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Let me just start with a HUGE thank you to Paige for letting me borrow her map of San Francisco. Without it I would most likely have ended up in a land far away (-:
It was quite a day yesterday. My 9am appointment canceled on me (meaning I have to somehow fit her in the coming week)so I went in to the office. Left oakland with plenty of time to get to my 11:30 appointment over by the Embarcadero. So far no problems. Then there's parking...25 cents for 6 min..are you kidding me??! I was there so early that I sat in my car for 30 min, looking out for the crazy meter maid. I paid my $2 and went to the building. Note to self...really need to get that confirmation! I go in to this amazing office. The receptionist is calling and paging this woman but can't find her. Another woman comes downstairs and lets me know that my contact "is no longer with the organization"-ah! FIRED! I try and pitch the walk in a half-assed way, but she doesn't take. Great. I have 30 min left in the meter. I walk around sf, but there were no shops to go in to. However, there were about 50 starbucks. I tried the new pumpkin spice latte- yum! Anyway, I started to try and find my way to my next appointment. I hate when Yahoo gives you the wrong exit name (yeah there is no exit called 8th ave/street). I ended up doing two loops, twice getting on the bay bridge (thankfully I got off BOTH times at Treasure Island). After driving around for an hour, I found the lady's office. She barely said two words to me. Grabbed the bag and went to a meeting-awesome )-:
I had about 2 hours to kill before my next appointment to i took Paige's advice and went shopping. I wanted to park in that lot that we used for the breakfast, but I kept missing the entrance! I must have gone around the block 3x before I made it in (can you tell I'm horrible with directions???). Ended up only walking around for about an hour. Went to my last appointment where I thought I was going to meet this enthusiastic and fun woman, only she was anything but. She seems like she's going to flake out at the last minute. I'm going to have to baby her.
Anyway, that was my day. Got home around 6:15 thanks to SF traffic. I miss you all! I am soo happy that it's Saturday

second order of business tonight

Ok, so this morning I drove 60+ miles in crazy traffic only to discover that someone ELSE (not on the msabc team) had already done my strides visit for me. I won't mention this person's name, but hello? Could you possibly be any more rude as to do a strides visit that isn't assigned to you and not tell the person that you did it, or put in any notes, or check it as complete? You had 2 weeks, my friend. Two weeks!

They had two weeks to let me know, but nobody ever told me anything. Sadly, I'm not really surprised this happened at all, but hey, at least it got done right? Right. =(

My contact was like 'Hmmm. I was expecting you and had marked you in my calendar, and then this person came and said they were going to do it for you. I asked where you were since you said you would be coming by?...'. And to make matters worse, the lady felt really, really bad.

Good one, buddy! So, feeling like an idiot, I apologized and drove away in a cloud of bitterness.

Eh, the rest of the day was pretty good though. I went back for take #2 with this one lady who stood me up the first time. Second chances are worth giving I guess because she actually showed up this time =)
While Paige and I were thinking of our experience at the Taste of Morgan Hill festival as two truths and a lie, I was thinking a little true or false quiz never hurt anyone either.

Please post your answers in the "comments" section. Here we go!

True or False?

1. Paige and I worked really hard at the Taste of Morgan Hill. We decided to be kinda selective and only talk to people that were actually interested.

2. Paige and I stayed sober the entire time and never really got the "Taste" of Morgan Hill.

3. Paige taped a chain of posters to her clothing to call attention to the walk.

4. Paige invented a crafty chant about making strides that everyone else must hear and learn.

5. We trained our volunteers very well. They did not advertise the walk by saying "hi, would you like to apply for breast cancer?" to every person walking by.

6. Paige and I had a blind volunteer working at the booth besides us. He advised us to trip all of the people walking by, and when reaching our hand out to grab them, to have a registration form for them to grab.

7. The event coordinator was actually on the sane side.

8. Two people asked Paige strange medical questions about bc, to which she told them to go to hell. Or rather, to see their regular doctor.

America's Next Top RM

Today I got home from a rather mediocre day in the Walnut Creek area, and had to go to the planning committee meeting for an event that I am working this weekend. I had no time to prepare a really good presentation about the walk, and I show up to see the room packed with like 60 people, most of which are high school students (not kids).

So basically the event director wanted each organization to talk about what they do, and I had to pretty much invent my presentation right there and then, which was not so fun, but basically my own fault.

Anyway, I've noticed there are some interesting young adults in my town. My favorite was the girl with the "I hate school" tshirt. It had a crossed out heart and everything =) And who can forget the girl who said they had to make the meeting 30 minutes longer so she could get her full civic points.

Ah, Civics class and high school memories. I should also add that my high school chemistry teacher is on this committee, and this only is interesting because he is basically a more humorous version of the clear eyes guy. Clear eyes...

But the best part came at the very end, when a girl ran up to me and said "I talked to you! I called the American Cancer Society and spoke with you about the summer camp for kids!! =)". She was super excited, but I had to tell her the truth because the truth is what ACS stands for ;)

She decided on her own that this is totally her thing, and that she's going to volunteer the entire day when in fact she only has to be there an hr or so. Her enthusiasm was honestly so cute, and because there are many not so cute things involved with this job, I feel the need to document all cases.

So what do you think guys? Have we by chance found America's Next Top RM?

the long walk home

I would like to preface this entry with a simply truth—I love my father. I love our long serious and silly conversations; I love that I got his non-Jewish nose and his odd and often ununderstandable sense of humor and love of violent movies. However, after today, I am not sure I will ever trust him with directions.

A call came in about some doctor who is a team leader, came to the breakfast, but didn’t receive the team leader kit. Let’s start right there first: how can you leave our breakfast without being bombarded by all of our smiling faces shoving bags into everybody’s face. But still, for some reason, people are not inclined to take the bag we just modeled beautifully even though they call one month after the fact saying that they do want those materials and have been waiting for them. Arg!

Any way, back to my story….This doctor’s office calls and asks for the bag. I, being always understanding and optimistic on the phone but deeply cynical in nature (another trait I think I receive from my father and love him for), tell this individual that it is no problem and that I would be happy to put a kit in the mail for her or drop it by. They want a Strides Visit. That day. 30th between Telegraph and Summit. My car, in Walnut Creek. OK, still not a problem. I can walk the 13+ blocks this afternoon just fine; a great time to get out of the office and see someone who is truly interested in meeting me and talking about the walk and the team leader kits.

13+ blocks is a far way to go. And downtown Oakland is not the most pleasant of areas to travel through. But, I put on my big city saave attitude and hold my head high and walk, refusing to let anyone know that while I have spent much time in larger cities and in the poorer side of places, I am from a town where I have woken up many a summer morning to the sounds of cows and while it is still bright afternoon, let’s face it, I could easily still be held up (every gangster is going to want our pretty pink bag…..I am SO politically INcorrect right now….sorry!).

So I walk and I get to 30th and Summit, find the office (thanks to Nancy on the phone trying to read my notes from earlier this day since I forgot to write the suite # down before I left the office…Nancy my hero), and do the Strides Visit with Dee Dee. But then I am at 30th and Summit at 4:00, half way between 19th Street and MacArthur station. I told my dad at our weekly lunch earlier that afternoon that I was walking down to “Pill Hill” and he suggested that I walk a bit further down to MacArthur station to a AAA office so I could pick up a good map of SF for my visits tomorrow – a preventative measure so I don’t get lost during those visits. I thought that sounded like a reasonable suggestion…why not? Why not walk another 10 blocks, under freeways, and through equally shady areas of town, with someone following me (I swear….I am NOT being paranoid, some dude was following me) to get to a AAA office? Sure! So, as U2 would say, I walked on. Oh, and to add to it all, by this point my feet kill because these are the shoes that make walking miserable and cause blisters (I also hate them because they like to disappear magically in my car!). I keep walking, and walking, and walking.

My dad, the greatest, sent me to MacArther Station, saying that AAA would be right there. Well, it wasn’t! Arg!
Moral of this long story, I CAN NOT trust my father to give me directions to the location where I can get better directions.

My feet hurt and I’m bitter! The End.


Hello Lauren and the Ghostly House

Ring Ring. Today got started with an early, early morning call. I was half asleep and answered the cell and the woman on the other end goes "Oh no, did I wake you up? I'm so sorry. I just wanted to tell you that the company closed and everyone has gone their separate ways, so we won't be meeting this morning. I'm still very interested, so could you mail me the materials??"

Me (in my head): Oh God, I'd be saddened by your irresponsibility, but my capacity to care has been exhausted lately. I am too tired to move and too tired to talk, but thanks for at least letting me know this before i drive up there.

Me (on the phone): Of course I can! (cheery) Thanks for letting me know =) And thank you for helping me start the day.

Her: hahahaha. No problem.

Then I went to a neighborhood to look for a house that doesn't exist. I asked a neighbor for help, and basically yeah, the address doesn't exist but our good friend google maps didn't have a problem mapping it. How's that for a brain teaser? And there were two huge dogs running down a driveway at me!

And could I have called her? Nope, I had left my charger at my friends place and my phone died =(

So I was pretty tired even though I had spent the morning doing absolutely nothing lol, and I decided to head over to fremont and see what trouble i could stir up before I met my next appointments.

I went to Peet's Coffee, and asked for a shot of caramel in my coffee, but what I really should have asked for was a shot of vodka due to the massive migraine I was experiencing.

After that I met a very, very nice lady at a center for disabled people, and she told me she knows what its like to run around and deal with people who are iffy, and that she marked me in her calendar and was expecting me. I noticed my directions were incomplete for the next one, and she called them right away and got directions for me and sent me on my way!

And lastly, I went to meet a very sweet lady who said "Hi, are you Lauren? I've been talking to Lauren on the phone lately"- lol. It's okay though because she turned out to be a pretty chill lady, and we talked for quite a while and just spent the entire time joking around and laughing about random stuff.

It turns out she is a bigger drama queen than am I, which I didn't think was possible but hey, she's going to give her friends an ultimadum.

"What I'm going to say is- If you don't do this walk...do you see this pink ribbon? If you don't support me in doing this walk, our friendship is over".

And we will see what tomorrow brings...

at the end of the day...

I have to admit that it's both refreshing and completely draining to meet so many strangers in such a short period of time. If anyone is ever interested in studying the idosyncracies and neuroses of Bay Area residents, I would recommend this job in an instant. =P

These past few weeks I find myself fluctuating between various states: frustration with all those road-ragers who weave in and out of lanes while simultaneously talking on their cell phones, drinking coffee, and putting on makeup; exhaustion due to Bay Area traffic and lack of parking; disbelief at how friendly/disorganized/busy/ridiculous/quirky people are; and hope that these people will actually walk and not dump me at the 11th hour. So after all this driving and smiling and chatting and convincing, sometimes I just have to laugh at the situation and at myself.

A few highlights for ya'll..

After finally tracking down this lady and getting her on the phone long enough to set up a strides visit (while thinking to myself "wow she actually exists!"), I show up and she asks me, "I remember getting a bunch of emails and voicemails in July...were those from you??"

Gloria: Do you guys have the purple shirts??
me: umm..no, you might be thinking about Relay for Life, which is another great ACS event...this (as I fish the t-shirt out of the bag) is the strides t-shirt.
Gloria: Oh, I really like the purple shirts.
me: Well pink is usually associated with breast cancer so it's the color for strides...
Gloria: I really like purple.
me: O_o

"You know what?! I was pregnant at the walk two years ago and I didn't even know it!...I found out a week later." Her son is now 2 years old so she's going to bring him this year =)

"There isn't a registration fee or a minimum fundraising amount required???...So how do you guys make any money??"

"I brought my baby a few years ago and he was just completely pooped out by the end of the day!" So I mention that lots of participants bring their kids and babies in stollers and asked about the age of her child..."Oh, I was talking about my dog." Hhaha...oops.

So that's it for now...more to come later. =)
Who knew Concord was such a colorful, serene little town? Certainly not I. It's like a cross between Davis, Napa, and Richmond, with its flat, bicycle-friendly streets, town square lined with farmer's market stalls, and industrial sprawl. Nectarines purchased at said farmer's market were delish, and no one blinked at my enthusiastic sampling. Found a fantastic sushi place called "Happy Roll," and yessiree, my tummy was mighty happy with the little crispy tofu skins they put in their miso soup and veggie rolls. Go there! You will love it. I had a good time making Strides visits there today. I am trying to hold onto that memory of a good time.

The ladies I visited were pleasant to chat with, and they all expressed real appreciation that I had trekked out there in the 100-degree, heavy air to talk about Strides and breast cancer with them. Several of them were either survivors or had friends who were, and I let them know how much their participation was honored. I feel as though this was real "relationship building," and not in the xeroxed, corporate sense that gets stamped on things and conversations--and people--in the office.

So I was awfully annoyed by the e-mail that went out about Strides visit progress. So and so finished all their (5? 10?) visits. Nancy's in the lead. Secretariat's coming up close, in the outside lane. Always Comes In 18th is finishing in 18th. It was numbers, numbers, numbers. I know that the people I met today in Concord received me as a fellow human being, as I received them, and I know that neither computers nor greyhounds nor horses chat and laugh about the heat or about delicious nectarines. So why are we being characterized as computers or as greyhounds (or some weird mechanical hybrid) back in the office? Nancy's wonderful for how kind and dedicated she is--we all agree on that without question. She is a person who lights up our stretched-out cubicle with her laughter, with her amazing personality. But neither she nor any of us asked to be announced and observed like racers. Perhaps there's a betting pool on us...

I didn't stomp all around Concord today, with no air-conditioning in my car, making friends with strangers (as wonderful as they are) only to be watched and assessed like a dog on the racetrack. Quantity or quality? Either this is about numbers, or it's not. If it is, I can save my car's odometer a helluva lot of numbers and just mail out all my team leader kits. But wait--then I'd be costing ACS a lot of numbers, wouldn't I?
Ok, so today I went all around SF and had a blast for the most part. It was pretty freaking hot, which wasn't so pleasant, but other than that things were pretty interesting.

I went to the Maritime Plaza by the Ferry building and the building had televisions built into their elevators=) They also had a cool grassy area to chill, and not to mention the best view from an office I've ever seen in my life.

But anyway, I get to the office and the lady comes behind me and says "look at HER with her bag and all those nice gifts for me" so I turn around and I don't know if she's joking or not.

She calls the receptionist from the waiting area where we're talking and has her check her calendar. It turns out she's going to be out of town for the walk.

And then...it gets interesting. We start talking about random stuff even though I know she can't make the walk, but since I'm there, we might as well chat right? Right... I'll highlight some of the most interesting things she said:

"So you really work for the American Cancer Society? You are actually on their payroll?"

"You know...I give $$$ to those kids in Africa. They are starving. I give them money and they are STILL STARVING! So *where* is all that money going?"
(insert her long laugh here)

"I don't know...If we got those medications from countries like India and Mexico...maybe we wouldn't have breast cancer...hahahaha, and then you wouldn't have a job...hahaha...but HERE people prefer drugs like vicadon and viagra...that's what makes the money..."

"and let's not EVEN talk about KQED...that big bird..."

"I'll be right back. I'm going to write you a check for $100. Just wait here ok?"

Returns with check and "It was lovely meeting you =). Don't lose my check ok?"

I get home, check my email and she wrote me saying:

"i am so sorry our date didn't work out today"

We went on a date?

Good lord...glad the day is over =)

good news for the people who read bad news

So on Friday I was supposed to be in Santa Clara at 9am. My contact had given me the correct directions, which I had unfortunately left at the office. =(

This leads me to my conclusion about Google Maps- Google Maps should just be called the "how to get lost BADLY and screw up the ONLY appointment you have where the constituent agreed to meet with you only to learn more about the event and THEN decide what they want to do after that" Maps.

So when I got there, the girl turned out to be our age and really, really nice. She took me to their cafeteria, which looked more like a nice restaurant and we sat down at a table to talk over coffee. I didn't really know what to expect, so I tried to let her do most of the talking to figure out what they were going to do, and it turns out she is going to do the walk =)

I'm really happy about it because it was like my one gamble strides visit that I really wanted to pull off. She showed me a thank you letter from Avon, and it basically said 'thank you for raising $10,000', which made me so happy I decided to go there without any idea of what was to happen.

So the company is super nice and fancy, and it was a joy to just be in there period. And when I was leaving, I saw the most beautiful stranger who also happened to smile at me. I really, really hope he joins the girl's team, so I can hook up with him after the walk- JK.

So all in all, it was a good day. Or as Paris would say, "That's hot".