Saturday, September 13, 2008

K2Chem Christmas
December 2006, Fort Worth, Texas
Skewers, Eye High Kicks and Christmas Cheer

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" ~ that song dances in my mind a lot lately. Maybe because Mother Nature donned December with snow flurries, causing all sorts of flight cancellations in the Dallas region.

We went through security check and Greg said, "The guy waved us over to his lane and said, "Aleta, you don't recognize me" Do you know him?" Talk about feeling embarrassed! It was my parents' neighbor of over 20 years and I didn't recognize Collin. I forgot that he was working security at the airport. I introduced Greg to Collin as Greg was preparing for security check, taking off the metal elements, including shoes and belt. Greg's respons
e was, "Nice to meet you. Just to let you know, I don't normally undress while being introduced to someone."

As we walked through the terminal, Greg showed me where he worked ~ from the high point of water cooling towers to driving along the white stripes on the air field, having to watch the lights on the planes to see if they are getting ready to pull out for flight... Greg shared one time when he was caught between two planes ~ the communication tower got a good laugh over the situation of seeing a vehicle stuck there ~ waiting a while before calling to one of the planes to power down the jaw breaking shakes made from the engines. The airport is a new account for Greg and seems they have a good sense of humor to play on the "newbies."

Renaissance Worthington in Fort Worth is located in the downtown area and is a swanky hotel. The size of the hotel is worthy of Texas state, where modern day ranch meets executive, from elegant decor (including Christmas trees galore and a delightful Christmas village) to soft down comforters and pillows in the rooms, with a friendly, yet professional staff to a lovely view of the Sundance Square (at night time we could see the town square Christmas tree lit up and sparkling, as well as other buildings decorated for the season).
After having our luggage delivered to our rooms, Greg and I walked to the bar area of the hotel for a social gathering. Introductions were made and my mind is still trying to grasp the names to the faces of new people I've met. But one thing remains in my memory ~ the warmth of welcome they made available to each other. It was very evident how comfortable they are, with a family like atmosphere, a genuinely good group of people who appreciate the business they are in and the company they keep.

I'll make a quick note here about the running joke throughout the stay. From that first night to the last, it seems Greg's visit to the ladies room during our Tennessee trip was a great hit with everyone. Danny gave his rendition of what happened to Greg and had everyone in tears. On a different day, Karen said she and her husband were in a store and they were going to the restrooms. When Keith, her husband, went towards the ladies room, she said, "No, the men's room is over there." Keith told her, "I know, I was looking for Greg." It’s cute how the rib each other, again, like family.
From the hotel, we were brought to Texas de Brazil. To give a back drop of the restaurant per their website, "The Gauchos, or South American cowboys, would prepare a feast for their families by slow roasting the various meats over an open pit....The roasted meats were brought around to each family, offering the best of that gaucho's herd. They carved meats at each table in a show of skill and festive gift giving." It was in this spirit that we enjoyed the fine dining!

The K2Chem group had a reserved room; the walls were painted in deep red and accented with paintings of blue with shapes of horses. The restaurant’s ambiance was rich, fitting well with the food. We started with the salad/side dish bar, which had
many options to choose from. After sitting down to enjoy the food from the bar, we were instructed to use a round paper piece. On one side it was red and the other side it was green, green would indicate that you are ready for the servers to bring out the meat.

As we flipped over to green, we could never guess the amount of food to arrive! Each waiter had a skewer, taken directly off the grill, to carve slices at your request. The first to arrive was Brazilian sausage. Both Greg and I said yes to this, then Danny walked over and explained, "You're both new to this restaurant, so let me say this, if you like sausage, chicken, pork or lamb, do NOT get it. They bring that out first; wait for the steaks." (Later, on another night, Danny laughed to say that right after he gave us that advice, what did we do? We took the chicken. But.. but... it just alllll looked so good! Though, I will admit, Danny was right!) The steaks were perfectly cooked and authentic to the style of cuisine. With so much food being offered, Greg and I were glad we did not have anything for lunch. Even so, we ended up having a LOT of untouched food on our plates. We simply couldn't eat it all.

(Side note: When the deserts were offered around the table, we closely watched Danny’s expression to know which deserts to pick. With two thumbs up, we kne
w the key lime pie would be a treat!)

To a more serious note, the laughter settled and Danny started with toasting to those who were there and talking about the progress of K2Chem. He mentioned the importance of drive and determination. Quite a number of times, Greg's name was brought up, how Greg being the "newbie" to the company, he had taken on a job with a gusto that they obviously appreciated. I was so pleased for Greg and proud of him, knowing how much Greg enjoys his work ~ it was good for Greg to receive the verbal recognition from Danny and Keith.

From there, Danny went on that when an employee has an exception year, someone who has been with the company since almost day one and recently landed a large account, going above and beyond, they decided this year, to do something special.

The symbolism of the lead crystal bull is synonymous with strength, never giving up, the drive to work in a highly competitive field, a leader that fights through obstacles
and doesn't give in ~ this award was given to Dan, along with a three day stay at a spa resort. I thought it was very generous of the company to acknowledge employees, both verbally for the drive to start off new with the company as well as with an award to the current employee with the highest volume in business. It bodes well that K2Chem appreciates what it takes to make a company work and expand.

Here's a lesson about where not to get a hotel room: Greg walked back into the hotel room, to bring the ice bucket and water. He smiled and said, "As I was filling up the ice bucket, I could hear noises coming from the room across where the ice machine was. From the sound of the moans, they were having a good time!" (Lesson Learned ~ never get a room next to a vending machine!)

The next morning, while the men were conducting the breakfast meeting, t
he women found a couple of stores to browse. The ladies divided up to go to various places, with Cindy and I opting on a tour to the Bass Theater in the Sundance Square.

The outside of the Bass Theater was what caught my attention. Along one side of the building two 48-feet tall angels stand with gold horns. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” immediately came to mind.

The tour guide was proud to announce that the building was built entirely with private funds. They not only have symphony orchestra, but also ballet, opera,
piano competitions and concerts in this hall. Even the ceilings speak of art. The east wing ceiling is painted with a calm sunrise. The west wing ceiling is adorned with a stormy, vivid sunset. In the middle, where the audience gathers for the events, the ceiling is of a noon sky, the balance of the two wings, of nature.

Another highlight of the trip was Saturday night when we went to the Nokia
Theater in Grand Prairie to see the Radio City “Christmas Spectacular” starring The Rockettes! We had great seats, though the group was split into different sections. (And thanks to Mrs. Payne we had a special parking place and entrance to the theater, offering us an avenue around the crowds.)

The show started with Santa on his sleigh ride to Texas. It was adorable when he said, “And it wouldn’t be Christmas without stockings” ~ the curtain behind him lifted just a little to show the legs only of the Rockettes wearing stockings… Santa continued, “It’s not just the stockings, but what’s in them!” Thus introducing the Rockettes to the audience.

The Rockettes tapped down the Twelve Days of Christmas with an elaboration of each “day” in the song. To watch the intricate synchronization and choreography, I agreed with Greg as he said, “I’m amazed that they can remember all of the steps!”
Famous songs from the Nutcracker were played, with the dances in Teddy Bear outfits and picking a girl from the audience. Greg knew immediately that she was a “plant” and he was right, because she learned “quickly” the ballet steps for the end of that particular scene!

Then followed the parade of the wooden soldiers. Each march in timed perfection as the Rockettes moved a straight line around the stage. Talk about precision! And then to see as the toy soldiers lined up, facing the back of the other soldier… then tightly inter-link their arms. Tighter and tighter, you could feel the stiffness of their bodies… and they fell like dominoes in a line!

Another scene I thoroughly enjoyed was the Raggedy Annie Dolls. Maybe it’s because I used to have one when I was a little girl? Even in a frumpy doll like mannerism, the Rockettes still managed to amaze us in the final song with eye high kicks and perfectly tim
ed and executed jumps into splits.

The ending of the performance filled the spirits with the living nativity scene. The songs were beautiful, the reading of the Bibles verses, the outfits were ornate (especially for the 3 kings) and dare I mention the live animals: dogs, sheep and TWO camels! Yes, they were real!

From the decorations in the theater, to the fantastic performance, walking out, Greg said it best, “It put you in the Christmas mood.”

As Kathy, Danny’s wife, replied, “They had something for everyone from Santa and the Teddy Bears with the Nutcracker for the children. The Rockettes for all ages. Christmas that can be enjoyed by everyone and the nativity scene.”
The afternoon ended with supper at a pizza parlor, Uno, that was located across from the hotel. A mixture of entertainment and good company, it was an enjoyable, full day!

Our flight home was lucky. I say this because we arrived 2 hours ahead of schedule. We went through security, went to the boarding pass desk and got out seats. I asked the guy if he could give us seats together and towards the front of the plane. He did so… Later, we had 2 hours to shop in the airport, but mostly watched the football games, hoping the Saints would win (woo hoo ~ they did not disappoint!! Geaux Saints!!)… The lucky part was that Cindy asked how we got seats at the front of the plane. We explained that you could ask at the boarding pass desk, so she went to see if they could switch seats. She came back saying, “We have to go now! They moved the boarding to a completely different terminal.” We had to take the tram to go from C 29 to A 29. It seems the airport mixed things up and the plane leaving gate C 29 was going to Canada! Woah… With only 10 minutes
before boarding, we made it. Home again Home.

prairie lands rolling
the friendship gathering grounds
decorated cheer
as our Christmas spirit shines
bright as a five pointed Texas star

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