Thursday, October 04, 2012

Girl Conference Recap

I've been in Arizona this week for the best networking event. I'm lucky to get to participate, as a lowly policy manager it is somewhat unusual to have cocktails with the chief information security officers from all over the country.

The content of the meetings during the day are compelling and interesting. The evening events are fun. I danced last night for about three hours. Today my thighs are mad at me.

I arrived Monday after picking up my rented convertible camaro. Sounds cool right? Well, the issue was I had two other people in my carpool. We HAD to have the top down which means we lost 80% of the trunk space.

Normally, I'm a conservative packer and can manage to limit my travel items to only those that fit into a backpack. I didn't even try to limit myself for this conference. I brought bagzilla. My thought was that's I would need the three shoe options (true) and my full hair salon (true) and that it would be great to be able to pack the swag rather than carry it on. So, in the back "seat" of the Camaro my suitcase took up 90% of the room and our tiny Chinese co-worker. Angel is thankfully an itty bitty person, but she only brought a small satchel. It would have been sad to have to request a bigger, more boring car.

The ride in was fun, we managed to find good 70's rock music to blast as we zipped down the freeway in the hot sun. For the record, I could never live here. I love the sun, but a place that is 103 in October would be too much for me. Plus, I would never be able to afford to live at this amazing resort hotel. I suppose I could work as a maid and the I could be here everyday, but I doubt they would appreciate the amount of time I intend to spend at the pool.

After checking in and dumping my gigantic bag in the room I headed to the spa for my appointment. Let me say that I almost didn't book a spa appointment. The guilt of leaving Jason and Lucy behind to fly to summer, sleep in a glorious room where someone else makes the bed is pretty high, so adding on a therapeutic hot-rock massage feels selfish and indulgent. Somehow I was able to set that aside and I don't regret it. The secret benefit of the spa treatment is gaining access to the private mineral pool, the secluded hot tub, the outdoor showers and other serene spaces limited to other people soaking in the zen.

Floating in the mineral pool with only my nose and eyes out of the water allowed me to shut out all the to do lists, mommy tasks, work requirements and pressures. Sure, it was only for a few moments, but taking those moments to listen to my own heartbeat and breathing is restorative. The hot rock thing was lovely too. I start out super chatty with the therapist, but 20 minutes in I was in the zone and just focused on the muscle movement. Bliss

Reluctantly I re-entered the real world and went to the hotel patio to meet up with the other attendees. As loud and confident as I am, walking into a gaggle (or murder) of people whom I don't really know to sit down to chat it outside my comfort level. But, I'm a grown up and did it. I. Immediately ran into a friend and we ended up having a relaxing dinner. See, set your fear and insecurity aside and good things happen.

The next morning I had a yummy breakfast on the patio outside my room. (Why would i go home? Oh yeah, the family...). The conference activity started in earnest and for three days amazing women talked about risk, technology, time, confidence, leadership and shoes.

The social events are certainty a draw. Last night we dressed up, had cocktails and danced until my feet exploded. I'm super sore today, I'm sure it was the dancing, but taking a nose dive in the lobby at 8:30 am yesterday didn't help.

I'm headed home today. Leaving this desert paradise is bittersweet. Tomorrow will be a full work day and there will be lots of laundry to do, but I'll get to have dinner with my family and play with Lucy for a few hours. It's not floating in a mineral pool, but it's my life. My amazing, lucky life.

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