Thursday, January 30, 2014

Time for Transitions: Open Letters for my former colleagues

Breaking Important Big Darn News.

Tomorrow is my last day at the Big J aka The Juilliard School.


This is long in the offing. Again, I'm not done processing it yet, and as I've been saying all week, this is NOT goodbye--because I will see many of these colleagues and friends later. Also, the many, many reasons that have brought to me to this point have to be processed and may be shared, sometime, long after there's a nice separation built up.

It wasn't an easy decision, and then it was--and then it wasn't--and then it was. As most life-changing things often are.

The following is a slightly edited version of a letter I sent to my colleagues last week.

Dear All:

You may have seen the e-mail sent out last week by my VP, announcing some staff changes in Development, including my departure as of Friday, January 31st. I wanted to follow-up with my own personal note.

February 2014 would mark the end of my seventh year at Juilliard. While seven has always been my lucky number, I decided to try my luck at another venture this coming year.

I have been so fortunate to have been at the School through some  interesting transitions. From rocking through the renovation and expansion (sometimes literally, while sitting at my desk), or wearing hard hats while in heels, to digging in and doubling up on duties through the economic downturn, it has been my honor to serve in three positions and work with three VPs, as well as a host of hardworking colleagues, eager interns, and talented work-studies. It has also been thrilling to attend a host of spectacular performances across all the boards of dance, drama, vocal arts, and classical music. It has truly been a remarkably rich and rewarding experience. I will treasure the collegiality and friendships that I've found at the "Big J."

I continue to wish all of my colleagues in Development & Public Affairs the very best as they endeavor to raise funds to continue the important mission of the School. I also wish them and I.T. a continued successful roll-out of the new ticketing system and ongoing efforts to integrate the various database systems.

There is no place like New York, New York, (it's a helluva town), but boy... will I be glad not to be commuting in here every day – especially after being stuck at Grand Central Terminal for three long, crowded hours last night. (That was NOT FUN!)*

I'll be traveling for a bit in February, but also starting a renewed reverse commute to some familiar gardens and grounds -- at Caramoor,** "upstate," in Westchester County, where I will be rejoining their development team in a director capacity.

I hope to see many of you in the "country" this summer for some wonderfully diverse musical and artistic offerings. Please feel free stay in touch via my personal email.

Thank you all, for everything. I cannot say THANK YOU enough.


P.S. I know it is the tradition to have a farewell party when someone departs, but I have expressed my personal preference not to have one. I will make my rounds for more personal good-byes all of next week.
There were a variety of reactions to this announcement and email (which saw many drafts and much thought). I wish I had compiled them. (I may yet, as they are somewhere in the work email archive.)
I almost got out the door this week without a hoo-rah, as I call them. But no. Even with a cancelled train this morning, and then a late train on top of it, there was a lovely little departmental (plus guests) cupcakes/bagels gathering. Thank goodness I realized I would have to give a speech. I got up around up at 2 a.m. to write down some thoughts. (Introverts need time to prepare and rehearse and "gird their loins.") In true introvert fashion, I also had to be dragged back to my own party. (But I was really dealing with email archiving with I.T., and it gave me an excuse to step out and regroup. I AM NOT CRYING ABOUT THIS. THIS IS A GOOD THING!)
As rocky as the last bit has been, and as varied as some of the interpersonal relationships have been, I do think this seven year period was mostly beneficial for me, just from the exposure, experiences, and connections forged.
THANK YOU, even in emails and blog posts, can't really say it enough.
Even though, as you'll see, I tried
Dear ALL:
Thanks again, everyone, for the lovely send-off carbily-fantastic breakfast gathering. The Baked by Melissa cupcakes are a nice homage to the many Melissas formerly on staff, as well as the many delectable treats that were made, shared, and ingested in my time here. The bagels were a perfect NYC treat that I will miss in the “country.” (There are nothing quite like the bagels in the City!) On Monday, my stomach will start growling at the appointed hour for Tori’s Treats. Who’s going to send me a care package?

I can’t wait to read all your messages of support and set up my Juilliard swag at my new rustic desk. Every day it will remind me of the best of the Big J moments. I can’t wait to have time on the train to crochet up the yarn that I will get at Knitty City. I just have to remember to put my Big J lunch bag in my Big J yarn bag and not leave it on the train.

Like I said, it was the connections forged here that really made hard for me to decide to take this step --  connections that I know won’t be broken even if I am up in the "country" and you're all down here. I’m not kidding about those Summer  Fridays off. I do I expect to see at least some of you opera music lovers at Caramoor's summer festival and I WILL be sending you brochures.

This isn’t goodbye, but THANK YOU. I will see, talk, text, and email you all soon.

Thanks gang....

And that means you too, readers and family. You've been part of this long long long processing process.

* That's a whole other blog post. 
** Yup. Does all the foreshadowing make sense now?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Happy 9th Birthday DREW!

 Hey Drew!

Can I interrupt you for a minute?
 Seriously. Can you look up from your present for a minute?
 Oh, excuse me. Do you have your mouth full now?
I can wait.

Oh, now it's time for breakfast?
You are nine today. Why was Grandmary cutting up your waffles?


I want to wish you a
 Just sit there in the crazy moving movie lounge chair and enjoy it.

I JUST wanted to say what fun it was exploring the stuffed animal Wildlife Museum with you.

I could "bear"ly stand how cute you were!
 Thanks for playing around with me that whole day - 
from the museum, lunch, birthday book shopping, and then Frozen
 You are two-thumbs-up cool!

 You are growing up too fast on me. 
I mean look at this.
I can only hope that your little sister grows up to adore you and understand your protectiveness
 and that your little brother can appreciate how much you love him, 
waited for him, and want to play with him.
I know you don't see all your Idaho cousins a lot in person, but I know they like to visit via the computer.
Soon you'll be able to talk to them without all us grownups hogging the screens.
 (I mean, I know I love it when you call me on the phone.
Stop it, mister!)
I know it's hard to have the littles around sometimes.

But know this; We all love you - for being YOU. 
Even if we are making silly faces with you first. 
You can always, always, ALWAYS, be assured of a big bear hug and a snuggle.
 No matter what. No matter if you are now 9 ... or even if you are 18, 27, or even 90!

Happy Birthday, my Drewbie, Drewbug, Mr. Drew The Dude!

Much love,
Auntie Nettie

Taken via iTouch and Nikon camera
winter visit, December 2013

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quote of the Day: Magic and Madness

Regular posting will resume, eventually.
I had written something up late week, but the internet ate my blog post.

It was great too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Photo of the Day: 50 Shades of Grey

On the way to the train, Westchester County, NY
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Was it 8:30 in the morning or a full moon-illuminated 8:30 at night? 

It was so foggy that the brightly shining disc couldn't compete.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday Nathan!

Hey, Nathan Buddy?
Yes, you ... you little raptor Carrot Top Silly Face!

Thanks for being my story-time snuggle bunny.
I really enjoyed it when I saw you earlier this month.
I'm so glad that you seem to like books as much as your toys, 
and that you are equally at home with Disney fairy tales as with Star Wars.
I'm also glad Mama takes you to the library 
and shows you that it's important to return the books on time in the book drop.

I must say, though, you play a ruthless game of FISH. 
Even Papa was having a hard time reeling you in.
Thanks for my drawing. I will save it and put it on my fridge with pride.
Thanks so much for letting me play with you and pet the puppies and
play hide and seek, and hide and shriek, and run around with you.

Hang in there, my funny little guy.
One of these days, when you declare:
Your sisters may listen. Just give them time.
Give big sis some time too.
She'll grow up and out of it, eventually.

In the meantime, 
Have a VERY Happy Fourth Birthday!
Have a treat!
 Have a ball!
I love you ... to infinity and beyond. 
To the moon and back. 
To the far corners of the earth.
To whereever your pirate ship and imagination may take you.

Much love,
Auntie Nettie

Monday, January 13, 2014

Altering course

By the time you will have read this, I will have given myself an early birthday present.
Like a month early – but …

Today, I quit my job.

Or, more precisely,

I gave my intent to quit my job …

In three weeks.

At the end of the month.

January 31, 2014

Last day.


Lots of factors have gone into this decision, as well as a lot of months of pondering. Some of which you might have seen in this forum. One of these days I’ll write down the whole story, but I’m not through the thick of it yet – and not enough time has gone by to gain some perspective.

It also may be because I have spent the last week working 10-15 hours days.  I even, briefly, considered sleeping overnight(s) at my office. But no. I didn't. I should have, but didn't. I feel a sense of responsibility on a project, so am staying through one benchmark on it.

Or I plan to. Telling the bosses at around 9:30 this morning may result in them being SO annoyed with me ... But I doubt that too. I'll let you know. 
They were fine with it. Shocked, but fine. Grateful for the rest of the month.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Photo of the Day: Time Clock


This is the actual time in the p.m. when I was standing on the subway platform Wednesday night after:

Working since 9:30 a.m.;
Standing in the cold for 10 minutes waiting for the 1 train; and
Representative of me frantically checking my watch to see if:
I will make the 11:13 train home, and 
If it is Monday yet?

Updates: made the 11:13, walked into Attic at 11:53. I think. So tired. This whole work thing is old already.

And this scene was repeated on Thursday, Friday, and then an hour later on Saturday. LONG WEEK.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Photo of the Day: Polar Vortex

Cache Valley, Utah, December 29, 2013

Who would have thought that visiting northern Utah last week would have been good training for the artic weather socking the country? I'm so glad I picked up thermal undies and have a double layer ski jacket.

It was 5 degrees this morning. Wind chill negative something. Not exactly the 40-50 degrees it was yesterday. Mother Nature is a fickle lady.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Attic, Sweet Attic

Home, sweet home.

More soon.

Just grateful to be in the Attic, mail sorted, breakfast "'et," and now about to shower and nap.

Feeling grimy after a red-eye.
Feeling lucky to be home.

About 90 minutes after I landed, JFK closed again due to icing - and oh, jets sliding off the runways.

SO GRATEFUL to be home.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Winter Travel Woes is Me

Today, Friday, Jan. 3, in pictures:

For context: Winter Storm Hercules socked New York/New England Thursday into Friday causing school/work closings (including the Big J), and more importantly for me, travel woes.

The day started well, with lots of last minutes stories, pictures, snuggles, and kisses from these three in Idaho.
Since I was getting an all clear from the airlines, all travel seemed to be a go, so there was a lovely drive through the rolling wheat fields of Idaho. (Note, no snow.)
I got out of Idaho, to Salt Lake, no problem. (See Salt Lake Valley out of the plane snowy and grey.) My afternoon flight from SLC to JFK was only delayed an hour when I got off the plane and looked at the board and checked voice messages.
By the time I got to my new gate area, the delay jumped three hours to after 8pm.
Time passed slowly, as it does, and that flight got cancelled. I got on standby for a 11:55pm, which was delayed to 12:45am--and also confirmed for a Sunday redeye arriving Monday at 6:30 am, just in case.

So I decided to stick around and see if I could a) make it on the flight and b) get out of Salt Lake. Turns out, being early and nice and polite and working social 
media and in person facetime counts, as I wadn't on standby, but put in an actual premium seat. NICE. OR was it? (Insertforeboding  music here.)

Around 9 pm THAT flight was cancelled too. More talking to agents and being polite, and I think I got booked on a redeye out Saturday night into Sunday morning.* I am pretty sure anyway. I trustnothing  now.

Then it was off to find my suitcase so I could then find a hotel for the night. Surprisingly, though I was warned it could take 2 hours to find my bag, especially with amount of other people in same boat, I got it within 10 minutes of talking to the agent (helps NOT having a big black bag), and then it was off to try and get a room at some inn somewhere.
About this time, about 12 hours after we left the house in Idaho, I got a bit tired. I had eatten 2 meals, getting a discount the second time because the cashier recognized me from my lunch trip (a sign you have been there too long); drunk copious amounts of non caffienated fluids (I know!); worked on an afghan; gone with the flow and remainded calm.

BUT I zoned out when the airport hotel agent told me where to grab the courtesy shuttle. I stood on the curb for about 30 minutes before I called them again. About 30 minutes later, (now I was getting fuzzy), I finally booked a room for 2 nights at an inn. With a redeye flight on the books, I am NOT CHECKING OUT AT 11am to go back to the airport until I have to. At this point? I don't care about the costs.

So now I have emailed the family, taken a LONG HOT shower, written this post about my day, and it is past 1am
MST and I am ready to revel in my kingsize bed and prepare to see what tomorrow's travels bring.

Thanks to J and Christina; Dad; Leta, Bill, Josephina, and RW at Delta; cashiers, Delta lady at baggage; lady on Holiday Inn Express phone; lady at shuttle window; shuttle driver, David at the Inn; and all the passengers affected by snow who weren't cranky. Remain calm and carry on. 

Continue praying please, but can we add "get on a plane that leaves Salt Lake, arrives in New York, and then gets unloaded at the gate, all on time" to "we pray that Auntie Nettie travels safely." The latter is appreciated because I have.

I am grateful and aware that today could have been more difficult. 

So grateful.
So aware.

So ready to go home to my Attic.


* I have to be in the office on Monday am. A new boss is starting, I have deadlines, and I have work and emails from mid-Decrmber on to catch up on. Losing Saturday and now Sunday to prep really hurts.