preso while my food got cold, then that was done. The Sales awards were during dessert, then it was time for the Olympics results, which went fine, hilarious as intended...but then when it came to the minute-long preso that had been the bane of my multimedia existence, I had everything cued up waiting for Margie's signal, but the projector went dead! We think it overheated, since the lights did flicker on once but died again. One person ran back to the hotel to borrow another projector as we tried putting the first one in the freezer, and scrounging for cables to connect to the restaurant's big-screen TV instead. We got it hooked up & tested good to the TV, but Margie wanted the projector instead and the replacement one had just arrived...so back again, after at least 15 minutes of delay, for the finally-successful minute-long preso...so much effort for such a short payoff! ;)

After dinner, they moved out the tables and created a dance floor for one of the sales directors to DJ, with even a mirror ball hanging from the ceiling...but the ball didn't spin! I took it upon myself to reach up & give it a spin every time I was near enough, which was either walking past or even dancing...haha! Because I was a bit stressed from the preso pain, I really wanted a drink, and it was an open bar all night...yummy! The dancing was fun, and I didn't go overboard on the drinking, but I was roped into doing a flaming Sambuca shot, which, although impressing the guys who coerced me, resulted the next morning in a blister on my finger! Ah well...minor injury compared to the hamstring pull, suspected concussion inside helmet from fall on the ice, and broken foot from snowboarding that happened to other people on this trip! When the music PC crashed, my PowerBook came to the rescue, keeping the dance floor hopping until they started kicking us out at 2am. Rosa & I got back to our room about 2:30 but went to bed right away...and since everyone who had wanted to hang out in our room had stayed at the restaurant anyway, all the party provisions went unused! Doh! Best-laid plans...


This morning, Rosa was taking the company shuttle back to the Bay Area so she had left before I got up, but since I had driven myself, I could leave whenever I wanted, as long as it was before 11am checkout time. I had sent an email asking if anyone wanted to come to my room to get their stuff if they were still around, which prompted Nadia & Louie to call me from the company shuttle. They were already being required to put on chains on I-80, so I was prepared to finally use my chains. After our stellar weather all week, it had snowed overnight & was still lightly snowing in Squaw Valley, but it didn't look too dangerous, and at least it was daylight this time. Kael had asked to be dropped off in Folsom, so he helped me pack up all the party provisions, other leftovers others had left around, and we got on the road before 11am. We took 89 south as it winds along the shore of Lake Tahoe to South Lake Tahoe where we took Hwy 50 all the way back. No chains required on 50 so we were lucky! We got to Folsom by 1:30, where I chatted with Kael & Lisa & finally saw their house, then went to my parents' house about 2:30 for a late lunch & to pack up other stuff I had left there. I got back on the road 4ish, stopping for gas & a car wash - the Honda had never been so dirty! - then a visit to my dad's office to say hi.

I made it back home by 7:45pm, unpacked by 8pm, and now I'm really tired, so I don't think much else will happen besides taking out the garbage & recycling for morning pickup...it will be nice to sleep in my own bed tonight, and Kylie the Kitty is definitely happy to see me. :)

Good night!

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