Where in the world have I been? Boston, for one of two work conferences I attend each year (thankfully it's only two because: 1) I don't much care to travel on my own and 2) they are exhausting). Now every time I go away for one of these, everyone always says how I lucky I am as if it's some kind of paid vacation. Um, really, no. I get up in the morning about 6 a.m., get ready for the day (okay so the coffee in the room is definite plus - the last couple of trips had Keurig machines in the room and I was in heaven to have coffee ready to go every morning so easily), then log into work for an hour doing things that have to be done every morning. Then I go down to the first session of the day and spend three or four hours (depending on the morning schedule) in sessions learning about stuff. Then, it's lunch, usually with a different group of people everyday where I have to be social (something that doesn't come very easily to me, but I guess I fake it okay). Then a quick trip back to the room to check the e-mail, voicemail, etc. if I have time. Otherwise, it's try to take care of that while in the afternoon session of four or more hours. Once that's over, I usually get about an hour or so before dinner where (yes, you got it), back on work e-mail to take care of what popped up since lunch that has to be done before everyone back home leaves for the day. Then dinner with another group of people and then usually a drink or two with some others. Then back to the room to do all the work that accumulated during the day that couldn't be taken care of in bits and pieces earlier. Most days, that means working until the database kicks me off at 1 a.m. Then, hopefully, right to bed so I can get up at 6 a.m. So, for me, conferences mean I do most everything I do on a normal day at the office crammed in between sessions for seven or eight hours a day and anywhere from 3 to 7 hours networking depending on the day. By the time it all gets over, I am TIRED.
I do get to see a little bit of the city, but that's usually in a taxi on the way to dinner wherever the group had chosen to go or, if I'm really lucky, some of that socializing includes a shopping trip to see what the "big city" has to offer. That is one definite perk of the same people coming every year; I really do make some friends (which has made the social component much easier), including a fellow scrapbooker. Although I must say that I really am surprised that even though we do typically go to very large cities (San Francisco, Boston, St. Louis, San Diego, Orlando, etc.) I never can seem to find a lot of scrapbooking stores within a reasonable distance from our hotel (although I've made it to Archivers at the Mall of America and in the Galleria Mall in St. Louis through a brave foray on various versions of public transportation). I was excited because there was supposed to be a local scrapbooking store on Newbury street not far from our hotel, but it apparently closed because we never could find it (although I found a fabulous pet boutique to get a little something for the furballs). But we did find some bits and pieces in a paper store not far away (where I bought my first bottle of Mister Huey's - how behind the times am I?)
So next up is San Antonio in February. I was there when the other conference was there in 2000. In fact, that's where I met one of my closest friends that attends these conferences (the fellow scrapbooker) and it was really fun to talk about getting to go back to the "scene of the crime" so to speak next year. But for now, I'll take the next nearly six months to recover from this week (and I think I need it too). In addition to the long days, there was night construction right outside my window. So just about the time I would be ready to fall asleep, there always seemed to be some commotion outside that would wake me up. So this time, I think I averaged about 3 hours of sleep a day...
But let's get to something a little more fun. I was surfing through Pinterest a while ago and saw an adorable pin on using candy in a message. So although I had made a card for the hubby to find after I left already, I decided to do a little more this time and leave him a card a day and, although he uploaded them to Facebook as he found them each day, I thought I would share them here now: