Omaha is growing on me only insofar as there actually seems to be good eating, to my surprise. There is this fabulous mediterranean place right near the office. The cold, though, is bitter. It is peeling my face off. I’ve always considered dermabrasion for my acne scars, but this is ridiculous. I’m also amused by the directions I sometimes get. “Go downhill.” I swear there is NO hill. It’s more like…a gentle incline that goes for about 3-4 long blocks. I have no idea what they’re talking about when they refer to hills. I mean…I guess it’s not TOTALLY flat, but to a San Franciscan, when they refer to driving ‘uphill’ and I look for ‘uphill’, it’s really quite funny. The people are incredibly nice, and my co-workers on this project are downright incredible. It makes the 7am - 11pm days worth it…though I’m just plain tuckered out. Tomorrow, I go home. I get home around 11pm, then turnaround and get on a flight at 8am the next morning to Salt Lake, and then head back to Omaha. *sigh* I think I’ll leave all my clothes here to get drycleaned for next week. I really dislike the wind…it cuts through everything and leaves one chilled to the bone. It’s quite possibly the only time I exit a door and RUN to the car to jump into it. It amuses my co-workers a great deal. And I am here through February/March. Joy.
The project is FUN. I really feel like we’re going to make the lives of the people in this whole service center better being here. We’ve got this incredible, dynamic team. My main partner, Randy, is tons of fun to chat with. He’s an older guy, from Seattle, whose expertise is in employee driven innovation. His other area of expertise is mythology and Arthurian legend, and he’s trekked all over the British Isles on his own quest. He wants to follow the whole grail path back to Jerusalem. He’s very cool, and we had some great conversations today, including touching on really sensitive issues like race and religion and politics. Another person on our project is Bethmarie, from Phoenix, Arizona…her background is in clinical psychology and she’s trained in NLP. Then there’s Phil from San Diego, who is just wonderful, a career public speaker and trainer, who has the best stories and always sets us laughing. We’ve been going to dinner every night before working more at the hotel, and we find all sorts of yummy places…so that aspect is really nice, that we can work and play together. We’ve got the larger team coming in next week, so lots of good things are happening. And we’re all from these warm weather places, stuck in Omaha this winter. My role on this team is as sort of hub, integrator, and manager of all process and data and knowledge in this 11-person consullting team, keeping an eye on the entire thing.
I had people over last weekend for a birthday party. I can’t describe what a powerful feeling it is to have so many people one loves in the same room. It still makes me warm and fuzzy, even in Omaha. I think I finally got the chance to express to the people there what it means to me to have them in my life. I started working on the words to tell people so the week before, staying up late every night and it was totally silly but I literally cried myself to sleep, swollen, puffy, icky, glued-together eyes and everything every night to get into the emotional space to even try to find words. I’m not a writer. Many of my friends are, but I think people got what I meant. It’s a profound thing to know weeping as intense in joy as in grief…The song “For Good” from the musical “Wicked” comes into my mind. One thing I really appreciate is that my parents got to meet my friends too. I frequently conflict with them, they don’t see me very often…some people went up to them to tell them that I made a difference. Shannon went up to her to tell her that apparently I’m something of a story in my school, and that I’m known for mentoring the people in the classes below me and that I really helped her get through grad school. My mom said it really meant a lot to her to get to meet my friends, which really enjoyed and said they’re remarkable people, and she was proud of me. Hearing my mom and dad say that really meant a lot to me. And Brad did SO much…mom and Brad with all the cooking and baking…I’m just grateful. I think it was my nicest birthday ever, even if I was terribly nervous. I always feel naked trying to convey how I feel to people, and to let myself not care if it sounded mushy. I was really touched by the people who came a distance to make it…from the south bay and Monterey area, from LA, from Sacramento, even my father-in-law who came in that morning and left the following morning to go back to Virginia.
So…emotional times…I slept like a log til noon and hauled my ass out to my Women in Management reunion brunch which I loved. Two hours spent with women I mentored for two years, and it was SO lovely to see their faces, hear their voices. We updated each other on each others’ lives, what was going on…the ups and downs. They sang happy birthday to me, which was really sweet…and I had this moment of looking around their faces and just feeling glad to have been around to watch them develop in the couple years I got to know them over. We had a moment when they looked at me for permission to do something, since I was their facilitator, and then we all laughed because I don’t have that role anymore, ‘off the clock’ so to speak. But it was still a special, sacred place…where a few of them brought up things they haven’t told others because it’s still a safe, non-judgemental circle to just speak and be in. I went home and promptly went back to sleep, and only woke up late enough to pack my bags for my 6am Monday flight to Omaha.
Life is good, even in Omaha. I feel like I’m doing better at consulting, more in my stride than last year. Overwhelmed, utterly exhausted, but I’m still exercising 1/2 an hour every day and avoiding the pizza and goodies, taking better care of my health, trying not to eat all this crap. You may think it’s nice to eat out every night but it’s incredibly difficult to stay healthy on the road. We’re coming up with ideas to help each other, like packing almonds so we don’t hit the twinkie bin at the client site. My eyes hurt because I was in the pool tonight which is overchlorinated. Must remember goggles in the future.
I told the female exec I’m working with about my passion about women in leadership roles and we had this phenomenal conversation about it…she’d like to get me involved, so who knows where this may go. I don’t really care if it goes anywhere, but the energy was good around the conversation. I love talking to women who are leaders, helping women develop their skills and capabilities. I can definitely feel like I’m more confident now this year than I was even last year in engaging the clients, getting up in front of them, being in conversation with them…It’s good. :) Now if only I could actually get sleep. In my own bed. Because it’s COLD here and I miss my own office, with my own desk, and my husband to keep my toes warm!!