The Island of Misfit Joys


“Misfits” are actually quite awesome!

Hot pink Converse high tops can really say something. But what do platform hot pink Converse high tops say? I’m not sure, but I like them! I wouldn’t have worn them in high school. Not my thing. I was too busy wearing my own version of strange…suspenders, a pink tie, and a press hat…but I like what those high tops represent. Individuality. Bravery. Happiness.

Last night I attended a comedy cabaret put on by my son’s high school. He graduated two years ago, but our family keeps coming back to support what was the best part of my son’s four years—his acting classes. This year’s show was just as unique as each year before. The comedy is always written, performed, and directed by the students. Students who wear pink, platform high-tops. Students who are a little shorter, or a little skinnier, or a little rounder…or a little “different” from the rest of the student body. The acting class at this school is what I’ve always called “the island of misfit toys.” (You know, the island Rudolph goes to because he is a misfit himself—a reindeer with a glowing nose. My favorite was always the water pistol that shoots jelly!)

As I watched the students dance around like crazy people on stage and take big chances with sketches…hoping they would elicit a laugh…I saw something else. These students were so brave…and happy. They’ve found a place where they can shine and be pushed by a teacher who cares about them above anything else—a teacher who makes a huge difference every day. She encourages and tells her students they have value—students who really need to be told. She’s created a program that values everyone, because she models that behavior. And she attracts students who need to hear those words. I’ve watched her talk to students in the hall and only optimism streams from her mouth. She is telling them not what they are today, but what they could be tomorrow. She ignores the flaws and shines a light on their obscure talents…talents she can sniff out like a bloodhound.

As I’ve watched these kids grow up and graduate, I’ve been amazed at the divergent paths they’ve chosen. Many have gone on to college, most attending part time to work their way through at places like Red Rocks Community College, Metropolitan State, or the Colorado Film School. Others have gone off to universities in other countries. And still others are finding their future in a different way.

All of the students who leave the island take their bravery with them…the kind of bravery it takes to walk around the stage like a goat, or sing off key …or dance around wildly (with no professional choreographer helping them make it perfect). Bravery to believe they have value and they are good enough to just try something.

One thing they have in common is they all come back. Each year half of the small audience is made up of alumni. They come back to support their fellow islanders. They come back to thank their teacher for telling them they were worth something.

Their experience translates into real world value more than they know. It is the courage of innovation and creativity. These will be adults who unify their colleagues. These will be people who take chances, start businesses, sell things, or make something new. These are future adults who will look out for others and make people smile. I’m sure of it. Their paths won’t be easy…but they will sparkle as they go.

Sometimes a toy pistol that squirts jelly is exactly what is needed to change the world. Thank you, Mrs. Ehrhardt, for being a teacher who, day in and day out, continues to recognize the value of jelly.


These joyful drama kids are just a shadow of what they are destined to be.  See you next year!


Walk With a Purpose


I like this quote even more now that I understand how to interpret it.

When I was 21, I went to New York City for a Technical Communication conference. As I walked through Central Park at dusk toward my hotel, I became acutely aware of some rather shady characters following me. I realized at that moment my desire to see everything I possibly could in this new fantastic city might have well been tempered with a bit more caution. The words “walk with a purpose” echoed in my brain. I held my head high, eyes forward, and picked up my pace with the strength of a soldier marching into battle. I caught up to a group of strangers heading the same direction and stayed close behind until I reached 72nd Avenue and familiar ground.

That day I learned something. I am not invincible, but I do have power…and drive. And I never wanted to be afraid to try. I was a pretty fearless kid, and now as an adult, I didn’t want that to change. That’s not to say I wouldn’t or shouldn’t apply a bit of caution at times…but not too much. If I wanted to see life….then I needed to go see it. If I wanted to learn something…then I needed to learn it. If I wanted to go somewhere or do something…even if there was some inherent risk…then I needed to do it. Sometimes this philosophy has cost me a heavy price. But what has kept me running full speed down this path is my consistent motivation to move in a positive direction …toward helping and loving others and the world…all the time. It makes the price of the effort always, always worth it.  But just walking with purpose has never been enough for me…I’ve felt compelled to walk it as fast as I possibly can. Hence, the pictured quote above.

Our life on this Earth is pretty short. As I reach my midline in years, this becomes more and more apparent. If I’m honest with myself, this “risk-taking, go full throttle” philosophy of life has made me pretty tired. On the plus side, I can’t look back and say I haven’t walked, often run, without purpose…and for that I’m grateful. But, now, what to do about the bags under my eyes?

Lately, I’ve started to slow down (I’ve named it failure) and it’s been forcing me to rethink my philosophy. Do I really need to push myself this hard? Is that what “walking with a purpose” really means? I keep coming to the same conclusion. Yes. Until there is no more purpose – until I come to a different understanding of the meaning of life—then I’m in for another tiring 50+ years or however long I last at this pace!

That is, until today.

Today, some 27 years since my New York City adventure, I found myself on another business trip–in the opposite direction—Tacoma, Washington. On the airplane, I sat by an older couple (who held hands during the flight) and needed wheelchair assistance at the gate. The wife told me they lived in Portland and needed to make a connecting flight. But, alas, our flight was 30 minutes late and when we landed it didn’t seem promising they would make it. I thought to myself, “I’ll jump up and tell everyone to sit down and to let them out first so they can make their flight. Then, I’ll alert the flight attendants about the wheelchairs.” As the seat belt signal pinged off and the plane parked, everyone stood up and started disemboweling the plane. The flight attendant announced, “Those waiting for wheelchairs can just sit tight. The chairs haven’t arrived at the gate yet.” I looked at her and said, “I’m sorry. I’m not sure if you’ll make your flight.” She shrugged and said, “That’s ok. You can only move as fast as you can move.”


You can only move as fast as you can move.

I’m not 21 anymore. I’m not a lot of things I was anymore. I can only move as fast as I can move. Sometimes that’s pretty fast. But some days….it just isn’t.

So, my picture quote above isn’t exactly wrong. It still means something to me. I’m still going to push myself and walk with a purpose. What’s different now is the “ability” I’m measuring needs to be based on my ability today and today only. Tomorrow I’ll have a new ability level to judge myself by and it might be better than today…or not.

Sometimes walking with a purpose looks like sitting and waiting.

Thank you my profound Portlander!

What I’ve Learned about America from Norwegians


Just a few of the American delicacies purchased by our Norwegian friends.

Grape Crush. Nacho-flavored Slim Jims. Pop-Tarts. Froot Loops. Kool-Aid.

These were the first purchases made by my son’s 20- and 22-year-old friends visiting from Norway this month. They also wanted to try peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, s’mores, and Mexican food, as well as go to Walmart, Chili’s, the Nike outlet, and KFC. These were top on their to-do list…even before skiing, hiking, or any other form of recreation or sightseeing.

What does this say about America?

I could be snarcastic (new favorite word) and say it means we have a reputation for gluttony, sugar, and junk food. But I think that if I did, I just might be missing a different perspective. Sure, there are plenty of issues we need to solve in the United States, but what I’ve learned from both my son’s life in Norway last year and his friends visiting here is that the United States is pretty incredible. Here are some of my observations:

  1. Choices. The reason my son’s Norwegian friends are so enamored with the junk food is because they hear about the foods from American movies and on YouTube. They see the incredible bounty of things they can’t get anywhere else. We do have a lot of choices, but there is a good reason for that. We compete to make things people like and we get really, really good at it. Where else can you buy 387 types of cereal?
  2. Economy. The exchange rate was 6 Krone to the dollar when my son was in Norway last year. Today it is 9 Krone to the dollar. That’s a huge change in a year. Why? Because Norway is a country reliant on oil production, which took a hit this year. They are a country the size of Colorado with an oil resource comparable to Saudi Arabia. This means that Norwegians can subsidize all kinds of things with “oil money”…school, healthcare, etc. But when the oil industry takes a hit, the whole country starts to hurt. All of the things Norwegians have come to rely on, such as “free” healthcare or humongous electric vehicle incentives, suddenly become harder to support. To think that places like Norway are good economic models for the United States might be a mistake. We need to make sure we understand where the money is coming from before deciding if systems  and seemingly awesome policies are right for us. It has worked for Norway because they have a few people with a ton of one primary resource (2 million barrels produced a day for 5 million people in Norway versus 9.3 million barrels a day for 323 million people in the United States). For us to work like Norway, we would have to produce oil at a rate of more than 140 million barrels a day. That is not really realistic. We couldn’t use or sell that much, nor would we want to. What I’ve learned is that we can’t compare ourselves or our policies  to other countries very easily. It is pretty complex.
  3. Kindness. Americans are incredibly generous and kind. When my son’s friend walked into Chipotle this week and told the people behind the counter that he was visiting America for the first time, they joyfully gave him a free burrito and welcomed him to the U.S.A.  Our Norwegian guests have told me that they can’t believe how nice everyone is in America…how people say “hello” …how people want to talk to them…. and how willing people are to offer a helping hand.

So, my American friends, crack open a bottle of Grape Crush. Raise your glasses high. You are amazing people. Cheers to you! America is pretty great.


Learn It, Do It, Teach It …Preach it?


Are you passionate about something? Learn it, do it, teach it, but don’t forget to preach it!

The learn it, do it, teach it method has been around for a long time. It is also known as see one, do one, teach one, especially in the field of medicine. In the Boy Scouts it is how everything is done. For example, you first learn how to tie a half hitch, then you actually tie one, and then you teach someone else to do it. It solidifies the knowledge in your head. If you have to teach someone to do it, then you better actually know how.

Recently, I’ve been challenged. And it has been a huge growth opportunity. What I have discovered is there might just be a fourth level to this learning style. Learn it, Do it, Teach it….and Preach It.

How is preaching it different then teaching, you ask? It is different in amazing ways.

Teaching something conveys an idea to help someone do or learn something new. Preaching takes it one step further. Preaching has to deliver the motivation to do the thing you are teaching. Preaching is about telling why the subject is so powerful or great.

A couple of years ago I did this at work with web analytics. I went on what I called my “analytics road show,” telling about why analytics are so powerful to inform strategy. There was teaching involved too, but really, I realized I was preaching. And I was passionate about it. Still am. That’s when this fourth level of learning really struck me.

Last year, I was asked to join a preaching team at church. The team preaches when the pastor is away. And wow how it has changed me!  Talking to people and expressing the passion behind the subject and why it is so meaningful to me personally and hopefully to others, too, is really, really powerful. It has taught me so much more about what I’m teaching and why it is important. I found preaching to be a lot like writing, which I’ve always loved to do, just much more public.

My last two sermons have been a bit on the “teaching” end of the spectrum…where I am more comfortable. But, I’ve been warned by my pastor that next time I might be asked to preach a sermon without such a strong teaching element. Scary. But I’m game. I’m always up for a challenge. Especially if I know I’ll learn something from it.

So whatever you are passionate about, go out there and learn it, do it, and teach it! But don’t forget to challenge yourself to preach it now and then! You might be surprised how much more you can learn and grow.



Asking the Right Questions…Off to the Future We Go!


These five questions have been on a sticky note on my desktop for the last 6 years. I look at them every day. They are about the dream and not about the fear.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” —Albert Einstein

Dreams create energy. Fear destroys. We see this in business, at home, at school, and in every aspect of our lives. I’ve noticed a pattern of this throughout my own life and in the observations of the world around me.  I didn’t know how to articulate it until I heard of the book Breaking the Rules by Kurt Wright.

Kurt explains that most of the time, especially in business, we are focused on fixing a problem. And we have endless meetings about what is going wrong, which is the opposite of what we should be doing. To energize a team and create a system of effortless high performance we must start by asking the right questions.  High performance also comes with believing that it is possible…dreaming.

If you read my post on Editing Epiphanies, you know I love questions. They changed my life. So when Kurt armed me with another set of questions, I was so excited!

I started working at my current job about six years ago. My hire was nothing short of miraculous. I am grateful every day I step in the office. It was a hire that I attribute to me walking into the interview believing–really believing–I had value. Believing you have value after some devastating failures isn’t that easy to do, but I mustered that up thanks to another book  and one really good sermon (future post). My attitude was convincing enough for them to hire me, but it was only convincing because I truly believed it. I wasn’t pretending. I focused on what was right with me, not what was wrong. I focused on my strengths and experiences, which had value, whether the world and I had once perceived those experiences as failures. I walked in figuring I had nothing to lose.

When I was hired, it cleared my mind and my perspective. If that attitude got me hired, where could that attitude take me in the company? I wasn’t looking back.  I armed myself with my natural way of being — a dreamer. Fear didn’t have to drive me. If this company was willing to give me a chance, I wasn’t going to play it safe. They wanted my best. They wanted the person they interviewed–the person with strength and value. And my best has always come from dreaming big.

Thanks to Kurt Wright I was also armed with a new way of asking questions. Every situation and project I was presented with gave me an opportunity to ask these questions. And miraculous things happened. As a project manager, these questions are the only way to go. They get teams thinking about what could be, not what we are fixing.  Anything is possible. And these questions work anywhere. They work at church, at home…even on the international space station, if you were there.

The Right Questions

What’s right?

What makes it right?

What would be ideally right?

What’s not quite right yet?

What resources can I find to make it right?

When we start talking about what is right, it builds creative energy that allows the dreaming to begin. Try it. You won’t be disappointed. Take the risks. Know that  analyzing, dissecting, and theorizing , though sometimes necessary, can become an enemy of doing phenomenal things.

I think this is why I hate performance review time, but love the goal setting time of year. I am not interested in analyzing the past. I am interested in designing the future. So won’t you come with me? The future is waiting….let’s go!

Fifteen Men or a Rat?


I love these 15 guys (five not pictured ) and I love animals (one definitely not pictured), but neither of them really belong in my basement. Or do they?

Irony. Who doesn’t love a good irony? So let me ask you. If you could choose one of these to be in your basement, which would it be? Fifteen men, who also have daily access to your kitchen, garage, and guest bath? Or an animal, let’s say for sake of argument, a wood rat (Neotoma floridana)?

Now, you may first think, a rat of course. Just trap it and remove it. Snip. Snap. Done. But what if it was dead and decaying somewhere between the floor boards or the walls and you couldn’t quite tell exactly where? Then which would you choose?

Let’s review the pros and cons.

First, men. They don’t smell nearly as bad as a dead animal, but they are busy working, which mean they are alive and wandering about, so there’s that. However, they do go away at the end of the day. The rat, on the other hand, is creepy and smells really, really bad and, once deceased, never goes away.

Choices. Choices.

Unfortunately I didn’t choose. Hence, the cruel gift of irony. I got them both. After just three glorious days of celebrating the reclamation of my basement from the men (I even baked a cake), my elation was stopped dead with a four-legged tenant moving in—permanently.

Sometimes it feels as if God is just messing with me. I get a taste of what heaven is like, but not for too long. Then I am slapped back into reality. I can just picture God laughing and saying, ”Trish, silly girl, remember your basement isn’t yours. Either is your car, your house, your job, or anything you own. You are merely the steward of these gifts.” So, maybe I’m not going to win this battle. Maybe my basement is forever meant for something greater than myself. Or rather, maybe my life is meant for something greater than my basement. Until then, irony stinks.

Editing Epiphanies


1990s.  Floppy disks. Software sales. A communication explosion….and an exploding red pen that changed my life forever.

Writing has always been a love of mine. I love writing stories. I love writing poetry. I love writing a piece of informative prose that is so tight an atom couldn’t slip through it.

And the key to all good writing? Editing. I learned this lesson at 21 when I was hired for my first job out of college at a startup medical software company. I was blessed with a mentor who taught me more in three years about editing then I knew existed.  You see, I thought editing was all about making sure everything was spelled right, the sentences sounded good, the transitions were sharp, the ideas were well supported, and it was formatted correctly. Turns out, that is not editing. That, my friends, is proofreading.

And, I discovered I was (still am) a terrible proofreader. Thankfully, after years of retraining my red pen, I discovered I was a great editor.

So, if editing isn’t all those things above, what is it? Editing boils down to this–stepping back and asking questions. Editing is strategic. Editing is confidence. Editing is questioning everything that is said, why it is said, and who you are saying it to.

I remember the first piece of work I edited at my first company.  I thought it was pretty golden. I sent it to my managing editor and it came back a bloody red mess. I loathed that red pen. I remember feeling like a loser. How could I have thought my work was good?

Looking closer at her comments, I discovered she had done just a little proofreading, but the majority of her edits fixed much deeper problems. That’s because she had asked: Why are we saying this? What’s missing that the audience would want to know? She even questioned the science and the details provided by doctors – fancy pants doctors! ( I told you editing was about confidence.) Whole paragraphs that I had carefully crafted were removed with one swipe of her red pen. It was information that was simply unnecessary.

I was amazed by the comments. These were unlike comments I’d ever received from any English teacher. I was used to setting the curve in English classes. Who was this crazy lady with the evil red pen?

I set out to learn how to edit my own work in the same way. I tried to approach each piece of patient advice I reviewed by putting myself in the reader’s shoes.

  • Does the information make sense to me/parent/patient?
  • Do I know how to take care of my sick child based on this? Is it helpful?
  • What is missing?
  • Is the science still correct when I simplified the language?
  • Is the science wrong in the first place?

Then came an even more important lesson. I got back comments from my mentor like, “Consider breaking this into two documents on….” or “Maybe we should also write a document on  …..”  Now that was really big picture editing. There was a drive to continually consider and reconsider if what we were producing was the right thing at all. Wow! Who was I to be able to change everything? Turns out that is exactly who I was.

Joy Is an Empty Basement and the Birth of a Company

new office

This office probably looks boring to you, but this sunny yellow space is an amazing accomplishment and my ticket to privacy.

Fellow bloggers and readers: I am writing this post from my basement. This may not sound extraordinairy, but it is! Please celebrate with me! It is the first time in many, many months I have been able to sit at my desk at home. I’ve officially reclaimed my basement (and the rest of my house).

Over the last year, I have happily relinquished control of my basement, my garage, my guest bathroom, my dishwasher, and my kitchen to accommodate the startup company growing in the womb of my home. On any given day there are 15 plus men, sometimes more, coming in and out of my front door. (You cannot win the toilet seat battle, ladies).

But today, they have finished moving into their own, albeit temporary, office space. So exciting for them… and for me!

Things I Can Now Do

  1. Run around my home freely in my pajamas.
  2. Work from home one day a week (even in my pajamas).
  3. Buy a lot less toilet paper (in my pajamas…ok maybe not).
  4. Lock my front door.
  5. Yell at the dog less.
  6. Clean out my refrigerator.
  7. Get my carpets cleaned.
  8. Set up my bike on its trainer.
  9. Beat the CEO (my husband) in ping pong (statistically speaking I will…and in my pajamas).
  10. Know whose food is in my refrigerator (it’s mine, I think).

My friend, Mrs. Afthead, asked if the basement dwellers (as we like to call them) were astonished to come above ground and see the sun. She had imagined them as mole people down there. But alas, we have a walkout basement, so they had already been acclimated. But, I did notice they painted their new office a bright sunny yellow. Good choice.

Congratulations guys! Ratchet will miss all of your pets. You will not miss all of his barking during telephone calls. I will miss seeing your smiling faces…but I’m quite sure I will still see you frequently.

Now, where is the number for the carpet cleaner? Yikes! I better change out of my pajamas before they get here!

Being Human Has Its Drawbacks


I like this sentiment, but I guess the trick is having wisdom.

It is performance review time again. That wonderful time of year where you get to reflect on all the hard work you’ve done. The late hours. The nights and weekends. The extended travel. It is all worth it when your boss tells you that you did good job and your peers write nice things about you. Except when they don’t. Then it hurts.

Why is it that you can have multiple pages of gushingly amazing comments and then just one or two sentences at the end with some constructive criticism feels like a stab in the chest? Why?  Why do we have to be so….well…human?

This year I had to accept my humanity and swallow my pride knowing full well that sometimes I can’t always be what I’d like to be. The truth sometimes hurts, even when said in the gentlest of ways. We have to be able to listen to the truth and learn from it. One quote I like: “There is no better test of a man’s integrity than his behavior when he is wrong.” And so, with integrity, I’ll move forward correcting myself to the best of my ability.

I believe everything we do in life requires us to live with integrity. Most of the time people appreciate integrity. But not always. There was one piece of work I did this year that required a lot of integrity and, sadly, it was not well received.  Unlike the other piece of constructive criticism I received, this “constructive” comment was a direct attack on my integrity, whether the person realized it or not.

My closest friends know that I am a pretty easy going and flexible person. I can take a lot of grief and there is only one thing that really sets me off.  That thing? Any time I feel my integrity is being questioned. I can’t help it. There are many character qualities  a person could challenge, but none bother me the way an attack on my integrity does. It really gets under my skin.

Definitions of Integrity

The quality of being honest and fair  —Merriam-Webster

Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty —

Doing what is right even when no one is watching. — C.S. Lewis

When looking back at events in my life and sorting them into buckets, I’ve noticed a pattern. Every single hurtful instance that has left an indelible scar involves integrity — either someone attacking mine or the lack of integrity by someone else. It is the primary character quality that has shaped me.

I’ve also noticed it is the number one quality I look for in potential employees. It is the number one quality I expect in my managers. It is the number one thing I lecture my children about. And it is the number one thing I value in my friendships.

It took me years to piece that together. Seems obvious now. Integrity. It really, really matters to me. With integrity comes trust and honor. An attack of your integrity threatens everything you believe in.  C.S. Lewis was right. Integrity is doing what is right even when no one is watching. For me, I’ve never found that to be difficult. Doing what’s right when everyone is watching—sometimes that’s the toughest thing to do. But it is worth doing. What have I learned today? The truth hurts and people don’t always handle it well, me included. We are human, after all.

Lessons from Hurricane Wilma: 10 Years Later


The girls in Guatemala and me. Who knew we had so much in common?

Anniversaries are a good time to reflect. This week (technically, October 26, 2005) is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Wilma, the fourth costliest hurricane on record according to the National Weather Service.

It was the first costliest for me.

I can still remember watching the TV, our eyes glued as the storm sat over the Yucatan Peninsula for three days instead of the predicted 28 hours. The newscasters said things like, “The fact that this Category 5 hurricane is sitting over Cancun is really good news. It will take some of the strength out of it before it reaches Florida.”

Oh, really? That’s good news? Not for the people in Cancun. Not for our friends and employees. And definitely not for us.

It has been a very long 10 years. Ten years of recovering financially from a startup business, which was quite literally destroyed with a gust of terror. Ten years of rebuilding, not once, not twice, but multiple times. Being innovative and on the cutting edge wasn’t as marketable as we thought, especially when we later hit speed bump number two: the economic recession.  Ten years rebuilding careers and rebuilding bank accounts.

This week also marks the first time in 10 years my husband and I finally looked at each other and said, “I think we are finally there.” We are on a trajectory that doesn’t take us back under water (knock on wood). A trajectory of hope. Wow! Almost exactly 10 years later. It has been a long 10 years.

When I was in Guatemala doing a home visit with my friend’s sponsored child through Starfish, we sat in a circle with her family and they asked us questions. In the midst of her little bedroom that she shares with four siblings, she asked me, “Have you ever experienced any hardship and what is your advice for getting through it?” She explained. Her perception of people from the United States was that we are very rich and we don’t have to struggle.

I told her my story. How we had built a business and worked multiple jobs to survive while we built it. How we had put all of our time and money into it and how it was crushed in an instant by a hurricane. How we lost everything and that put us into huge debt and how we had to muscle our way back. I told her it was because of our education and a lot of caring people that we were able to recover. You can lose all your money and all of your things, but nothing can take away your experiences and your knowledge. Those are treasures beyond value and that is what makes it possible to rebuild. To dream again. (I think it was the best “stay in school” speech I’ve ever given.)

I remember the shock on her face as the translator relayed the story. She couldn’t believe that someone in the United States would have those kinds of troubles. Both of our eyes were opened that day. We are all alike. We all have wounds and struggles and hardships. They are not all the same, but this broken world is broken for us all.

The lessons I’ve learned in the last 10 years have changed me in so many ways.

I’ve been humbled. And I’ve learned how to humbly receive. Having someone pay your water bills or help you with your mortgage will do that.

I’ve been loved. And I’ve learned how to have an incredible marriage.

I’ve been judged. And I’ve learned how to shake it off and be understanding.

I’ve been hungry. And I’ve learned how to feed others.

I’ve been given gifts. And I’ve learned how to give more.

Do I wish it never would have happened? Sometimes. Am I glad for the perspective it has brought me? Absolutely.

As an added bonus to my learnings, my husband and I are now expert couch critics when watching Shark Tank. Here’s to the next 10 years! I can only hope I gain as much perspective as I’ve gained over the last.


In memory of TekTrek and our little office in Cancun. A dream that blew away.