Monday, December 25, 2006

Have a Merry, Happy....

Seasons Greetings from our new west coast base of operations.!

After selling the house on December 15th, we officially moved from Minnesota back to Oregon on December 18th (thankfully just ahead of the blizzard that shut down Denver International Airport). It's so great to be back. Already we've had the chance to spend casual hang out time with different family members, so different from the frenetic must-see-everybody-and-make-it-special feeling of quick and infrequent visits. We're looking forward to years more of that as we settle down into the fabric of family.

We'll try and send out separate holiday greetings as well, but just in case want to be sure and get this sentiment out:

Last Christmas eve found us sitting in a dimly lit hostel room in Chiang Mai, Thailand clustered around a blue and white tinsel tree (to celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas). Christmas Day we spent in the first of a four day Thai food cooking seminar. Between then and now we've had more experiences than we can even process: travels through Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji; reunions with family and friends up the west coast and in Minnesota; facing the reality of a cold housing market and choosing what was important to us (getting back to our family and getting closer to starting our family) over financial considerations; starting to work again in the same environment that led us to drop everything and leave and learning to control my hours and still prioritize my life, selling the house and moving cross-country; and gearing up for new jobs, a new home, and in Brian's case, a new graduate degree program here in Oregon.

That's a lot of life. But the constant through all of it, the thing that gave us strength and made us feel rich on a daily basis, was the presence in our hearts and minds of all of you. We are so tremendously blessed in our friends and family, whether they be people who have known us all our lives or those of you who we have met along our travels. THANK YOU, thank you for your friendship, love and support.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year. As I have come to say more frequently now as what really matters sinks in:

We wish you all a year of health and happiness, friends and family, joy and laughter.

Becca and Brian

Monday, December 18, 2006

Rodney Dangerfield!

As the subject line hints, I'm going back to school. Not full-time mind you; I think that ship left the dock a long time ago. However, as of last Wednesday, I am officially a student of Willamette University's Professional MBA program.

Becca and I had talked about my going back to school for a while; I really felt that getting my MBA would allow me to strengthen my general business knowledge base. This more formal training would complement the on-the-job training I've had to date working for smaller companies. When we knew we were going to move back to Portland this fall, I started researching part-time MBA programs. For me, part-time was going to be the best way to get my MBA while also still gaining additional work experience. As a result, the one program that really stood out was Willamette's. The professional MBA is a newer program but its length (2 years as opposed to 3+), its class size (15-20) and the fact that it's focused towards working professionals put it in the proverbial driver's seat.

So over the past month or so, I'd invested in a GMAT study guide and started to do some preliminary work targeting a Fall 2007 start date. I knew that there was a January class but that realistically the house wouldn't sell in time and that it was probably too much to do in a too little time. Right after Thanksgiving, as we finished signing the contract addendum for the house, I got an email from the director of the program (who I'd been trading emails with). In it she stated that a spot had opened up for the January 07 class and that there was still time to apply. Would I be interested in doing so?

That was December 1st. After getting some concerns addressed and discussing it again and again with Becca, I elected to apply. An appealing aspect of the sudden turnaround was that I could get a large part of the program done before any hypothetical kids were around. Plus it would allow me to get started right after moving. As Becca and I discussed, if it was something I was going to do in the next five years, why not now?

So with that I had to move quickly. I can safely assure you that you can get a business school application done in a week, but I highly recommend not doing it while you're also packing a house and dealing with neurotic buyers. It also involves having extremely flexible and great people doing your letters of recommendation (thanks Drew and Jody!). However just under two weeks after I started the application, I was granted conditional acceptance to the program (I still have to take the GMAT's during the first quarter) and am left with another list of exciting to-do's to get done before the start of school.

I have to admit I'm excited about this opportunity. I actually know two people going through the program and they have felt it was a great mix of classroom learning as well as hands-on, more practical experience. In addition, having something to focus on upon our return to Portland will hopefully allow me to use my time wisely, what with school, looking for a job and a new home all on the docket.

At the same time, some nervousness does pervade. I haven't been in a classroom in almost 10 years. I'm scared witless about the idea of taking notes on my laptop (granted I type quicker than I write at this point). Never mind taking an exam on a computer; I may have to go old school and request a blue book. Do they even still have blue books?

Despite the yin-yang feeling regarding school, I'm excited. Education is always a worthwhile investment and this program should allow me to gain a strong business acumen while also continuing to build my work resume. I'm not quite sure how I feel about Finance being one of my first two classes, but I guess whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.

I'm sure as classes get going you'll get the occasional MBA story. Hopefully it'll be more ha-ha funny vs. WHY DID I DO THIS?

More missives from the hallowed halls of academia-


Friday, December 15, 2006

An era ends...

We are now officially homeless. As of 2:30pm CST today, the house is sold. We are spending our final weekend in Minneapolis with friends before heading off to Portland. It's the end of one adventure but the start of another.

We're off to have sushi to celebrate. Yes it's expensive but would YOU want cheap sushi in the Midwest?

We have more news to share, but you'll just have to wait until Monday. No, no pregnancies.

Happy Weekend to everyone!


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Please don't mind the boxes...

We're still packing while trying to see friends one last time. Be patient with us as we continue to get the house ready for sale and get ready to move. We promise news once we're on the other side.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Reason 357 why we're moving back to Oregon.

Woke up this morning to the following temp:

1 degree
Windchill of negative 18.

yeah, grey rainy days won't be so bad......


by the way, for our international readers, that's FAHRENHEIT we're talking about.
(and Jenny: I remembered the 'H' this time!)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A chaotic last few days...

The big news is we accepted an offer on our house. With it being a buyer's market here in Minneapolis it wasn't pretty with lots of back and forth negotiations but it's done (we hope). In the end our desire to be back with our family in Oregon really pushed the negotiations along. We close on December 15th so we have a lot to do between now and then. Like pack a house and figure out how all of our stuff is going to fit in a 8x8x16 pod. But we're excited. Sad to be leaving our friends in Minnesota but thrilled with being able to finally shift all of our focus onto the next chapter of our lives in Portland.

In amongst the stress and haggling that goes with selling a house, I also had the opportunity to have our trusty, never fail computer completely go belly up. Went from doing some work Wednesday night on the plane with it to having it refuse to boot Thursday morning. This was, how can I put it, NOT a good thing. The computer had a sense of irony though as I'd just bought an external hard drive the day before (which for some reason the mac wouldn't recognize). Oh those funny, funny computers.

Thankfully, it pays to know people who know their way around computers. In this particular case, our friend Sprinkles took it to work, was able to salvage 95% of the data, get the computer back working and even tossed in a little extra memory to boot. It's nice to have friends in high places.

So that's the latest from us. We've got approximately 12 days and counting before we need to be moved out of our home. It's going to be busy though we'll try to give updates when we can in amongst the many, many, many boxes.

Hope every one's holiday went well. I would have successfully negotiated the holiday food minefield had Becca's cousin not made fresh chocolate chip cookies...

So what's up with everyone else? Y'all know how to use the comments. Put them to use.