there is something wrong with me, ups and downs

In which I am my very worst self

I spent last week at a conference. I went last year too.

The content on the whole is great. They have amazing keynote addresses (which this year even managed to be on topic) and amazing tech presentations. The breakout sessions turned out not to be as relevant to our role but they set up a “garage” area that was more in our sphere and that was cool.

Don’t I sound positive, after the fact?

It was great… it’s great BIG. Estimates varied from 12-14000 attendees.

All in all the event is too big for me – I feel lost in conferences with several hundred attendees, let alone several thousand. And they had growing pains of their own, little nitty things that added up to not a great experience.

Things like asking the people who were in for Training the day before the conference to get there 1-2 hours before we needed to be there, and then not letting us into the training rooms on arrival because they were still being set up.

Things like simultaneously asking everyone to come in and register a day early to get better positions at the concert night, causing a huge rush during training registration and sessions.

Things like having that rush correspond with not just 1 registration line but also separate lines for swag and concert entry. The entire facility was just a sea of snaking lines, and that was just the prelude to the event itself.

Ostensibly the theme of the event was Breakthroughs but I would say the real theme was lines.

My second day (the first day of the event proper) didn’t go much better. The coffee reception didn’t exist because we all needed to queue up for keynote seating. (I didn’t grab the awful hotel coffee because I was headed over to the reception).

No. Coffee. For. Me.

That line:

  • Had us standing on a concrete slab for over an hour (my back and feet in agony before we were done.
  • Didn’t have any separators to keep people in queue, so later arrivers were able to swoop in and get ahead of people who’d been there longer, waiting.
  • Didn’t guarantee a place in the keynotes because they had either oversold the conference or not set up enough seating inside. I got in, barely, and ended up in one of the farthest back rows, with easily hundreds of people still behind me. Some of them ended up in an overflow room, watching the event via streaming video. They were not pleased.

Continue reading “In which I am my very worst self”

exploring and revisiting, there is something wrong with me, travel, ups and downs

Disembarkation, Departure and Disease

We have to be out of our cabin by 8am so the stewards can prep for the next people.

Breakfast is a simple affair- half staff at the kitchen and dining because this is their crazy day.

I’m not that hungry, and just want a bit of protein and caffeine and some water for my slightly scratchy throat. Continue reading “Disembarkation, Departure and Disease”

flotsam, there is something wrong with me

This crazy life

I’ve been tracking my steps diligently (pending replacement of my failed @Fitbit device notwithstanding). 

There are those who might say I obsess about it a bit, and I really can’t say I’m in a position to argue. But that’s not the crazy part (I don’t think).

On a lot of days, weather and schedule permitting, I round out my daily steps with a walk. Three+ round trip miles to and from my parents’ place (the “plus” depending on whether/which/how many little side streets I wander down en route). 3.2 if I loop around the other way, again depending on side streets. I have a short playlist of tunes for walking, steady beats to keep me on pace. Or I listen to podcasts…

Among them I’ve been listening to This American Life. I enjoy them; thought provoking, but also often touching. One weekend I listened on the way over to my folks’ to a chapter on last words, and I found myself tearing up – cue the waterworks – so much that I arrived slightly tearstreaked. 

Last night I listened to the episode entitled “The Perils of Intimacy” and I enjoyed it, thoughtful as always, each chapter touching on a different aspect, each worth a listen in their own right…

On my way home it got to be third chapter and the comedienne relaying her story got to the culmination of the story and oh Lord I laughed. Even while I cringed with her (that so totally could be me, and oh God, I’d want to die) I laughed. I laughed long and hard and out loud, in public. On the street. Like a crazy person. 

Totally worth it. 

flotsam, there is something wrong with me

Mental block: Spanish

In seventh grade, we had the option to take a language: French or German.

Spanish, which would have been more useful, was not offered until 8th grade. Opportunity missed.

What teen girl, given the choice, wants to learn German when French is an option? (Actually some did, but cmon.) plus we lived in New England where the proximity to Canada made it almost sort of seem potentially useful. 

I don’t live in New England any more. My first job was at a company that was owned by Cuban exiles and more than half the company, by the time we were acquired by the larger firm, spoke Spanish.

By that time, I had picked up a little Spanish… mostly greetings and food.

I wanted to learn Spanish. By that time, there was the boy and though his English was fantastic it seemed problematic that I couldn’t say anything of substance to him in his native language, his heart language.

I tried Rocket Spanish. (Puedo sacar su foto?) 

I tried Rosetta Stone (it was very precise about getting the accent right, so much so that the boy, sitting next to me, would tell me, “You’re saying that perfectly,” while RS would insist I had it wrong and make me repeat it. Again. And again. Ad nauseum.)

But always I would get just so far and hit a wall. I have some kind of mental block, it seems.

Now, Duolingo doesn’t care how bad my accent is. And 26 days into it, I’m mostly enjoying it and occasionally amused and/or troubled by the sentences it tries to teach me.  Continue reading “Mental block: Spanish”

flotsam, there is something wrong with me

A knock at the door?

The dream ends abruptly.  The knock is clear, crisp. It doesn’t repeat though I am still, listening. 

The dream is gone. Work? Something else? Nope, nothing, gone. Only the knock. 

Still listening. Was it real? Could I have dreamed it? 

It didn’t signal arrival, but it was perfectly incorporated. That’s all I can recall now. 

Straining, no unfamiliar sounds inside or out. 

4am. I get up. No signs of life out front. It seemed too loud, too close for that door, on second thought, though I couldn’t not have checked it. I ponder the other doors, and the sound. It was crisp. Knuckles on glass? I don’t want to check the other doors. No broken glass sounds followed, certainly. On wood I decide, an indoor sound. 

A dream, then? Who would break in and then knock?

Unsettled. Too early for sunrise. Yesterday’s was unendingly beautiful, accompanied by a nearly full moon still high in the sky, dancing with the clouds.

And with that thought, I think I’ll retry sleep. 

Revisited: at 6:30am there was also not really someone ringing the doorbell. 

flotsam, there is something wrong with me

Critter

My neighbors two doors to my right may be moving, if the sudden clearance of their property is an indication.  Meanwhile, the neighbors between us need to mow or something. 

To my left, it’s a jungle in desperate need of clearing. I am uncharacteristicly peering out my window, noticing the differences, when movement in the overgrowth next door catches my eye. A long, naked tail… attached to…

Oh my God, if that’s a rat it’s enormous

I am staring in horror, hoping it’s, please, please, please…

It lifts its face up out of the greenery. White pointy face… yesopossum. Not rat. 

Well that’s a huge relief. Still, it disappears into the underbrush… I know they’re generally docile unless cornered but I don’t like the idea of coming face to face with that….

I might never go outside again

@Fitbit, Fitness and Other Temporary Obsessions, flotsam, there is something wrong with me

Fitness Flotsam (@Fitbit)

Some random observations…

  • I really like the Fitbit adventures and challenges. They definitely encourage me to move. Getting notices that light up my phone at midnight to tell me the Challenge is starting (etc), however, is discouraging good sleep. #tradeoffs
  • Setting an alarm to make sure I get my hourly activity in, is working well for me. The other thing that is working well, at least during the day, is that my house is so flipping cold. Moving around warms me up. It’s kind of sad though that in between I’m wearing gloves in the house. But there you have it, being cold all the time is not all bad. Apparently
  • I know I’ve become a little bit crazy about this hourly activity goal thing, because yesterday I had a meeting that ran through the entire 11 AM hour, and I was irked because it made me miss my steps for that hour (which was the only hour I missed, after making 14/14 hours for the prior 7 days). And now I’m looking at the itinerary for a Retreat I’m attending (and looking forward to) this weekend, and noticing that the sessions start on the hour and end into the next hour. There is clearly something wrong with me, when I want to tell them that if they started sessions on the half hours, the sessions could take the same amount of time and leave people a window on each side to get in their hourly Fitbit steps. Which, I’m pretty sure, is not where one’s attention should be, as one goes into a Retreat.
I managed to do this 7/7 days in a row. I doubt I will ever be able to do it again