Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Courtyard Marriott Considerations

Having just eaten the most gargantuan burrito I have ever seen (and eaten all of it!), I am settling in for the night at the Hilsboro, Oregon Courtyard Marriott motel. The room is nothing to write home about (or even comment on here for that matter...), but the space does offer just the right lack of compelling distractions (Shannon, Java, good TV dramas, dinner with friends) to get some reflections onto the blog. I took out Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, again and was reading it on the plane. She reminded me that writing is a practice, and as such, must be considered daily in order to improve. She also reminded me that less is more and that I need not seek perfection but must "write to be sane." I found this intriguing and beg your forgiveness as I, thus, write here in pursuit of my own sanity...

Shannon and I spent the weekend in Seattle prior to my departure to Oregon for work. We had the pleasure of time with friends and time once again in the big city. We re-discovered some treasured spots like the Panama Hotel in the International District, where we played backgammon and dominoes with Lara and Melissa, as well as Beechers cheese shop in Pike Place Market where they stir curds of cheese in huge, smelly vats. The arboretum was in full bloom and we chanced upon the Japanese Garden on "free to visitors" day, so after 7 years of running past the bamboo gates, I finally got to see the interior. There are huge coi (coy?) fish, swimming like ancient submarine ghosts and many playful looking turtles who stretch their necks long as if to reach the sun itself. The flowers are abundant now all over the arboretum -- azalea way is filled with coppers, pinks, purples and gold. It is amazing! Sandpoint is nearly a month behind in the bloom cycle, yet with hope, we too will have such color in our landscape.

Here in Hilsboro, I am doing an observation-analysis of the new Management Training program I wrote for Coldwater Creek. I am spending time in one of the Training Stores and will also visit another local store and one of our new spas. My mission at the spa will be "walk-in pregnant lady who wants back to back treatments" and see how they accommodate me. I find the role of secret shopper enjoyable as it is somehow theaterical in concept as I am supposed to be me, but not really be me...I am still debating what "attitude" my personae will take on --whether to be the hormonal "of course you are going to give me what I want" customer, or simply play it cool and see what I am offered. The goal is to measure the service standards being delivered...stay tuned.

On a completely separate note...I was listening to the BBC report on the immigrant rights marches and this brilliant chap was asking another reporter how many immigrants she saw "in LA" and when she gave him a specific number he chuckled, and then replied, "Oh, I thought there were many more people than that living in LA..." implying of course that everyone in the US was/is/has been an immigrant at some point in time...driving home the ridiculousness of "illegal" status and many of the attitudes floating around the Bush regime these days...I feel pretty far outside the loop of the effect the rallies are having on current legislation -- but is was heartening to see the many faces in Seattle walking downtown to join in protest on Monday.

Ah, that's all for now...off the call the love of my life!

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