Conferences

The national conference for the Society of Human Resource Management was last week.  Thirteen thousand HR types descended on Orlando for a few days of education, bonding and booze.  Because that’s what conferences are for.  That and the recertification credits.

Not all HR people like this conference.  Some think it is just too big.  Too big to network and too expensive to be practical.  I love it, and I am extremely grateful to my awesome employer for continuing to send me.  Truth be told, I don’t do enough networking.  I jam in as many sessions as possible, have dinner with a colleague and then fall into bed exhausted. I can’t imagine anything more boring than having to listen to someone talk about all the great stuff she learned at a conference, but there are a few things I want to note, for myself, for future reference:

First, Cy Wakeman.  The author of Reality Based Leadership, which I have not yet read, did a great session on the theme of Ditching the Drama.  Which, hello.  I need to keep top of mind.  There were two thoughts so poignant that I tweeted them.

Stop judging, start helping.

Sooooo hard to stop judging.  But I am working on it.  The “start helping” makes it a better mantra.  At the same time, my job makes me a sort of professional coach and I have to balance the validation of feelings with the Reality.  “Stop judging, start helping” is a phrase I might be able to adopt.

Would you rather be right or be happy?

If my damage as a human being could be summed up in one line, that might be it.  I should have this tattooed on my wrist.

It’s not that I make a ton of poor decisions.  I am a completely functional person and I don’t create a whole lot of drama myself.  I absolutely get impatient, but I don’t look for things to get upset about – particularly at work.  However.  I am very easily sucked into other people’s drama and if my head is not in the game I am liable to express every feeling that I have right in the moment I am having it.  Bad form.

Another thing about conferences is the BOOKS.  I read Social Gravity, by Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen.  The piece of advice they gave that resonated with me was to start answering those phone calls that I don’t want to answer.  Start taking the meetings.  It is not a crime to try to sell something, and sometimes those calls turn into contacts and those contacts turn into relationships.  Investing some more time isn’t going to kill me.

Then I came home, filed my application to renew my certification, and got back to work.  I remember seeing a statistic once about how very little is retained from the average training/development session.  Maybe blogging it will help this year.

Wyoming

I was in Wyoming for a conference last week.  Why would we have  a conference in Wyoming?  Because two years ago, the people from Wyoming offered, and I sorta shouted, “I’ve never been to Wyoming!  I would love to go there!”  And the rest of the room nodded in agreement and then we took it to a vote.  Eight of us flew in on Friday and did a full day tour – some of Yellowstone and some of Teton National Park.  The weather was cold and rainy, but it was still gorgeous.  Here are some pics.

 

Boston and the Freedom Trail

I arrived on Friday, in the last hours of the manhunt for Suspect #2.  Kristin picked me up at the airport and we spent some time with her parents before heading up to her home in New Hampshire.  Saturday, as Boston tried to return to “normal” we decided to hike the Freedom Trail.  Up North, it starts at the Bunker Hill monument and snakes around the historic sites until you get to Boston Common.  There is an actual red line in the road – sometimes brick and sometimes painted – that you can follow so that you aren’t continually looking at a map.  We actually started at the USS Constitution Museum, made our way down to Boston Common, took the T up to Bunker Hill and then back down to the car.  The parking was easier that way.  So.  The pictures.  Please note, MOM, that the North Church is in the background of the Revere statue.

Around Kona

The idea for staying in town was that there are plenty of walkable places to go, so as to eliminate the need for a rental car.  First, we have the Hulihe’e Palace (run by the Daughters of Hawaii):

Palace

 

Pictures are not allowed inside, but it is a lovely place across the bay from the hotel.  It only has six rooms, and no plumbing.  But the hardwood is gorgeous and the view is fabulous.  Apparently, Princess Ruth would actually sleep outside in a tent.  There is also a hen and rooster that seem to live there.  Across the street is the site of the first Christian church:

Church2

 

The missionaries arrived in 1820, just after the death of Kamehameha the Great.  This structure was built in 1838.  It is a very simple and pretty building that continues to offer Sunday services.  About a half block down the road is the place where I went for Italian sodas most days and this is my friend the gecko:

Gecko2

 

See how they made him a table of his own?  Directly across from that was one of those trees that I can’t get over:

Tree

 

On the way back is a small public beach.  There are always a few early birds, that seem to swim before heading to work (including a volunteer at Hulihe’e Palace) but on Saturday it was totally jammed with people.  And two dogs:

Dogs

 

The tri-color is a terrier of some sort and his person would toss a ball into the water for him to swim out and retrieve.  It seemed like everyone in Kona had a dog, including the homeless people.  Last, we have the view out the back of the hotel.  I think this is where they would hold the luaus.  It looks like a place for a human sacrifice:

Hotel Beach

 

I am glad that I stayed in town this time, but I am not sure I would do it again.  The cruise ships dropped anchor there and the crowds were horrendous.  Also, there was some pretty unpleasant construction noise.  If I end up back on the big island, I will go back to staying up north.

The Tour

I planned to take a twilight tour of the volcano, but abandoned the idea for two reasons:

  1. The first tour company was completely booked for the entire week.
  2. I learned that these tours are small groups travelling in vans.  I was not 100% sure that I wouldn’t get motion sickness climbing the mountain in a van.

So I opted for the Big Island Circle Tour – a full day tour that goes around the entire island, including the volcano.  The weather wasn’t cooperating, but I made the pilgrimage to Pele or whatever and took a few pics:

Black Sand Beach2

 

The black sand beach was very pretty.  The sand felt perfectly normal.

Crater

 

The volcano crater.  I am sure I have better shots of it from prior trips, though.

Lava Tube

The lava tube was really icky in the rain.  (Dude, you know what that looks like?  The dungeons in Jabba’s Palace.)

 

Waterfall2

 

Rainbow Falls were fabulous.

Sunset

 

And from the bus on the way back – the only time I really saw the sunset.  And the driver wouldn’t stop talking so we could enjoy it.

Overall, it was very worth the price – $100 for 12 hours of entertainment.  Tip: book online for a discount.  And bring a jacket.

Pool Etiquette

I was going to write a nice post with pictures of yesterday’s tour, but this morning’s time at the hotel pool changed my mind.  I don’t spend much time poolside, but in this hotel it is the only good place to sit outside and read.  All of these things actually happened, albeit not all on this same trip.  So.  The rules obviously start with No Talking on the Damn Phone:

  1. No calling your children.  (“And what are you doing today? Mommy misses you!”)
  2. No bragging to your friends.  (“You should see the sun right now!  It’s gorgeous!”) (This woman actually made three calls in the two hours I was sitting next to her. I got into the pool to get away from her.)
  3. No ordering out for pizza.  (Seriously.  Dude had to call information first, then call the pizza place.)

In fact, the only acceptable reason to talk in a cell phone is an actual emergency.  Even if you need to coordinate your little party, you can bloody well do it in the bar where you will be somewhat less disturbing.

Next we have the “No Bogarting the Chairs” rules.  I arrived at the pool at 7:45 this morning and the pool opens at 8am.  There were two other people sitting and reading while the staff was doing their chemical and whatever checks, but more than half of the deck chairs were already reserved with towels.  Not even stuff.  Just towels.  Many of these people weren’t there by 9am.  So.  Anne’s Law:  Unless you are actually in the pool, there is a 20 minute limit on holding a chair.  More than enough time for running back to your room, going potty, or hitting the sundry store for snacks or magazines.  Or making a phone call.  Seriously, this is why some hotels are charging $50 to hold chairs for people.

  1. You will not reserve your chairs and then head for the breakfast buffet.
  2. You will not reserve a chair for your husband while he goes snorkeling.  For two hours.
  3. You will not reserve chairs for your three friends – in fact – no one is allowed to reserve more than one chair.  For up to 20 minutes.
  4. You will not reserve a chair for a friend that isn’t even awake yet.  We know that you can’t go anywhere else until hangover girl gets up, but that doesn’t mean you should hold a chair for her.

Interestingly, the children seem to be the best behaved in the pool.  They will share chairs, they try not to splash people, they share their toys with the other kids and they leave when they get hungry.  Just one rule for them:

  1. No Marco Polo

After a Long Travel Day

I am awake at 4am.  Because that’s how it works.

I don’t talk much on airplanes anymore, because I really want to use the time to sleep.  I think I disappointed the lady sitting next to me yesterday.  She was sitting three rows behind her husband, who spent the entire nine hours talking to the retired couple sitting next to him.

Speaking of retired couples..they are just as entitled and nasty as anyone else.  I have come to the conclusion that all Americans are like this and it has little to do with age.  I once thought that little old ladies (particularly in the South) kill you with kindness to get what they want.  But no.  They can be downright mean, too.  But the true gem of the day came from a tattooed guy around my own age as we checked into the hotel at the same time:

Him:  I’m with the band.

Me:     (Rolling eyes)

Her:   We’re glad to have you.

Him:  Can you get me a room with a view?

Her:   I’m sorry, we’re completely booked tonight.

Him:  Well..just switch me with someone that hasn’t checked in yet.

Her:   …  You know, those people paid extra for their rooms.

Him:  Oh.

That was when I headed to the elevator.  Clueless about the economics of travel and the line between “it doesn’t hurt to ask” and being a total ass?  But speaking of that..I may have reached the point where I would be willing to pay something extra for a view.  Because my balcony looks out directly over the front entrance.  Where people are coming and going and making noise.  I am clearly not going to spend any time sitting out there with a book.  So my first assignment this morning – when the sun comes up – will be to find a good place on property to read a book.

So.  Back in Kona.  (As always, don’t bother to try to rob my house.  There are people, dogs and ADT there.)  This time, I elected to stay in town and save on the rental car.  The old King Kamehameha Hotel is now a Marriott Courtyard.  Apparently, it was redone after a storm in 2011.  The cab driver said it is a fine location and there is a little shuttle that will take you from one end of town to the other for $2.00.  Also, this time I plan to head to the volcano on one of the twilight tours.  And I will eat papaya every day.