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Is That Santa's Elf?

While the holidays are always hectic, there's always time for a little espionage! Just before Christmas, Vanessa Costanzo was heading into northern IL to make a few deliveries, so I drove up to meet her near Skokie, IL. She and I "met" right near Claris Engage, so it was a real pleasure to get to meet in her in person!

I had a blast exploring the contents of the suitcase over the holiday weekend...I found things that inspired me, things that made me laugh (one of which I just had to keep because it brings me joy each time I look at it), and things that confirmed I will never understand everyone! I even added my own touches to the contents as it moves on.

The suitcase had a front row seat to Christmas at the Murillo house. We have two girls (2nd and 6th grade), so the suitcase saw everything from joy and laughter (and flying wrapping paper on Christmas morning) to typical sibling rivalry over even the silliest thing like who had the biggest/best present....and even had our cocker spaniel sniffing it out to determine friend or foe. (I think the jury is still out on that one.)

For those of us who have survived 2020, it will always be remembered, as my daughters' ornaments so aptly put it, "2020: Stink, Stank, Stunk." However, for all of the awful things that have happened this year, there have been just as many heart warming experiences as well. In a normal year, you would celebrate your birthday, graduation, or other special event (or even your average weekend) with close friends and family. This year, those special parades extended into the entire neighborhood hopping into their car to join the parade to help you celebrate too (I mean, what else was there to do?). We had a couple high schoolers put together an app to organize able-bodied high schoolers to shop and deliver supplies to the elderly or at-risk populations, so they could minimize the risk for these people. Then we had some brilliant minds devise the suitcase protocol to bridge the gap in the FileMaker community to help us connect with one another on a personal level, when in-person conferences were put on hold. Silver linings everywhere!

Alas, all good things must come to an end. A few days after Christmas Sully (David Sullivan) and I arranged a meetup so I could hand off the suitcase and it could continue on its adventures. So, on a VERY cold Wednesday afternoon (December 30th) Sully and I met at The Morton Arboretum (thank you, Sully, for the visitor pass!). You may ask why we chose to meet up outside if it was that cold? Well, IL has been in "Tier 3 Mitigations" since mid-November, so there weren't many indoor options available if we wanted to sit and chat. (Only outdoor dining available!)

We were both running a few minutes behind our agreed upon time, but I pulled into the Visitor's Center right behind him, perfectly timed! Sully wanted a picture with the troll (sorry...not Santa's elf), because it was so cold, we caravaned over to a lot closer to the troll, then hiked up to this guy you see here. If you ever drive out I-88 from Chicago headed towards Lisle, you will see this guy at the top of a hill as you pass by The Morton Arboretum. (He's even more impressive all lit up at night!) Illinois isn't exactly known for its mountains, far from it, but where he is positioned at the top of a hill, you feel like you are on a mountain peak....and it was even COLDER by him with absolutely nothing to break the wind! Thus, our photo op was short and sweet and we turned back around to hike out as soon as possible.

Sully and I first met almost a year ago when I attended my first CAFDA (Chicago Area FileMaker Developers Association) meeting and we've chatted a few times this past year. It was great to catch-up with him about some of our recent FM (and client) experiences. Even after our hike, we stood talking for nearly an hour, and by that point we were both frozen.

Into Sully's trunk went the suitcase and on to its next adventure.

I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing where it goes next...

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