Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Land of Rain???

I think it's kind of funny that the two trips I've taken to Portland have been filled with blue skies, white puffy clouds, and sunshine. My first visit was in August 2004, and my friend Anna, who lives there, informed me that July and August are the "dry months". "It really does rain a lot here," she insisted. When I told her I was visiting in February, she replied that I'd actually get to see Portland at its wettest. On my last evening in Portland, Anna and I went out to dinner, and she tried hard to convince me that all the stories we hear about how much rain Portland gets isn't just an attempt to keep people from moving there. I'm not buying it.

Wonderful weather was only one part of the wonderfulness that was my business trip. At one point I considered a minute-by-minute telling of my time there, but decided that you'd probably be more than a little bored after the first half-hour and it would take as much, if not more, time to write it as to experience it. Instead, I opted for one of my favorite writing devices - highlights. So, here they are, the highlights of my business trip to Portland: (in no particular order)

1. Hotel room to myself. I stayed at the Marriott Downtown Hotel and it was pretty fab-u-lous. It still had the essence of the typical hotel room but with enough tweaks to make it seem almost like a bedroom. Almost. I had two beds, one in which to sleep, the other on which to pile the goodies I acquired throughout my stay. The bed was deliciously comfortable and the pillows were divine. I only needed one pillow! Yes, they were that fab.

2. Rubbing elbows with movers and shakers. I sat next to and conversed with CEOs of huge companies, an Air Force general, scientists who pioneered the hearing conservation movement, and other highly influential people. For example, on the bus to the Friday night event (dinner and a show at the planitarium), I sat next to a very nice woman in her early 60's. We chatted, and she noticed the ribbons on my name tag that indicated I'm new to the association and the conference. She asked how I got involved in hearing conservation, and I told her how I kind of fell into it. We discussed what we find interesting in Audiology and hearing loss prevention, and she encouraged me to become more involved in the association. The next day, at the awards luncheon, she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award - only the second given in the last 20 or so years. The presenter mentioned all her accomplishments and how many of the things we do now in hearing conservation are due to her doctoral dissertation. Her husband and brother-in-law were instrumental in getting the Occupational Health and Safety Act passed; her husband was a speech writer for President Ford. And I had sat next to her on that bus having no clue. Sigh.

3. Networking. Not only did I meet prestigious people, I also met people that will help me grow this business. I met a man who is a higher-up at a hearing protection lab, and he taught me a lot about how to train employees on how to wear the ear plugs. We exchanged business cards, and he offered to help in any way possible. Incidentally, he's LDS and attended BYU. We sat by each other at the planitarium show and he noticed that I live in Utah, so he commented that he had graduated from BYU. I mentioned attending the "U" and that I wouldn't hold his alma mater against him. He laughed, and we ended up chatting for a long time. He also introduced me to other people that are "in the know" about things I need to know. It was awesome to make these contacts and build a network of people that I can turn to for information!

4. Anna. I only get to see my former missionary companion every couple years or so, so it was great to spend time with her and her family. She is married and has two darling little girls. The first night that I hung out with her, Thursday night, we went to her house and had dinner with her kids while her husband was at night classes. We talked and talked and talked and talked. It was great! Saturday night, she and I went out to dinner by ourselves - no kids - and talked some more. Anna gets me. She always has. I don't have to explain myself at all when I'm around her. There is a bond between us that is as strong as it is undefineable. I know we've known each other for an eternity. It was so great being with her again.

5. Time to relax. Okay, I didn't have a lot of time to relax because I kept pretty busy, but when I managed to have time to myself, I could relax completely. I didn't have to worry about cleaning my house, running errands, or doing any of the million things I do at home. I could just relax! I realized during this trip that my life has become off-balanced. I have so much on my plate that I have shoved off some of the things that are essential for my well-being; namely sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and quiet time. I'm not 100% sure how to rearrange my life to refit these important things, but this trip reminded me how essential it is that I do it.

6. Anthony. Someday I'll write a post without mentioning him, but it may be awhile. Sorry! Anyway, it was good to have some time away from him. Hmmm. That doesn't sound right; let me explain. Last Monday night, he came over to my house because we knew we wouldn't see each other for at least a week. We played the dice game my family loves, laughing and talking for hours. It got kind of late, so I started to say goodbye, but he told me we needed to talk. That's never good. Well, it really was in a way. Without going into details (sorry!), let me just say that he blew my mind again. He was really honest about his feelings, about his past, about what he wants for his future, his faith and beliefs, everything! I handled it fairly well while we were talking, and in return for his openess, was quite honest with him about some of my issues. When he left at 2am, he kissed me goodbye, and looked deep into my eyes and said he loves me. At one point during the talk I had questioned this, so it was like he was trying to assure me that he really does love me. After he left, I kind of freaked out. Remember, I'm off-balance and can't cope with things as well as I normally could! I didn't sleep a lot that night, and the next day I asked my boss for a blessing. It had such a calming effect, it's undescribable! Anthony texted me every night I was in Portland to see how my day had gone. We'd "chat" for a couple minutes, then he'd say good night, tell me he loves me and that he was missing me a lot. It always made my heart melt to see the words "I love you" on the screen. The blessing from my boss, Anthony's attentiveness, and a little time to ponder everything was just what I had needed. I came back ready to see what happens next and to have fun with it all.

7. Knowledge. I learned so much at this conference, it isn't even funny. I took so many notes and came up with so many ideas on how to do things better! It's going to take me a few days to process everything I learned and to develop exact strategies for implementing the new ideas. I'm excited to do it! Who would have thought I'd find a field that interests me so much? Who would have thought it would have to do with hearing? Life is funny.

So, those are the highlights. Notice how I didn't say at the start that they'd be short highlights? Can you imagine if I would have given you the minute-to-minute version??? It was a wonderful trip, and I'm already coming up with reasons for my boss to let me go next year!


Alyson said...

The whole week sounds so exciting!! I hope you are able to go each year...it sounds to me like it's worth the trip for all the information and networking. Hmmm, I may need to call you to get more info about the Anthony part.

Framed said...

You obviously will need to do another post to elaborate more on the Anthony highlight. The trip sounds wonderful. Glad you had such a good time.

James & Melissa's Family said...

What a wonderful week! Sounds like you got a lot accomplished and had a little vacation at the same time. Although I have to say that I am a little jealous, here you are being a busy buisness woman, traveling around the states,learning new things and here I am sitting at home taking care of kids and house stuff and I feel like I am not moving forward. Don't get me wrong I love my kids, my husband and what I have choosen to do with my life, but sometimes it would be nice to not have to so those things. Well I am glad that you had a fun trip. Talk to you later.

tearese said...

they do say that the majority of people end up with jobs unrelated to their majors...
sounds like the conference was great for you! I don't mind your long highlights.

Cassie said...

That is so awesome. I love how easy it is for you to talk to people (we've discussed this). I definitely want in on the Anthony info too. Wow things are a moving!

Cardine said...

Sometimes I think that I should be like you and share more things on my blog, but then when it comes down to it, I don't want to do it. But I'm really glad that you do. I appreciate hearing all about what's going on with you.

Besides, who really wants to hear about how my blood pressure is scarily low? People don't generally want to hear about what ails everyone else. (Do you like how I said it, anyway? Hee hee.)

julie said...

Hi, everyone! Thanks for the comments!

Hmmm. After some consideration, I've decided not to shed more light on the conversation Anthony and I had. Up 'til now I've been pretty open about what's going on with him, but I think I need to keep this particular part private. It's just sensitive enough and personal enough that I cringe to share it too indiscriminately. In fact, there's a lot I wouldn't be able to share even if you called me.

I'm sorry if this makes you more curious. It would me!

Of course, I'm still going to write a lot about Anthony in the future, just not this. :)

julie said...

Aly, I'm showing my boss your comment to further my argument that I should go next year! Thanks!

Framed, thanks, it WAS a good time!

Melissa, someday, if I ever have kids, your kids will be old enough that you'll be able to be doing the things I'm doing now while I stay at home with my kids. We're just on different schedules. :)

Tearese, I've heard that before and am not surprised. Fortunately, though I'm not in the economics field, per se, I find that I'm able to use a lot of what I learned in my classes at my job.

Cassie, yes, we have talked about it before, but thanks again for the compliment. :)

Cardine, as my last comment illustrates, there is a limit to how much I'll share. We just have different limits. And, I'd be interested in hearing more about your scarily low blood pressure. How scared should I be? Are you ok??

Julie, you brat! :)

Anonymous said...

Julie, did you respond to your own comment there?

I enjoy reading your blog.

julie said...

Sarah, yes I did. I didn't want to leave myself out. :) Thank you, I'm glad you do!

Alyson said...

LOL!! I love how you commented to yourself...and called yourself a brat! That was great.

julie said...

Aly, great that I commented to myself or great that I called myself a brat??? :)

Booklogged said...

So glad you shared all these wonderful highlights from your trip. I especially liked the one where you sitting and visiting with the lady on the bus and it turned out she was an honored guest.

I'm glad the weather was so good for you. I want to go to Portland sometime when it's raining just to sit in the Chinese Garden and watch it fall from the tiles. They say it is quite spectacular.

Madman said...

Does leaving a comment to respond to your own comment make it a meta-comment? Commenting about leaving a comment. Hmmmmm.

Repeating what I emailed you earlier, I'm glad things are going well for you, and I hope they keep going that way.

You deserve it!

julie said...

Book, I'd like to go to Portland when it rains, too. Just because I like the rain, but the idea of sitting in the Chinese Garden while it rains sounds lovely. I went there on my last trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. Have you seen the movie "Hero" with Jet Li? There's an AMAZING scene with rain that I think you'd like.

Mad, meta-comment, huh? Sure, why not? Especially since I'm not sure what it means. Sounds smart, though, so I say yes! :) And, thanks again, it means a lot to me.

Indy said...

HOW FUNN!!! I am glad you had fun in such a beautiful place. I have been to Portland once, and I loved it when I was there. It was in the summer, so it was really nice weather when I was there.

Madman said...

Okay, so when a writer writes a story about writing a story, it becomes meta-fiction. Singin' in the Rain is a movie about making a movie, so it becomes a meta-movie. So when you comment about commenting, it becomes a meta-comment, right?

I may be making the "meta-comment" word itself up, but it's fun and makes me sound even more intelligent than I really am.

julie said...

Mad, thanks for the explanation. "Meta-comment" sounds cool, so let's go with that. I think it's great that you made up a new word. I'm always for making up new words; I figure if Shakespear could do it, why can't I? :)

tearese said...

wow, so thats how you got 18 comments! I'm so jealous. Even though half of them are you commenting to yourself.
Cardine, I hope you're okay too! What would cause that? Knowing that Kate has Claire's baby?

julie said...

Tearese, I find that the only way I get more than a few comments is to comment on my own blog. In fact, if I can get a conversations going with another commenter(s), even more comments emerge. I've thought about padding my comment numbers by responding with one comment per commenter. Did I say that well enough to understand? Probably not. Ex: I'd have one comment for Aly then a new one for Framed, etc.

Then I remembered that I don't blog for the comments - they are the cherries on top. Speaking of cherries - check out Cardine's blog with the fantastic background!