I need your help!

30 06 2008

I’m conducting a little experiment and would love your input .. anonymously or with your name. As IBM doesn’t make laptops anymore, a few people ask me, “So, what does IBM do?” … Yet IBM is still one of the world’s best known brands. That said, what do you think of when you hear “IBM”?

Would be grateful to all who read this post to add their $0.02 to the following 3 questions:

1. When you hear “IBM” what three words immediately come to mind? Why?

2. What business is IBM in? What does IBM do?

3. Would you be surprised to learn that IBM is helping the local police departments find better ways to fight crime? Or that IBM is helping to develop a new rice grain so we can better feed the world? Do these stories change the way you think about IBM? Why?

Smiley .. it’s just who I am

30 06 2008

When I was living in Singapore, I earned the nickname “Smiley.” Yeah, so much for the austere, mature business persona I was trying to convey.

Well, I am just learning that I was born to be smiley. Thanks to Melissa who forwarded me The Birthday Calculator … which fostered this result:

  • Lucky number: 9 (ok I guess)
  • Birth sign: Leo (true)
  • Fortune: “Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before.”
  • Plant: Raspberry (weird, that’s my favorite berry … and I didn’t know you could have a plant as part of your horoscope)
  • Native American Horosope sign: Salmon (hey, I love Salmon!)
  • My birth tree is a Poplar — and it has qualities that sound strangely like I feel at times.
  • When I was born, the moon was in this phase: waxing gibbous (no idea what that means, but it sounds cool… yep, I think that will be my facebook status message today)

Seriously: Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before.

I love it.

Had to share :-)

Shout out to the moms

22 06 2008

aka: Iowa footware.

Wow … sometimes the moms really pull through on those forwards. This latest from my mother-in-law, and being from Iowa, I think it takes a special sense of humor to send this along, so props for that.

Warning: to all you entrepreneurs out there, funny … but viable? Well, perhaps it actually may float someone’s boat. (ouch)

flood heels

Hail mid-summer? Oh yes

22 06 2008

Friends of ours live in Kingston, NY. Yep, you’re right to ask, “um, where?” Well, the short answer is it’s near Woodstock.  The real answer is that it is way the heck on up there. So far up there that a recent Nor’easter which we experienced in New York was felt as a major hail-near-tornado up there. “How bad was it?” you ask. How very astute and polite of you. Here’s a clip from my favorite Kingston blogger:

As we watched the storm rage and parking lot flood – the hail continued for another five minutes. Billy Ray Jim Bob went into the store to lock down the gun shop. Yes – the GUN SHOP. This was where I chose to stop.

Combination gun shop, tackle and bait, fresh poultry and game – freshly killed, as advertised – with shelves full of Italian risottos and delicacies, truffle and olive oils, fresh pasta and soy milk. It was the summing up of Dutchess County in one roadside store.

Rednecks, weekend yupsters and Westchester wannabes – driving their Range Rovers and Mercedes SUVs to deliver their children to the nearest private school so they won’t have to muck in with the locals. And oh – wouldn’t it be lovely if we could pick up some quail eggs, prosciutto and live ammunition on the way to have our Valium refilled at the Rite Aid?

Appetite whet for more (and it should be), read on dear reader. If you dare, read on.

Something I heard .. something I saw

22 06 2008

2 final observances on Paris for today:

1. Heard on the street (well, really on our boat tour of Paris):

  • Be mysterious, be in love. You will be happy. — (they attributed it to) Gauguin

2. Saw on the streets (of Paris)

  • Homeless beggars
  • Homeless beggars living in camping tents
    (wonderment: if you live in a tent, are you still homeless?)
  • Homeless beggars living in camping tents drinking bottle of Evian
    (wanted to take the photo but didn’t have the right bone in my body).

Just a soda please … no gold necessary

22 06 2008

I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m in Paris, spending mucho Euro, and reeling at the prices, swimming in amazing cafe (coffee) and loving the pastries.

So when our 2nd wave of the team arrived today and was looking for coffee, I offered to show them to the cafe for a cup of joe. Only, already having had 2 cups of coffee, I thought it wise to decline a 3rd. Being a bit cost conscious about the alternatives, I just ordered a Schweps.

In Europe, they commonly drink a flavor of Schweps called Bitter Lemon. They don’t sell it in America, but I developed a strong love of it in Amsterdam.

And out it came — 3 double espressos for my friends, and a lovely cold glass of bitter lemon seltzer water for me. With a small lemon wedge and a bendy straw. Perfect.

Until I got the bill. That little sip of sunshine cost me a whopping €5.10 … hi kids, that’s about $10 … for a soda!!!

Needless to say, at those prices I’ll be sticking to wine and beer from here on out. Heck, it’s cheaper than water!! That, or I’ll tell them to hold the gold. I figure they must be putting something crazy in there!

Bon jour and guttentag

22 06 2008

That’s right … a Reyes in Paris … look out!

So, I’ve been bad at posting lately, but things have been busy y’all! Shortly after our return from Hawai’i (not complaining) I was enrolled in a “mini MBA” class through IBM. This 3-day class was taught by a Columbia (the NY university, not the country) professor to a group of communications professionals. While I wouldn’t dare say we successfully crammed an MBA into a 3-day class, I would say it was a fantastic refresher to my undergraduate degree (and also unfortunately a reminder of how much of my B.B.A. I’m no longer using / remembering … but I digress).

The week prior, Bevin, my manager, asked me what I was doing the following weekend. Having no fixed plans she asked if I would present in her stead at an upcoming 2-day workshop … in Germany (Stuttgart to be precise). And to learn *what* I am to present in her absence, I should shadow her at the previous 2-day workshop … in Paris.

Phew … I had to think about that one… for about 2 seconds! So now I find myself in Paris, no real clue about what I’ll be presenting to this group of Europeans on Thursday, but surrounded by amazing things in the process. What an experience… loving it!!

So, now that you know where I am in the world, let me start with some observances:

1. I have been meaning to blog about “Oh THAT’s where that word / phrase comes from!!” … I have a LOT of these moments (admittedly many more than I should), so let’s start there.

THAT’s where that phrase comes from!

1. (Realized aboard Air France, enroute from NYC to Paris) … the flight attendants had their hair in twists and buns… FRENCH twists and FRENCH buns. Oui.

2. My hotel room has beautiful doors in them … FRENCH doors (who know THAT architectural detail started in France?!)

3. It’s hot here. Really hot. And sweaty. What does one do when you don’t have time for a rinse off before dinner? Why … you squirt a little perfume. A french shower anyone? :-)

… ok, that last one was a stretch, probably more of those to come.

Observance #2 … the cost of the Euro

One word “Dang.”  A sign hanging in our hotel reports … USD$0.53  Yep — that means that for every dollar, I get 0.50Euro … or in other words, 100 Euro costs me almost $200 … or in other words, prices are CRAZY EXPENSIVE… like a 1 for 2 sale (buy 1, pay for 2 … what’s the fun in that!?) … so don’t expect souveniers!

… Enough of that, what have we done so far?

Day 1, Saturday: we flew out Friday afternoon and arrived Saturday morning so we could finish planning the sessions and catch up on sleep to orient before the session.  Saturday was a shower + nap, a little walking tour of Paris, and a return for a local’s tour and dinner with Bevin’s friends — 1 Parisian and 1 NYer who lives in Paris half the year. We toured an area of Paris that reminded us of The Village in NYC. It was also the 1 day out of the year when all of Paris has a music festival. Major parks are set up with free concerts, busquing is allowed anywhere and is done everywhere, and smaller groups play on squares and plazas in front of churches and parks. The city was a-buzz with locals, coaxed out to mix with the tourists on this special night of night. For us, this meant a city alive, and also meant we better have a dinner reservation .. which we did! Thanks Bevin’s friends (Allan and Rudolpho)!!

Day 2: The rest of the attache arrived. We started with breakfast au sidewalk and then sauntered over to the Siene for a tour down the river. Sights included the Eiffel tower, the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the musée Orsay, and a bunch of other beautiful sights and sounds and smells. Day 2 hasn’t ended yet. This afternoon, we plan and dine before tomorrow’s day 1 of the workshop.

Wish us well! Photos coming soon (once I get back home and can upload them).


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