Friday, February 25, 2011

Cool Things!

As I write this post, I'm sitting at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport waiting for my flight to Cleveland that has been delayed for two hours. The good news is that the plane is here, so we just have to wait for the weekly blizzard to clear out of Cleveland.

The beauty of the MSP airport is that there is plenty to do (like shopping) and some great restaurants. I was thrilled to notice one of their newest additions - Surdyk's Flights. What a great name for a wine bar at an airport. And they really do have wine flights that range from $10 to $24. I'm about to enjoy lunch here - having the Minneapple Panini - roast turkey, brie, apples and lingonberry sauce - with a glass of Dutour "Le Roche" Pouilly Fuisse. All I can tell you is that it is a white wine and I like the flavor.  Oh, my sandwich is right back. 

Surdyk's has deli sandwiches to go when you don't have time - made with quality meats and top notch cheese. Yum! My sandwich was delish!  Oh! Oh! Surdyk's also has electrical outlets at their tables!

I didn't need the outlets because I had charged my computer and broadband card on the drive up from Rochester. I was able to do that courtesy of a great gift my sister gave me this past Christmas. It's called the Coffee Cup Power Inverter. I just plugged it in to the car's DC outlet and the coffee cup changes the power to AC and you just plug in your devices. It has two outlets and a USB port. The ad says you can power three devices at one time, but only if none of the plugs are those monster plugs because they block the other plug-in.
You can get it at ThinkGeek. 

My other life saver this week is a little website called It's been a godsend for me because of all the different electronic devices I use. It's cloud computing and it rocks!

I have Dropbox on my iPhone and when I take a picture, I can drop it in to the Dropbox and voila! it's now accessible to me on my laptop or my work computer or home computer. Actually, anywhere I have an internet connection, you can access your files. AND IT'S FREE! Up to a point....If you want more you can purchase it or recommend other people and you both get more space up to 8 gigabytes (so if you want to join email me at meharty at usfamily dot net.

You get two gigabytes of memory which is plenty for most of us. If you need more than that,   I have about 30 documents (including large spreadsheets) and maybe 20 photos and I've only used 3.8% of my two gigabytes. AND you can share stuff! I had photos to send a friend and since most email accounts HATE large files, I gave him links to my public photos and he just downloaded them from there!

Two final items - if you go to Surdyk's, ask for Katie - she was a great waitress. And if you are delayed, spend time in the main concourse. They have much more comfortable chairs than at the gate.

So there is all my cool stuff for you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I need a weekend

I need a weekend with nothing planned. 

A weekend without travel or skating or phone calls or work assignments or any other activity. 

It's not going to happen this weekend and none of my last three weekends have been quiet. I have had a February to die from. I've had skating related activities every weekend in February including two trips to exotic locations such as Albany and Cleveland. While most people think south at this time of year, my schedule has kept me firmly ensconced in the snowy and cold north. 

Granted, I do these activities by choice. I'll be invited to a competition and when I review my calendar, I'm generally only looking at that weekend - not the weekend before or the weekend after. It was December when I realized that I had managed to erase all my weekend from the month of February.
I am so excited that I have ABSOLUTELY nothing planned for my March weekends, I can hardly stand it. I want to sleep in on Saturday, maybe go shopping or have a massage. I want to work on the bazillion quilt projects for which I have bought the pattern and fabric, but haven't found the time to do. I want to go to the Dan Abraham Health Living Center and try to remember what it was like to be healthy and fit. What it was like to fit into my jeans...and my skirts...and my suits.

Wait a second...for wanting weekends where I have nothing to do, I sure am planning on doing alot. 

Dang! Foiled again!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Morning Meetings

I had my first 7 am meeting today. Not the first one in my life, but my first one here at Mayo Clinic. 

I'm not a morning person - not because I don't like getting up early (cuz I'm up everyday at 5 am), but because my brain is not fully functional until 9ish. I discourage people from 8 am meetings with me. 

And it wasn't just the time, it was the type of meeting that made it even more challenging. It was a project launch meeting for a tech initiative. There were at least 30 people in the room and I recognized no one. I sat in the chair closest to the exit just from fear of being noticed or asked questions. 

I like technology but this is one of those projects that is so immense, it might take me awhile to fully grasp it. Everyone introduced themselves during the meeting and told what area they worked in. There were moments when I thought I was listening to Charlie Brown's teacher. 

When a slide of the reporting and team structure showed up on the PowerPoint, it was alphabet soup. Of the ten or so acronyms on the slide, I knew one. ONE! One of the acronyms was MUPITS. I can't remember what it all stands for, but learning it was a Mayo acronym made me glad I didn't laugh during the introductions when one of the guys said he works in IT and with Muppets.

One moment of being uncomfortable courtesy of Target: Today, I decided to wear my black & gray argyle sweater with a pink shell. As did one of the other ladies in the meeting (including the pink shell) We avoided eye contact for the majority of the meeting. I made sure I didn't ride in the same elevator with her after the meeting. So imagine my surprise, five minutes after the meeting, seeing ANOTHER woman wearing the same sweater with a pink shell. I started having Catholic grade school flashbacks. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

My love/hate relationship with flying

I've been a bad blogger...

Can't believe I haven't posted in almost a month. I won't use the lame excuse that I've been so busy because the truth is, I just haven't had the inspiration to write. Happens to everyone. Might happen again.

But a blogger friend of mine recently said on her blog that she needs to get away from the "I must post something" attitude and realized that she only has to post when she has something to say.  Honestly, why should I waste people's time just because I think that I'm witty and amusing? 
Well, I'm back in the saddle and I've been flying more lately. I'm always excited to fly somewhere since I get to see friends or attend an event, but the reality is that flying can be exhausting when you have to worry about catching flights (not to mention catching germs) and getting up really, really early to catch morning flights.By the time I get home from a trip, I look like I was riding on the outside of the plane.
I had my first trip flying out of the Rochester International Airport and it was SO different from flying out of MSP.  Parking at the Rochester airport is $8.00 a day with the maximum of $48 weekly. My parking at MSP was $48 this past weekend.  Rochester has four gates and MSP has 117 gates. When I flew out of Rochester, my time from parking my car, walking into the building, checking in and then going through security and walking to my gate was almost ten minutes. It takes me ten minutes to find a place to park at MSP. I'm just sayin'...

On my flight in January, I learned a new term, "Lap Child." I guess Delta is trying to condense what they have to say. So instead of saying "if you are traveling with a child who sits on your lap.." they have taken to referring to a lap child. It just sounded strange. 

I also learned that when booking flights, be sure to give yourself enough time between flights if you're making a connection at someplace like, say, O'Hare! My return flight home from Detroit connected in Chicago and I had only 30 minutes between the flights. I got a bit panicked when I realized that there was a good chance that I would not make the connection and it was the last flight out of Chicago to Rochester. For my own mental health, I got an earlier flight.

This weekend on my United flight to Albany, NY via Chicago, I was thrilled to learn that United Airlines serves Coke products. When I asked for ice for my Diet Coke, I was informed, "we won't have any ice until we get to Chicago."  Really?  We just left Minneapolis with sub-zero temps and you couldn't get any ice there? 

I have one more flight this month to Cleveland. Hopefully, I won't have to worry about the lack of ice because I'm pretty sure it will be tough to get the ice through security.