Sunday, February 29, 2004


Just back from London and I didn't realise when I left to go there that I was going to get a chance to practice my Spanish (studied it for 4 years and then never used it)...or my French....which is an even sadder state of affairs (something like 6 years of studying and can't remember a word!). Actually found out that I can understand quite a lot...when they don't speak too quickly....nice. Why? Oh well, this was a work thing...collection of people that do my job from the Banks around the world so we had 2 Mexicans (more about one of them later ;-) ), 1 Colombian who now lives in Brazil (by way of Canada and France...also very sexy but married....boooo...although in our group photo he's got his arms round me so that might raise a few eyebrows), 1 Brazilian, 1 Indian (now in Hong Kong), 1 Canadian (now in the US), 1 Brit (now in the US....MEEEEE!), a few other Brits, someone else from Hong Kong, someone from the Middle East and a Frenchwoman. Quite the International gathering! Had two days of traning by some guy that is an e-sales expert. The training was OK but I was quite impressed at how much I knew and how far ahead of the others I seemed to be when talking marketing things. Nice...although we're not in competition with each other.....

Second half of the week was spent discussing issues that affect us all. Each Bank presented successes/initiatives for the coming year. Interesting to see that, although we're in such a different state of market development, there are a number of areas where we're all struggling. And I picked up a few interesting ideas that I might have to test out here!

Low part of the week....a presentation on how to put a marketing plan together. Yawn. I can do those in my sleep.....not kidding, there are times when my mind is racing so fast that I can lie in bed and by morning I've planned the year!

Went out for Sunday tea with my parents, grandmother, sister and bro-in-law. I was totally shattered and don't think I said anything intelligent. When I'd arrived at Heathrow there was someone to meet me and he took one look at me, grabbed my bags and insisted I take it easy cos he was worried about me. Same thing happened when I got to the training centre. Guess I must have looked like death (didn't sleep on the plane at all which is unusual for me).

One night we decided to escape the training centre so we went down to Chinatown for food. Useful having a Chinese speaker with us....we got the best table in the restaurant!!!! Followed that with a visit to the Sports Bar in Regent Street...nothing's changed there! Highlight of the evening was getting free travel home (the ticket office was shut) and finding a copy of the Sun on the funny watching two Brazilians pouring over the pictures of topless women and talking excitedly in Portuguese. One of them took the paper off the train with him....I can only imagine why......

Weather was crap (to be expected). What I didn't expect was that it would be colder than Buffalo. No kidding! It was really, really cold for London. And it snowed three times...although that means it snowed as I walked to breakfast and had stopped by the time I got there (like 2 mins later!). Poor Latinos were suffering...not used to the cold and not really having the right clothes to cope with it. Had to keep rubbing Mexican's ears to keep them warm...EARS I said!!!!!

So...wanna hear about him? Mmmm.....tall, dark, intense in an incredibly sexy way. Seemed really quiet in the meetings but totally opened up at night. Claims he was shy about his English....which is sort of understandable apart from the fact that it was pretty close to perfect! So weird but we got into the "are you happy?" conversation on the first night. You know the one...talking about life and dreams and what we really want. Can't even remembered what started that...guess we just clicked. He wants to move to the US/Canada to practice English and improve the resume.....yeah, come to Buffalo babe!!!!! LOL. Friday night we got totally drunk and...errr...snuggled up together. That'll do! Actually we were trying to stay up all night....he left about 4 am and I was leaving a few hours later so we were just gonna party all night. Only problem....London closes down and St Albans (where we were staying) is dead by about midnight. So we could only manage to party to 1am....after a few rounds of table football during which Mexico beat Brazil (and Hong Kong and Canada and the US.....damn he's good at that!)...and we got to admire to his hip action....Latinos are such sexy movers...mmmmmm (!!). Drank far too much vodka and wine...and tried to go to a restaurant that turned out to have shut (it was on the Internet so that says something)...I ended up asking two bouncers for a recommendation for food!

I HAVE to go to Mexico and Brazil....been meaning to for the last 4 years but now I have tour guides lined up....just gotta work out how I get work to pay for the trip......

So now I'm back in Buffalo and it all seems like a lifetime ago. Funny how that happens. Next meeting (in person) not for another 6 months. Very sad :-( Slightly nearer is going back to work tomorrow and coping with my boss who, I think, is flying in from Vancouver for the week. Means I gotta get some sleep. Work's not all it's cracked up to be!

Saturday, February 14, 2004

I'm So Excited!!!!!!

I wasn't going to do it but I decided to change my car! Went to the dealer earlier who suggested that it would be cheaper for me to get a new one. So we looked at the figures for a new Subaru RS. Very similar to what I'm paying now but there would be no sunroof (unless I paid to add it) and no alarm (mine came with one, which I didn't pay was the only model they found so I got it "free"). Didn't see the point in changing the car if I was gonna get less then I have now but asked him, for a giggle, to run the figures on a WRX.....and they came out to about $20 more a month. So we took one for a test drive and boy, is it a beautiful drive! 65mph in 3rd gear and I didn't feel a thing. Turbo kicks in at 20mph and, with wide tyres, it hugs the curves like you wouldn't believe. Of course, I totally fell in love with it (even with those 2 extra doors!). The roof is a little higher than my RS so it feels really roomy. The interior is really nice and it's gonna have a 6-CD changer (which I miss in the RS). So they're looking one for me....they have a couple of manual transmissions in stock but, me being me, I asked them to find one with a sunroof.....

One of the salesmen was so excited about me getting it that he gave me a Subaru calendar and told me to check out They run race/training events over at ECC (next one's in April) so I might have to check some of those out. Car has 227 horse power but you can get an extra 7 if you change the air filters (apparently)! Just a shame that all that power is gonna be wasted on the morning commute down the 33......people need to learn to drive!!! And on that note....when will people learn to get in the right lane BEFORE they need to turn off? I was driving down on Thursday with some guy following me. He undertook me and then pulled out into my lane (silly me, leaving a space between myself and the car in front in case I needed to brake!). Then he decided he wanted to be in the left hand lane so over he went. Oh, but there's his turn so back he goes cutting across two lanes and heading for the exit. How he managed to do all that without causing an accident is beyond me. And I'm totally sick of the cars that pull off the 90 and decide that gives them the right to just pull out into the next lane without even slowing down to see if there's anyone there! I used to think driving to work along the 90/290 past the airport was bad enough but this is far worse. There's one section of the road where, for no apparent reason whatsoever, we seem to slow to about 10mph and then, all of sudden, everyone goes back up to 60mph. Why? I have no idea but it's a total waste of energy......ssssss

Anyway, back to happy thoughts about new car.......



Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The Bag Story...and More!

After the flights were booked on Friday I got a copy of my itinerary with the helpful note "call back to confirm" printed at the top. I pointed this out to the HR woman who assured me she would sort it out. So I headed to the airport clutching my bags, passport and "confirmation". Some confusion at the check-in desk as they could see my reservation but couldn't print my boarding pass. Maybe United have the ticket, we'll check for you. Why would they have it (I was flying American)? The reservation's been made on a system that links directly into them and sometimes they print the tickets for us. Oh, OK. Guy went off to check. No, they don't have it. We should call the agent and find out. They get the agent on the phone. The ticket's not been confirmed. He hands the phone to me to speak to the agent. We have a credit card on file but we don't have approval for the trip so we can't ticket you. That's ridiculous, it was meant to be sorted out and I need to get to London. Hold on and I'll speak with my supervisor. So I held on...and on...and on....while the check-in agent called the gate to tell them that I might be on the earlier flight but he couldn't confirm just yet...and I waited a bit more. Eventually the travel agent comes back on the line. We've spoken with someone (my boss's boss) who says it's OK so I suppose we can release the ticket. Give me a few minutes and we'll key it onto the system. After another long wait during which the checkin agent kept refreshing his screen every two minutes they did ticket me and I did get the earlier flight. But not before I'd had visions of returning home (Buffalo, not London) in despair. They were very nice at the airport and I'm so pleased there was noone else waiting cos I must have stood at that desk for an hour waiting. It turns out (I found out today) that HR did do everything they were meant to do and approval was emailed to the travel agent so who knows what happened? She's "demanded" an explanation but, when I spoke to her this morning, none had been forthcoming.

Anyway, rest of the outbound trip was pretty uneventful. My father came and collected me at Terminal 3 (the 3 stands for the three damn miles you have to walk from the gate to least I think it does). Got back to my parent's house, showered and had lunch with my grandmother who was SO pleased to see me.....thrust money in my hand and told me to buy myself something...tried to refuse it....your money doesn't work in my country...but she left it with my mother when she left so I took it! Then I went to sleep...for three hours, during which I nearly rolled out the's my sister's old bed...a single (not used to those).....luckily accident was averted when I woke up in a panic!

Went to a quiz supper with my parents, sister and brother-in-law (just back from training and more sleepy than me), my aunt and uncle and some of my sister's friends. We didn't win!

Spent Monday with a friend of mine...who looked pretty much the same as she did three years ago when I last saw her (she visited me in Manhattan). Went shopping for Twiglets....three stores visited before we found any....although I did manage to buy a load of chocolated (Flake!!!!) and Jaffa Cakes while we were on the hunt. Also took a look at my house....seems OK....the tenant has a lot of plants in the kitchen window, which is a good sign. And there was a cute MX5 parked in the driveway.....another good sign. Caught up on Eastenders. Ate dinner with my parents (all I think I did for two days was eat!) and slept some more.

That was about it for the flying visit. Only thing that's really changed was Watford (now with a load of new chain stores) and my mother's hair (shorter and lighter). Everyone looks pretty much the same and everything seems the same....even most of the shops. I expected more after nearly 4 years.

No problems on the flight fact it was only about a third it when that happens. The bit I was dreading most was probably the least painful part...Immigration...the person with the power to do pretty much whatever he feels like doing. Not sure if it was cos we were the only International arrival so the place was deserted or if he was generally in a good mood but we had a really nice chat about things....the Bank, Williamsville, snow....(fascinating I know but if they want to talk I let them.....anything to keep them happy!). Fingerprinted and photographed me and then stamped my passport for three years and let me in.....YAYYYYYYY!!!!!!

Now, I know my bag was with me at Customs cos I had to collect it. After that, it all went a bit peculiar. We got in early so the security guy said I could probably catch the earlier connection back to Buffalo. Went to the agent who put me on standby for the next I didn't lose my original seat. They tagged my bag for the first flight and then I had to run to the desk to see if I could get on. Yes, there's your ticket. Two seconds later...we need that back...we're weight restricted. Take a seat we'll let you know. The flight boarded and there were 8 of us waiting to see if we'd get on (including one poor guy that had already been bumped from the previous flight...when he'd been sitting on the plane...!). OK we have 4 more seats. No we don't. Oh, yes we do. Luckily there was a couple and only one of them was going to make that flight so I got on. It was one of those flights where the steward asked for volunteers from the front of the plane to move to the back (always instills a total lack of confidence in me when they do but nothing happened). He also asked the guy in front of me to volunteer to take over from him in case anything happened to him (the steward). This is their new policy...don't panic if I drop down dead, just go to the phone at the front of the plane, tell the Pilot and then do whatever he tells you to. Glad he didn't put that responsibility on me!!!!!

I don't know what went wrong on the bag front but when I got back to Buffalo it wasn't there. I did slightly better than the cute guy I'd been sitting next to (I ad a cute guy next to me on the way out as well...he gave me gum!)...his party (of four I think) had 8 bags that didn't turn up...! They told me mine would probably arrive on the next flight (my original one) and that they'd deliver it to me. Not a big deal....until I got home realising all my lovely chocolate was in it. Damn! Called about, it wasn't on that flight...we don't really know where it is. We'll call you tomorrow with an update. That was when I also remembered that my toothbrush was in that bag...along with my deodorant! Too late to go out to buy anything so I went to bed.

At 6.30 this morning I was in Wegmans (thank heavens for 24 hour supermarkets) buying toothbrush and deodorant and a couple of other things I needed! Made it to work 5 minutes late...which was OK cos HR was in 10 minutes late! Got home and there's a message that my bag arrived on a flight today...guess it was out partying last night in Chicago....more than I was! They're meant to be dropping it off tonight...anytime between 9pm and I'll only allow myself to get excited when it finally least I can brush my teeth while I wait.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I'm bag isn't!!!!

I made an earlier connection but it didn't so it's arriving later. Couldn't be bothered to wait for it so they'll deliver it to me. Had some interesting "adventures"....but you'll have to wait til later for those.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Oh how cool!

Got my visa approval notice and they've extended me until Feb 2007. I'm sure they'll catch up with me before then (only meant to have 6 years total and this would exceed it....but I'm not complaining!).

Anyway, off to pack my bags now. Back Tuesday night. Ciao.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

This is gonna be a fun month!!!

My visa is all approved and wonderful so I can go to work....almost. But before that, back off to London for the weekend to see my parents....last time I saw them was summer 2000! Spending a couple of days there (depending on when I get the flights booked....try getting a flight from Buffalo to connect to a transatlantic flight without waiting in an airport for 14 hours...tougher than it sounds) and then heading back. They're going to a quiz evening with my sister and her hubbie Sunday night and they've said they'll take me I can show them how stupid living this side of the Pond has made me!!!!! I really would like to fly via Toronto but I have to enter the US from a country other than Canada or Mexico so I'm pretty sure I can't do that...although I'm gonna check tomorrow cos that would make life easier.

Anyway, after that little trip's all done.....according to HR, I should start on a Monday because I need to be "oriented" first. So that would mean starting on the 16th...apart from the fact that it's Dead Presidents' Day and this is a Bank. So, possibly the 17th...although I'm trying to get my boss-to-be to "nudge" HR to let me start next week sometime....can you believe the HR woman needs approval to let me start on a day other than a Monday???? If it is the 17th then I'd have orientation, work for three days and then hop another flight back to England for the last week of February (some e-marketing boot camp thingy being held in a place not far from where I used to live). And in the middle of all this is my grandmother's birthday (partly why I'm going back as I'll almost be there for fact and that should, hopefully, stop the comments about me going to see her before she dies....)....and Valentine's Day!!!! Just been out to buy a card for a certain person...... ;-)

I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

Thanks to GB: My temperament type is Hedonist.

Hedonists want to be free, not tied down, confined, or obligated, to do as they wish when they wish, to enjoy today, to be impulsive, to have a life of action which repudiates long term goals, objectives, or plans, to be active just to be active, to do what they feel the urge to do, to experience excitement, to be seen by others as being free to act, as free spirits, to be exciting, optimistic, cheerful, light-hearted, and full of fun

That sort of sounds alright apart from it also says "the basic motive of the Hedonist is the desire for popularity"'s not me at all! I'm much more of an Idealist and that's usually how I turn out in these things....maybe I clicked the wrong answer somewhere????

Conscious self
Overall self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


OK, I had nothing to say earlier so I played with the template instead (and screwed up the comments in the process....oooops).....think I'll live with this for a little while and see if I like it........

Nothing to Say

The most interesting thing I can find to say is that I was at the ATM earlier in my little red car with another car behind me...two guys in a little blue version of my car. Bet we looked cute.

That was worth waiting for, wasn't it?!!!