Monday, March 14, 2011

SnowCon 2011

Just like I did last year after MiniCon, I want to write about my SnowCon memories while they're still fresh in my mind.

I skipped all of the winter sports stuff, which I heard was tons of fun. Maybe next time. Brendan and the kids dropped me off at the airport at a ridiculously early hour on Friday, and while I was excited about my trip, I was also already feeling a little homesick. I felt pretty homesick the whole time, to tell the truth (that feeling probably wouldn't have been so overwhelming if Brendan hadn't spent the previous weekend away from us). Brendan tweeted tons of pictures of their adventures (which, as far as I can tell, mainly involved going to IKEA and playing tons of mini-golf) so that really helped me not miss them all quite so hard.

Once in Denver, I met up with Earl and Qwertz. I couldn't wait to meet Qwertz in person for the first time--he has long been one of my bloggy friends. And he is super great in person (of course!). Earl was awesome, as always. :)

After we dealt with the usual airport/rental car stuff, we got Q & Earl checked into their hotel and found a sports bar, where, naturally, we all got out our knitting. :) I wish I had a picture of that.

After a while, Kelly and Aaron and William (another long-time online friend I've been dying to meet) met us and then we headed to another place for Happy Hour. There, I met SO many people I'd never met before (forgive me if I leave anyone out): Diana, Paul, Kelly & Santiago, Arthur, Sarah, Don, Maryallene, Ari & Jennifer, Tom, Lisa, just tons of people. Saw some old friends, too: Travis & Colleen who are here in Atlanta, and Chris, a friend from college.

I was pretty tired that night--hell, I was pretty tired for the whole thing--so I don't remember too much other than laughing and joking around a lot. Paul & Diana put me up at their house (thank you!) and we escaped the party a bit early to crash and get a semi-decent night's sleep.

Saturday was the day of workshops. Diana's talk about cultivating moral character got Kelly and me so excited that we had to skip the next lecture to enhance our own speech. So we missed Paul's talk about the right to bear arms, and rejoined the group for a lecture about Madison and Hamilton. We all split up for lunch and luckily found ourselves in the restaurant that did NOT have bagpipers! After lunch I went to a panel discussion by Ari and Paul about activism in general and then I attended their workshop for writing letters to the editor.

And then, suddenly, our talk was next.

OMG, the nervousness. We both felt it and tried to keep each other calm. We know the material. We were well-prepared. Our audience was highly predisposed to enjoy the content even if we sucked at the delivery of it. But still, we were both pretty nervous.

We had dinner before the lecture. And by "had dinner" I mean, "picked at my food" and talked nervously to the people at my table. More than one person suggested a glass of wine to chill me down, but I stuck to water. I did mention that a margarita afterward would be welcome (we were in a Mexican restaurant) and Chris remembered that comment, because only about two seconds after our talk was over, a margarita magically appeared in my hands. :) (Thanks!)

So all of that nervousness really paid off because . . . our lecture went really well! We both felt really comfortable up there, and we both thought everything flowed really well. Kelly and I work and speak so well together, and I think that aspect really shone through that night. The audience was engaged, and even though there were many jokes, I think everyone understood that we are very serious about our message about how Positive Discipline tools complement using and modeling Objectivist virtues very, very well.

After the talk, margaritas in hand, Kelly and I answered questions and chatted with other members of the audience. I met even more new-to-me people that night: Monica & Robb, Hannah & Doug, Richard (who is familiar with Lynne Lott's work!), Anders & Maria, Steve, Stephen, Brad, Kirk, Jen & Brian, Todd...oh I know I'm leaving others out! Everyone was so nice and welcoming and I was so glad to meet you.

Sunday morning, we got to catch the live show of the Rationally Selfish webcast, which was more fun live than it is online (so, Diana, now you've got to somehow make this into a traveling thing and do live shows more often!). We listened to Santiago give a great talk about immigration.

And then it was time to go. :( I'd planned to go shooting with some of the SnowConners, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I was feeling kind of sad about the conference being over, while simultaneously wishing I could miraculously transport myself back to Atlanta. I needed a nice quiet afternoon (and, if my understanding is correct, shooting isn't all that quiet) so Kelly, Colleen, and Travis and I hung out and talked until it was time to go to the airport.

SnowCon was fabulous. Thanks to Diana and Kelly V and everyone for their hard work in pulling it off, and for inviting me and Kelly to be a part of it. Just like with MiniCon, I was so happy to be surrounded by other people who share the same values I do. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of being there, in a little microcosm of how the world is supposed to be. I was overwhelmed by how much I missed my family, because when they are not there, that microcosm of awesome is lot less awesome. I knew I'd miss them, but I had no idea just how much.

I'm glad to be back home to my own little microcosm of how the world is supposed to be--and is. :)

Still, I can't stop thinking about all of the things that happened at SnowCon, what we talked about, connections made and renewed, accomplishments achieved, and most of all, spending time with awesome, rational, hilarious people!

And now I get to work on our own conference, which I know will be just fabulously awesome! Because even though SnowCon is over, ATLOSCon is next. The Con is dead! Long live the Con!

Now I'm going to go hang out with my kids and husband and hug on them and be overwhelmed by them. So it might be a couple of days before I'm back on here.


mirandabarzey said...

Yay! This makes me even more excited for ATLOSCon! I can't wait to see the PD lecture for myself.

Hanah said...

It sounds like a really great time! I'm sorry I missed it, and as Miranda said, I'm also very excited for the Atlanta version.

This post and the previous two also got me thinking about how different my parenting experience is from yours in terms of travel. I never really conceptualized my life this way, but Sasha and I actually both do a _lot_ of traveling, both for work and pleasure. Most of it is traveling separately from each other. So the solo experience and the solo parenting experience that were so rare for you are something that we experience, on average, about once a month.

I'm not sure whether I can draw any great insights from that, but it's at least interesting.

Tori said...

Woohoo! So glad you had a good time. I wish we could have gone, but even if it weren't for the Traveling Is Difficult With A Baby thing, David had a (much more boring) conference to attend himself. We're looking forward to ATLOSCon, or the portion of it we'll be able to attend!

Paul Hsieh said...

BTW, it was a real pleasure meeting you, Kelly, Aaron, Travis, Colleen, et al.

Diana and I look forward to coming out to Atlanta soon (assuming we can handle all that excess oxygen...)

We hope you have a good bagpipe band lined up as well! ;-)