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2007

                 




Hello Everyone,

Here we are at the end of a very exciting 2007! It's been a really busy year, as I have again relocated across country. I thought I was done with the moving but apparently not!
I was working for McDonald's in Salem, Oregon early in 2007 when the call came from my friend Jerry who was my Front Office Manager at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel way back in 1998 but we've remained in touch. He is now the General Manager of a SpringHill Suites in Atlanta and offered me a position as Kitchen Supervisor if I were interested in moving back across country and returning to the "Marriott family". I felt the time was right, McDonald's didn't feel like the right fit for me and I missed a lot of the benefits that Marriott was able to offer.

So in early March, I left Oregon and began the drive to Atlanta. I've never been to Atlanta, but I have driven cross country, more times than I can count. My friend Rafael chose to drive with me and keep me company. We stopped at every state border and took pictures of the "welcome to" signs. Stopped along the way in Northern California, Flagstaff AZ (very cold!), Amarillo (dinner at Hooter's!), Little Rock (weather was beautiful, shot "hoops" at the outdoor court of the Residence Inn in which we stayed). We also had a very forgettable lunch at a burger place in New Mexico that actually took 30 minutes to get our food! It was during this 30 minutes that I noticed the cemetery across the street. This must be where they bury the people who die of hunger waiting for their food. :)

Made it to Atlanta and relaxed for a couple of days before I started at the hotel. Put Rafael back on a plane back to his very pregnant girlfriend Irene. She had a beautiful baby boy in May, the day before Rafael's birthday!

My first experience in each place I live is usually to find a good country/western club to dance and enjoy music. Atlanta was no different as I found a BIG club called WiLD Bill's in NE Atlanta. Things were going well at the hotel, so I started learning my way around Atlanta and actually made it to my first Atlanta Braves game on May 1st. Chipper Jones hit 2 HR's but, of course, the Braves lost 6-4 to Philadelphia. I kept hearing how HOT Atlanta would be, but still it was approaching June, but no heat yet. Mid-June came and I was paid a visit by my brother Jack and his son Noah, as the Detroit Tigers were in town playing the Atlanta Braves in interleague baseball. We went to Hard Rock Cafe, Tigers vs Braves on Sat 6/23, Centennial Park and Tigers vs Braves on Sunday 6/24. Tigers destroyed the Braves that weekend by beating them 5-0 on Friday, 2-1 on Saturday and 5-0 again on Sunday night. We were at the Saturday and Sunday games which were on Fox and ESPN respectively. Here are some pictures from that baseball weekend.

Things got a little exciting after Jack and Noah departed back to Kansas City. I was promoted to Sales Coordinator at the hotel when our Sales Coordinator suddenly left to pursue her MBA. Jerry knew with my experience as Rooms Controller in Cleveland that I would be able to just jump in and use my customer service skills as well as my organizational skills to succeed in this position. So I have been the Sales Coordinator since July and have really made the position my own. I really enjoy discussing details with clients and booking meeting space as well as banquet lunches and dinners. It's pretty exciting work. Plus now, I get to work occasionally at the front desk as well!

Next up this year was a visit from my best friend Ron from Oregon. The main purpose of his visit was to help me install a big screen TV at a friend's house. Ron is really good at this and I learn so much by helping him. so after the 1st 2 hours of his visit and the TV was up on the wall, we had 5 days to have fun, fun, fun. First we went to World of Coke, which was fabulous, we spent 2 hours in the gift shop alone... Then we caught Braves vs Pirates (Braves won 5-1). The next day we played golf and then went to Braves vs Cincinnati (Braves lost 10-3, Griffey hit HR). The next day we went to another Braves game vs Cincinnati and the Braves were losing 4-0 late and almost came back, losing 6-5. Ron and I actually went early to this last game so we could go to batting practice and we BOTH caught HR balls in batting practice. We also had our photo taken twice and it is posted on the Braves website, also here.

In August, I was able to attend another Braves game, this time against the Giants and Barry Bonds. Bonds, of course, didn't hit a HR in the game I went to, but he hit one the next day (my luck).

In September, I moved out of my crappy apartment into a much nicer, much bigger 2 bedroom/2 bath townhome, also in a much better part of town. Close to malls, closer to the hotel. In mid-September we were lucky enough to have the first FedEx Cup Championship (PGA) conclude here in Atlanta with the Tour Championship held at Eastlake Country Club. I was able to attend Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I took many unauthorized Tour Championship pictures! (cameras are not allowed at PGA events).

Just last month, in October, I made a trip up to Nashville, one of my favorite towns. I went to the Grand Olde Opry on the 1st night (here are a couple of Grand Olde Opry pictures). The 2nd day, I went to the Country Music Hall of Fame (new facility since I was in Nashville last (1996). Here are some Hall of Fame pictures from that day. The nicest part of seeing the CMHOF in the new facility is that it is in downtown Nashville, so I was able to walk around Nashville, and had a nice lunch at "Jack's" place which specializes in Barbeque food. It's right next to the Ryman Auditorium and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and across the street is the new Nashville Convention Center. Here are a couple of Downtown Nashville pictures.

As soon as I came back from Nashville, I went to a free concert/booksigning at Border's Bookstore in Buckhead (right near my hotel) featuring AMY GRANT. She was doing a tour talking about her book, life, success, faith and reading passages from her book. She also took questions from the audience as well as sung a few songs. Here are a few Amy Grant pictures. I was right up front!

Finally, just a few days ago, Coach Dan Reeves (Cowboys, Broncos (Super Bowls), NY Giants and Atlanta Falcons) had a speaking engagement very close to my hotel. I was invited by a client who asked if I would be interested in a free breakfast and to listen to Coach Reeves speak about Leadership, Motivation, Teamwork and Success, as well as tell lots of football stories. I wish my Uncle Vern were still here, he would have loved this! Here are some Coach Reeves photos, including one of me with the Coach!

Until we speak soon, I wish you and yours the most happiness and love this holiday season and please keep in touch. But to everyone, all the best and please write soon!

xoxoxoxo
Bill