Sense of Wonder

Sense of Wonder

As we get older, we lose our sense of wonder as we get caught up in the craziness of life.   We become slaves to the daily grind.  Instead of enjoying life, we just go exist.   We have allowed our lives to become a Bill Murray movie in many respects.  Many of us our living Ground Hogs day and for no good reason.  Although it seems silly, why is it that we let life get in the way of enjoying life?  How is that as we get older, we stop appreciating the beautiful sky, the flowers, each other, etc.?  How do we reclaim our sense of wonder?  It’s time for us to reclaim the wonder.

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Have you ever watched a child explore a new park or a new place?  The curiosity and look of amazement never leaves them.  Children bound with excitement as they explore new spaces.  A child can find a crumb size piece of something new and be fascinated for hours.  Its an amazing thing to watch and see.  I loved watching my children explore their world.  It is a magical thing to watch.  Sadly, we seem to lose it as we get older.

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One of my most cherished memories from our trip to Norway this summer was sharing it with my Grandma.  My Grandma is one, who has never lost her sense of wonderment.   At 87 years old, she is quite unique.  She walks several miles daily even in Minnesota’s crazy winters.  In fact, we had to send Jake after her a couple of times.   The first time,  when she started climbing on the rocks in Romskog. Also  when she was climbing near some rushing rivers.   Consequently, once Grandma finished climbing the rocks, she told me about a park in Northern Minnesota where I had to bring the boys.  She loves to go their a climb the rocks.  Simply put, she is a rock star.

Unequivocally, one of my favorite pictures from Norway is of my Grandma standing at the base of a path at the Borgund Stave Church.  This path leads to the Sverristegen and Vindhellavegen portion of the Kongsvegen.  As she stood at the base, there were sheep off to her left in the pasture, the stave church behind her, and tree filled hills to her right and ahead of her.  At 87 years, she looked at the scenery with a childlike wonderment.  She looked at it as if it was the first time she had seen anything like it.  It was a moment of pure magic.

For as long as  I live, that picture will be etched in my mind.  After she had a moment to soak it in, Grandma T hiked up the Sverristegen with the kids, myself, my brothers and their wives.  The hike wasn’t easy either.  The trail was uphill with rocks interspersed between the grass and sheep bombs.  My Grandma was a freaking rock star on that hike.

While our everyday landscape may not be as dramatic as the backdrop of the Borgund Stave church and the Sverristegen,  we can choose to find the wonder in our daily life. Beauty abounds on this planet and in our lives, it comes in the form of nature and the beautiful  people in our lives, recognize it, savor it and enjoy it.  Make life count!  

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boy mom

Boy Mom Life

Being a boy mom is not for the tentative or faint of heart.  Unequivocally, it takes a tough gut, a tough mind, a strong will and the flexibility of a yoga master.   My oldest son was and is a saint.  He was easy going as a baby,  a child and remains easy going as an adult.  He was definitely God’s way of tricking us into having more kids.  Its not that he didn’t have the requisite trips to the urgent care or ER that come with raising kids, but they were in frequent.  If we were at the doctor with Jake, it was because he picked up something at daycare.

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My younger two are strong willed as Jake is easy going.  Oh boy….  The thing about strong-willed children is that they can drive you absolutely mad.  Strong-willed children can absolutely change the world, however, if you don’t try and tame their spirit as is often the case.  It is tempting because it can be maddening.  While Jake spent no time in the urgent care due to accidents or sport injuries, Goalielocks and the Mayor are on a first name basis with the local Urgent Care staff.  You know you’re a hockey mom, when the Urgent Care practitioner knows you, your child and their hockey position.  They even remember to ask how they did at their last tournament.  The urgent care really should have a frequent flier program.   I’m hoping now that the boys are older, our visits to the urgent care center decrease.  Wish me luck on that one!  

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As a child, Goalielocks used to ask us deep philosophical questions while we drove.  These were not easy questions either.  No, Goalielocks wasn’t asking questions about Barnie and Friends.  He was all about the meaning of life as a toddler.  What’s worse is that he would call us out if our answers were inconsistent or changed.     Who expects to be called out on the meaning of life and the origins of the universe by their preschooler?

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Women,  well at least I can speak for myself, tend not think in a linear fashion.  Men tend to think more linearly.  I try to think more globally.   As a young mom, I assumed that my boys thought in a similar fashion.  Oh boy, was I wrong.  I didn’t realize that their thinking was quite singular and linear.  For example, when I told my kids to take a shower, I didn’t realize I would have to specifically tell them to also shampoo their hair and wash their body.  Lesson learned.

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A more recent, and perfect example of this, occurred during Irmageddon.  For some unknown reason, my hubby had brought in a work light from the garage.  The light was unbalanced as it’s legs hadn’t been fully extended..  Goalielocks accidentally knocked into the light knocking it over sending glass shards everywhere.  My hubby and I did our best to vacuum up all of the glass shards, but we clearly missed some of them.  As I swept and vacuumed this weekend, I found more shards of glass.

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I walked into my bathroom noting droplets of blood across the bathroom floor and into our hallway.  As it happens, Goalielocks stepped on a shard of glass cutting his foot.  He had tended to the cut by removing the class, cleaning the wound and covering it.  I asked that he clean up the blood stains he had left in my bathroom. Goalielocks cleaned up the blood stains in the bathroom.

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I took the picture above last night of a blood stain Goalielocks left the day he sliced his foot.  It is important to know that the stain is in our master bedroom hallway about an inch outside of the master bathroom.  As I was taking the pictured, annoyed that the stain was still there,  I asked Goalielocks why he didn’t clean this stain up.  After all, he had cleaned all of the others.  His answer was simple.  “Mom, you asked me to clean up the stains in the bathroom.  This one isn’t in the bathroom.”   I was incensed at myself and him all at once, myself because I should have known better and him because he should have known better.

I brought this picture out at work today.   As it is truly a perfect example of how people that think differently perceive different situations.   When you know that someone is a linear thinker, like my kids, you know you need to be very specific in your communication. In contrast, with a global thinker you wouldn’t have to be as specific.  If you tell me to clean up the blood stains, I’m going to clean up the blood stains even those outside of the bathroom.  On the other hand, a  linear thinker speaking to a global thinker may want to be very specific in their communication leaving no room for misinterpretation or broadening of scope.  

I love how this interaction with my teen turned into a lesson on interacting with different types of thinkers.  Life has a funny way of teaching us when we least expect it.  At first, I thought it was about a male and female brain, but it is not that simple.  Not all women thinking globally and not all men think linearly.  The important take away is that people think differently and we need to communicate accordingly.

Glorious

There is something glorious about a beautiful sunset.  As I left work tonight, at peace with the past couple of weeks, I gazed upon the beautiful Florida sunset.  Albeit there are a lot of things wrong with Florida, but one thing that is oh so right is the sunsets.  Peppered by a bevy of beautiful white fluffy clouds, the red rays of the sun began to set slowly to the west as thunder and lightning rolled in over the coast to the east.  I mean you have to love Florida.  A thunderstorm out one window and world class glorious sunset out the other.  Since I was driving, I was unable to snap a shot of the sunset.  Consequently, I’ll add a picture of the sunset in Flam, Norway.

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Today was glorious because it was a gift.  I have to borrow this from my cousin Jessica, who started this as a daily reminder at the beginning of 2016.  A simple daily reminder of a profound truth.   Jessica has been a poignant reminder of how each day is a gift as she went through breast cancer treatments over the past year.   Fortunately, we were able to see Jessica and her family this summer in Norway.  My boys were overjoyed to meet her son Kai and spend some quality time with him.  Time with family near and far is a glorious gift that no amount of money can replace.

I had a brilliant conversation with a co-worker today about the Oscar Wilde quote on my Live Inspired tee and what it means.  Our conversation about this beautiful Oscar Wilde quote is how the meaning of this quote morphs with you are your progress through the stages of life.  In some sense, she’s completely right.  What defines a life well lived is dependent on the stage of your life.

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Since our youth, we are preconditioned to acquire stuff.  For example things like:  the big house, the big paycheck, the big title and all the fancy goods.  In the end, however, that is not what matters.  Importantly, what matters is the experiences we share with the people we love.  As much as we’d love to, you can’t bring your Louboutins or all that paper with you when you die.

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It reminded me of how truly lucky I was to have Debbie in my life.  I truly believe that God brings people into our lives for a reason, although I cannot yet understand why he tears them away from us.  Debbie taught me, and I think others would agree, a lot about what it means to live a life well lived.  Whenever I have a rough day, I think about her and want to slap myself silly.  I think about how graceful, how kind, how happy and how much she was throughout her battle.  She traveled the globe and the country with her family making beautiful memories.  Even on her worst day, you wouldn’t have know it.  She is and will forever be my hero.

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Another glorious conversation I had confirmed convictions I have long held about someone.  At this point in our lives, there are many experiences that we bring to the collective table.    Sometimes in understanding  those experiences, we can better understand our people and their concerns.  I’m lucky that I can speak honestly and candidly at work without fear.  This person is exactly who I thought he was and one the main reasons I cherish my current career.  Leadership is about making the world a better place.

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Sunday funday

Sunday Funday

Sunday funday my ass….  Unless your idea of fun is household chores and laundry.  If it is, my Sunday was the epitome of Sunday funday.  Nevertheless, I got a lot accomplished and we’re well set up for the week.   The floors have been mopped and all of our laundry is done and put away.  Thanks to Irma and a delayed start to hockey season this is quite the accomplishment for mid-September in our house.

While yesterday was a rest day, today Athena and I were back on the trail running again.  Thankfully, the brush and fallen trees  have been removed from our running trials.  For the first time in months, we were able to run our favorite route.  We ran just over 3.5 miles.  I wish my time was as hot as the heat, but my time sucked and clearly I’m off my game.  The Piggie and I had a great time running the trail despite the heat and my poor time.  There’s nothing better than running outside while listening to great music with my Athena.  It soothes the soul and clears the head.

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Today’s writing prompt is the word sting, so here’s what  I came up with on my run:

  1. Jellyfish – they’re no bueno.  Who wants someone peeing on them to make the stinging sensation to go away?  Not this girl!
  2. Stinging nettle – Goalielocks learned this lesson while feeding the sheep in Flam.  Just say no to stinging nettle.
  3. Sweat in your eyes – Yes, it equates to hard work, but sweat getting in your eyes as your run definitely stings.
  4. Bees and wasps:  I am fortunate that none of us are allergic, but this can be a major problem for those with allergies to bee stings.  In South Florida, Africanized honey bees can present a real danger.
  5. Fire Ants:  These insidious little beasts sting and it feels like their sting is the size of an elephant.  The sting of the red ant is horribly painful.  Unfortunately, I’m speaking from personal experience on this one.
  6. Hurricane Jose, Tropical Storm Lee and now Hurricane Maria: from all of us in the Atlantic Basin – F#$K You!
  7. Betrayal: Stings worse than fire ants, bees, and jellyfish together.
  8. Misogyny, racism or any other kind of discrimination:  A sting worse than a bullet ant and a tarantula hawk wasp sting combined.  Yeah, it’s that bad.

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There is good news about things that sting.  You can squash them, exterminate them or wipe them away or leave them  on the beach to dry out.  They’re not big bad monsters that you cannot defeat.  Lastly,  you can treat your sting, should you experience one, with benadryl cream,  hydro-cortisone cream, ibuprofen, benadryl, an epi-pen for severe allergies and vodka and/or tequila for number 6 and 7 respectively.

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simple Saturday

Simple Saturday

Today was a nice, simple Saturday.   I was beyond exhausted after the craziness of Irma and work.   I ran a little over three miles last night, which marked the 5th straight day of running for the Piggie and I.  We haven’t ran outside since before our Norway trip, so it’s been a bit taxing for me as we recreate our running habit.  Like many in S. Florida, I’ve been fighting off a cold/sinus bug since the storm.  Consequently, I slept like a baby until almost 11:00 am and it felt amazeballs.  My sinuses, however, do not feel amazeballs.  giphy (19)giphy (20)

I had the distinct honor and privilege of grocery shopping once I finally got out of bed.  I’m not even being sarcastic here.  I got to have a normal, sort of, Target run today.  This trip wasn’t an emergency hurricane sustenance run, but a get our normal Target stuff run.  Except it wasn’t our normal Target run because they still haven’t been able to restock their perishables fully.  I got as much as I could at Target, and more (thanks Target), but have to make a trip to Publix and BJ’s to get  our perishables.

I was loving my newly found freedom to be out and about..   After being caged up for the weekend, which felt like years, it was awesome to be out and about.   I made a Kohl’s run.  I had to pick up some new sheets for our bed.  There is nothing more tedious or boring than shopping for sheets.  In addition, to the boring sheets I had to buy I had to pick up some casual shoes with better support for my foot.  Who knows what I did to it, but it hurt like a mother pucker this morning. I obviously had to buy a pair in both black and brown.  A girl has to have options.  Nevertheless, it should be an interesting run tomorrow….

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Dinner tonight came courtesy of Goalielocks, who found a recipe for cheeseburgers made from chuck roast online.  Goalielocks cut up the chuck roast, grounded it up and formed the patties.  I have to say I was impressed with his ingenuity and his drive to make these tasty and flavorful burgers.  Moreover, I’m happy to see another one of my boy’s cooking independently – their wives will thank me later.   As for the burger, it was delicious.  Goalielocks really impressed me with his culinary skills, however, it looks like a burger bomb went off in my kitchen.  Baby steps….. 

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James Joyce

The Genius of James Joyce

When life is perfectly imperfect, literature like the genius of James Joyce provides the perfect remedy and wisdom for the moment.  Life will always throw curve balls at us no matter how much we plan or how hard we work.  We will fall, we will make mistakes, but we must pick ourselves up and recreate life out of life.

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It certainly isn’t easy.  How can one expect someone, who is continuously marginalized to stay in their current role?  I love the quote from Joyce above about people trampling flowers to go embrace a cactus.  Too often people are enticed by the cactus or the sheep in wolf’s clothing over the flower.  It doesn’t make sense, but there is something in human nature that draws us to people who may hurt or disloyal to us versus those that our loyal.  Failing to recognize the people that have made an organization effective, while recognizing others is a death nail to a team.  Unfortunately, this could leave to the demise of an organization.

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At the end of the day, words are meaningless.  It is actions that speak volumes.  People have made numerous promises to me over my career, but promises mean nothing without action.   Once, after six years, someone made good on the promise they had made.   When giving me the good news, however, they lied.   They flat out lied.  Again words are meaningless.   When I speak to my employees about their futures,  I’m honest in my timelines and in setting expectations.  It isn’t always what they want to hear, but at least they know my word is good.

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Falling is optional, but rising back up is not.  So rise we must!  We have an obligation to ourselves to give our best each and everyday regardless of our circumstances.  If you’re in a situation where your continuously marginalized, then it is time to move on.

 

Fabulous Friday

Fabulous Friday

TGIF!  Today is fabulous Friday!  This week has felt incredibly long despite being a short week due to the hurricane.  Irmageddon put a lot of strain on all of us with the planning and preparing we had to do for our families and for work.  Perhaps this is why we all felt so utterly exhausted today.

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I’ve been quite productive this week even though it  has been a short an painful week.  Each and every day we have a choice how we respond to our circumstances..  I choose to say F*#C you to those who seek to marginalize others.  As beaten up as I felt physically, the choice has become clear.  Leaders have an obligation, through good and especially through bad, to find the light at the end of the tunnel.  Leaders have the obligation to be both the beacon of hope and the agent of change.  Bound together by a common passion and drive to be the best we can, the group of leaders I have surrounded myself with is amazing.  We will change the world for the better, so you best be ready.

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The downside in all of this productivity is that I completely missed lunch.  A complete and total travesty since I had actually remembered to pack my yummy, vegan protein shake.  No, its not an oxymoron. Its actually quite flavorful, low calorie and does not contain soy or other allergens.  I love my Zumba Shake Shake Shake (Lorbach10 is my affiliate code if you’re interested.)  By the time I realized I had missed lunch, it was 5:00 pm.  I headed home and grabbed some provolone cheese to fuel my run.

 

FullSizeR (11)Piggie and I ran 3 miles, which felt fantastic.  Nothing clears your head better than a nice run with your bestie.  The sky was amazing tonight with nary a cloud in the sky and a big, full setting sun.  Florida’s skies are thing of beauty.   Its been a rough week getting back into running outdoors.  The heat makes it tough to run, but it feels remarkable to be back on the trail outside.  There’s nothing better than running with my puppys’, to remove the stress of the work day.  Since I had such an amazing lunch, I’m treating myself to some Sushi Yama tonight.  Talk about flavorful!

Lean In

Time to Lean In

It is time to lean in ladies.  I’ve been reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In along with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.  Can you tell?  As a leader in corporate America that happens to be female, I love the book.   Its amazing to me that in 2017, the struggles for women in business remain.   Misogyny in the workplace is a thorny, unpleasant issue, but we need to talk about it.

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When I first took on a leadership role,  my boss asked if I was willing to sacrifice time away from family and kids.  First of all, the question was a bit inappropriate.  My work speaks for itself and is never left unfinished.  Secondly, this questions was never asked to my my male counterparts.   In fact, they found it quite odd that I was.  This leads me to question if the fact that I’m a mom, a hockey mom at that, is an impediment to my career.  Is this something that those above me consider when succession planning?

I would argue that the question is inappropriate regardless of the gender of the person being asked.  A person’s work product and work ethic speak to their commitment to the company.  The worker’s life outside of the company is not germane to the conversation.

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There are number of stereotypes that inhibit women from closing the leadership gap in this country.  If a man gets emotional in a meeting, he is dubbed passionate.  In contrast If a women gets emotional in meeting, she is dubbed a train wreck.   If a man is aggressive, he is applauded.  Whereas If a women is aggressive, she is told to back off and stopped being so aggressive.

About a year ago, two male co-workers interrupted a conversation between me and my colleague a friend and I.  These leaders insisted my friend was not nearly as aggressive she needed to be to get things done.  On the other hand, they felt I was too aggressive.  I shut them down immediately.    They can’t have it both ways.

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What is my ideal workplace? It is an environment where I can work with my incredible team and have my contributions and my team’s contributions noted and appreciated.  In my ideal workplace, the thunder thief does not exist.   What do women want?  They want a seat at the table.  They want the ability to contribute to the organization in a meaningful way with a clear path to success.  In addition, women notice the way other women are treated in the organization. With each women whose contributions are minimized, with each women who is passed over; the women of the organization notice and see their path diminished.

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Finally, ladies this one is for you.  Mean girls belong in middle school, not in corporate America.  Name calling, manipulation and other middle school games have no place.   When we treat each other poorly, it opens the door to more mistreatment. Treat your fellow women with respect and support each other or go back to middle school.

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side effects of hurricane

Side Effects of a Hurricane

The side effects of a hurricane are real and they’re sad.  With a storm the size of Irma, you end up spending almost 48 hours caged inside.  If you were unfortunate enough to have lost power, your stuck eating processed food that just isn’t healthy.  Even if you kept power, like we did, the caramel roll and mimosa brunch does nothing for your fitlife goals.

I’ve had a penchant for running for the past two years since my first Purple Stride event in 2015, but fell of the wagon after our Norway trip.  My sister in law took a picture of us post brunch Saturday before the storm hit.  It was sad to see, but I looked like I swallowed a small child.  I swear I didn’t actually eat a small child, but if you saw the picture you would have thought differently.

When my work announced we were reopening the office with a relaxed dress code on Tuesday, a collective sigh of relief went out across South Florida.   Sadly, post hurricane the dolphins on our yoga pants have morphed into whales.  What’s more the dolphins no look like whales.  Oh it was a humbling Tuesday.  If there’s ever a way to reignite your running habit, this hurricane weekend was the it.

Since it has been so hot, I’ve been running on the treadmill.  Unfortunately, the power had been cutting in and out Monday, so I had to run outside.  It would be my luck that I would injure myself post-storm in an unfortunate treadmill accident.  Consequently, the Piggie and I hit the running path and ran 2.65 miles.  I thought I was going to die.  It was as humid as it was hot.  I definitely should have brought my inhaler.  Nevertheless, it felt amazing to be out on the trail my loving running partner.   Tonight marked three notes in a row of running.  We’re back on track!

 

 

reality

Back to Reality

Today was my first day back at work and back to reality post Irmageddon. Traffic was fantastically light on the turnpike making for a quick commute. Any gains made on the turnpike were quickly given up at my favorite Dunkin’ Donuts where I waited in line with most of Pompano Beach for the better of 20 minutes awaiting my coffee. Clearly, many in South Florida, like myself, has been jonesing for Dunkin’ these past three days.

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Thankfully, I was able to pick up my coffee and head to work. The Turnpike was clear. The traffic lights right around the turnpike, in both Palm Beach and Broward county, were in working order. Once I left my Dunkin’ and headed down Power Line those lights were not functioning. Oh boy, this is a problem.

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South Floridians struggle with traffic laws. Heck they barely obey them during normal conditions. I shouldn’t be surprised that they would disobey them post hurricane. I’ve never lived in a place where people stop at a yield sign, but refuse to stop at stop sign. Moreover, they cannot for the life of them figure out a roundabout. You can imagine the chaos that has ensued since some of the traffic lights are out entirely and others are blinking. Unfortunately, the post-storm confusion this causes often times has deadly consequences.

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Here’s a quick tutorial for my fellow Floridans.  First, If the light you are facing is blinking red, you treat it as a stop sign. Secondly,  If the light you are at is blinking yellow, you treat it as a yield.   Lastly, if the light you are facing is off entirely, treat it as a four way stop. Regardless of the conditions listed above, proceed with caution. Proceed with the assumption that the other drivers on the road will not abide by the rules of the road and protect yourself and your family. I hate driving post-storm because it is patently unsafe.

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Aside from the driving, it felt great to get out of the house and get back to normal.  It stinks being in the house for days.  You start feeling like a caged animal after only a couple of hours and its no fun.  I am hoping that more stoplights will be operational tomorrow making for a safer commute for me and my team.  Thanks to everyone for sending their well wishes and prayers throughout Irmageddon.  We appreciated them very much.