In the last week, I've been to Chicago and back. By car. Actually, over the course of four and a half actual days.
That ought to explain why blogging's been light. Which it does, though the light blogging was somewhat unintentional as it coincided with some technical problems (Hello, Google! The new Blogger publishing thingie does not seem to work with my CHROME browser. Just sayin'--as I'm blogging again from Safari just fine.)
Why Chicago? I went to attend and participate in the Chicago Objectivist Society's first conference . This makes, if you're playing along at home, FOUR conferences for me this year! Two conferences (SnowCon and the Chicago MiniCon) I participated in as a speaker only, and one I spoke at and also helped to throw (ATLOSCon), and one I went as a regular attendee (OCON).
Dude, that's a lot of conferences! But fun.
Here's something I noticed that is common to all four: I never have nearly enough time to hang out with people. Perhaps this is due to something I'm doing wrong, or maybe it's endemic to conferencing in general. Really what I think I want is to go to all of the conferences, and then also to have just a big vacation somewhere with my favorite people.
Anyway, it was great to see everyone again, even though I feel like I barely spent any time with any of you. And it was great to meet lots of people for the first time, even though I feel like I barely spent any time with you!
The best part of this conference is that although Chicago is somewhat inconveniently located from Atlanta, my in-laws live there, and so we brought the kids up to Nonnie's for the weekend. They had a BALL, though I think Nonnie (and Auntie and Uncle) were all a bit tired by the time we returned to rescue see them. And since our anniversary is in a couple of weeks, we considered two nights away from the kids in order to attend a conference a lovely anniversary celebration.
A detour in Indianapolis on the way up found us at a fast food place right next door to my old pediatrician's office. No joke. He was the guy who stitched up my head when I was five.
Our travel days were hectic (especially our arrival day), but the kids mainly handled the long hours in the car with grace and aplomb. And I now have Phineas & Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension completely memorized. Which is not a bad thing at all.
About an hour after learning about Louis Sullivan from my friend Earl Parson , we (accidentally) found one of his buildings, right there in Chicago, imagine that! I was really rather ridiculously (and surprisingly) excited about that.
I got to take a Touching the Art Tour with Luc Travers for the first time! I played it cool, but he nearly made me cry with an observation about a painting of Elaine. Also, Nathan Hale was pretty cool.
I learned about the difference between anxiety and fear (and got a dose of self-revelation, too), heard a nice talk about rational responses to making mistakes (very much in line with Yippee Mistakes!), learned some things about asset protection (and have a to-do list along those lines), and listened to a fascinating talk about gold and fiat currency.
My talk about using tools from Positive Discipline in all of your relationships (not just with kids) went pretty well, I think, and some discussion afterwards has given me some ideas on how to improve it for next time. It felt weird to be up there without Kelly, but I represented Cultivating the Virtues just fine. :D If you were in attendance, I'd love some feedback about my talk, the delivery as well as content.
Always fun to meet other Objectivists, and I most especially enjoyed the conversations I had with other group leaders. I think it's awesome that so many community groups are popping up all over the country and that we are all getting to know each other in person. These regional conferences are an excellent way to network and swap ideas and thus make things even more awesome all around!
I drank wine for the first time in about seven weeks! It was pretty good, but I don't now crave it like I'd imagined I might. So that's good, because sadly, it's pretty clear that wine consumption wasn't doing me any favors in the losing weight department. Hmph.
I ate a Reese's peanut butter cup for the first time in many years. That was a bad thing, for it was better than I ever remembered and I want to eat them all the time, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Only Ryan's peanut allergy is stopping me from inhaling these all over the place. Well, they aren't really good for you either. Yeah, that's what's stopping me.
There's more--those are the highlights, as I said. We'll definitely do it again. I was happy to attend and happy to participate.
It was great to get to go to Chicago, great to attend the conference, and great to see our family up there, too. And now I'm looking forward to a great fall with a whole lot of regular routine going on. I think I'm all done traveling for a while.
Unless I can somehow swing things so I can go to the NYOS conference in November. :D