I was sure I was going to get pegged for secondary security screening, since my (very full) suitcase contains about 10 lbs of a fruit... and a hard hat. But security didn't bat an eye. We didn't actually get to go into the power plant today, but they had hats and goggles and ear plugs for us just in case, and they let us take them home if we wanted. Will be a very good giftie for Liam!

We did, however, get to play in the control room simulator. They have an exact duplicate of the reactor control room that they use for training and testing, and we got to push buttons and see what happens and try to figure out how to fix it. The usual answer is - do nothing at all. In a catastrophic failure, it's better to let the automatic systems handle things - humans only mess things up. If the operator in Three Mile Island hadn't touched any buttons, we wouldn't even know the name of that plant today.

Another very interesting visit, and a really interesting program. Some good quotes from the students, although nothing quite so heartrending as at the meatpacking house.

This is the last trip I have on my schedule until February, although it's likely that I'll have a visit to either Georgia or Chicago (Joliet, actually) in January for another site visit. It will be nice to have a long stretch of time home! I've had a lot of fun out here on the road, but I'm ready to be done now.

Well, they're boarding my flight now. See you on the otherside!
Well, done with the meeting parts, anyway. I'm sitting in the airport, waiting for my plane to take off. Hoping weather won't delay us getting into Detroit - Denver looks okay.

It was an interesting visit. Quite different from the others that I've been too, so hard to figure out how it fits into what we're trying to do. But definitely some interesting things coming out of it, and maybe even some future sales opportunities to explore.

But, man, long long days. Spent with someone who really loves the sound of his own voice. Now, he's interesting and passionate and has a lot of great stories to tell, but two days of it did get a bit rough. But he was willing to go looking for the car wash that's supposed to serve the best chile relleno in El Paso with me, so you've got to give him credit for that![1] In turn, I had to go check out his church and the math and science magnet school he's built there.

And of course, always having to be "on." No more senior colleague to hide behind - all me, all the time. Stressful, but always a good reminder that I know more than I think I do and am capable of more than I think I am.

[1]I hadn't ever had chile relleno before, so I can't tell you if they were the best, but they were really good. As were the corn tortillas - they weren't even handmade, but they were still the best I've ever had. Tasted like good fresh sweet corn.
I got up at 5:30-ish, and left my house at about 6:15. I finally got to my hotel last night at 10 pm local time, which was midnight body time. Ugh.

In between, I flew to Denver, where it was 14 degrees and snowing. My flight into El Paso was delayed so they could de-ice the little plane we were flying on, and I landed about an hour later than scheduled. Then I spent they day meeting with people and facilitating group discussions, trying to both listen and take notes. My last meeting finished up around 7:30, and then I went out for dinner with my contact at the community college. Got lost getting to my hotel, but did finally make it. For some reason, they ended up putting me into a suite (maybe all they had left given my late arrival?) but there was no net access in my room. Probably for the best, as I could just fall into bed and not get sucked into the Internet. Sadly, thanks to my internal body clock, I was awake by 5. :-(

When I arrived in El Paso yesterday, it was sunny and about 60 degrees, and very windy. But I'd looked ahead on the weather report and knew there was a cold front coming through, so I packed accordingly. I could probably make good money today if I were willing to sell my winter coat - I've already had a couple of people make envious comments and offer to take care of it for me...

Today's schedule is shaping up to be nearly as miserable. We are ending up only visiting one employer this morning, so theoretically I could be done by around 11 or noon. My flight isn't scheduled to leave until 4 pm, and as far as I can tell there's not another one I can take to get home any earlier (although I am about to call my travel agent and see if she has any magic for me). I'm scheduled to land in Detroit at 11:35 pm, but with changing planes in Denver again and cold weather sweeping across the nation, I'm worried about delays.
The colleague who was supposed to be coming with me on my El Paso trip has spent the last 18 hours or so vomiting, so won't be joining me on the trip. Which will definitely make it a) less fun and b) more difficult. It's hard to both facilitate a discussion and take the notes. I'm going to email my contact in El Paso and hope that he can find someone to take supplemental notes, and otherwise I'll just play it by ear.

I'm at the airport in Detroit, waiting to board my plane.
After my last post ("To Sleep or Not to Sleep") I went upstairs and took a bath. Then I lied down in bed for a little while, but my mind was racing too much to go to sleep. Taking the advice of [livejournal.com profile] encorecrazay and [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha - caffeine now, sleep later - seemed like the best course of action. Unfortunately, the only caffeine we had in the house was (blech) diet. (I don't drink coffee or tea.)

Cohousing to the rescue! I sent out an email to the community list and Ted responded to tell me that there was Coke in his garage and gave me his access code. Suitably caffeinated, I made it into work, although I can definitely tell I am not going to be a very functional worker this afternoon. I think I will go to my meeting and do some administrative things I need to do - like fill out my timesheet - then maybe head home a little early. It would be better if I could start typing up notes from yesterday's site visit, but we'll see.
I had a ten o'clock conference call this morning. It wasn't until I called and got no answer on the other end that I realized that when the person in El Paso said ten o'clock, she meant *mountain time*. Which is noon here. Oops. Luckily I'm available then too.

Between then and now I need to buckle down and type up notes from the last site visit I went on - I leave on Sunday for the next site visit, and if I don't get this first one written up before I go, I'll almost certainly get them confused.


Nov. 16th, 2006 05:03 pm
It's very good to be home. I was able to get an earlier flight this morning, which meant I had time to drop by the office briefly before going to get a long overdue haircut. I decided to pick Liam up from daycare early rather than go back into the office - I head out again on Sunday, and he deserves some extra mom time. Of course, the first thing he wanted to do when we got home was watch a show, so I'm letting him do that and we'll get some play time in when he's done.

The last day of facilitation went pretty well. The group continued to have a really hard time focusing, but we did make progress, and they left with some goals, outcomes and strategies. Now they have to attach the who, what, where and why to all those things. We'll see how *that* goes.

After we (finally!) finished debriefing from all the meetings, I went off to the Mall of America with Sarah from the NGA. She had to stay over because of a different meeting the next day. We've worked together at a couple meetings right now, and we had an absolute BLAST at the Mall. As previously reported, we rode a rollercoaster. And we bought shoes and looked (unsuccessfully) for purses. It was a fun afternoon of girly bonding.

Unfortunately, many of the people who I'd try to line up arrangements to see when I was in town dropped out as the week wore on, so dinner was a low-key affair with just [livejournal.com profile] davidschroth and [livejournal.com profile] lsanderson in attendance. Larry was kind enough to loan me a bed for the night, and drop me off at the airport this morning.

And now I'm home, for a couple of days anyway. I leave Sunday afternoon for LAX, where I'll be meeting up with [livejournal.com profile] library_lynn and [livejournal.com profile] hazelchaz for dinner.
I'm sitting in my hotel in Minneapolis, which - happily - has free Internet access. I would have paid for it if I had to, but it's always nice not to need to.

My blog post about my experience at the meatpacking house is up on my blog. Even if you don't normally read my food related posts, you might find this one interesting, especially if you are a meat eater.

I don't expect to have anything nearly so interesting to write about this current trip, as I will just be attending and facilitating meetings all day long for three days.
My flight to Denver is delayed by about an hour. The plane has finally left Baltimore to come to Detroit, so I'm going to leave for the airport now.

Oh, and I decided not to take my computer with me, so if I have anything that I feel I have to share with LJ right away, I'll have to do it in less than 125 characters and post it via Text-to-LJ...

See you on Saturday!
I gave up and headed home shortly after 1, realizing while on the road that between exhaustion and low blood sugar, I probably really shouldn't have been driving. Was halfway home when my coworker called to see how the proposal was going. "Umm, what proposal? I never got anything from anyone about it." I told her I'd call her back after I got some sleep.

Arriving home safe and sound, I had lunch and tried to take a nap, but as usual, failed utterly. Got up, called said coworker. She takes responsibilty for never closing the loop with me and telling me where anything is. I told her I wasn't feeling well enough to drive back into the office, but that I could work from home, so I've just spent the last half hour giving the proposal a once-over and cleaning up some formatting and organizational issues. She's going to go into the office later to print it out and take it to Fed Ex.

What the hell kind of crazy government entity makes a proposal due on July 5, anyway?

Turns out the reason Eric couldn't get out of bed this morning is because he's sick. Bronchitis or something (he seems to get it almost monthly). In any case, exhausted and coughing up crud. And right now, lying on the couch snoring. Do you know how hard it is to work when someone is snoring? I tried to wake him up and get him to move twice, and both times he just changed positions and fell right back to sleep. I'd have moved myself, but damn our open floor plan, there's no other work suitable space in the house that would have actually gotten me away from the noise. Snoring has to go on the list with fingers on the chalkboard as sounds that drive me utterly batshit.

And on that note, I think I'll go upstairs and read or something, before I submit to this nearly overwhelming desire to smother the noise with a pillow. (Understand dear, that I don't want to smother you, just the sound coming out of your nostrils. And I know you can't help it, but that doesn't make me any happier about listening to it.)
I can't say I wouldn't have come home from Canada last night if I didn't have to come in to work today, but it was certainly a contributing factor. So I'm double-plus annoyed to have a dragged myself into the office today only to have no information about this proposal that I'm supposed to be finishing and sending out. My time hasn't been entirely wasted - I've been mindlessly entering some survey data - but I could have been home sleeping. And in fact, I'm going to enter five more surveys then go do that.

I'm writing this entry from my hotel room in Finger Lakes, New York. I'm here to help facilitate 3 focus groups tomorrow. Flight and meeting times mean we have to spend two nights to do it. We're making the most of it by hitting two restaurants that were both closed on our last visit here. Tonight was Madderlake Cafe, which was great, and which I will write more about tomorrow when I'm not so tired.

I'm writing this on my coworker's computer. I was kicking myself upon realizing at the airport that I'd forgotten the right wireless card at home (we use and obscure network protocol for our house network, so I need to swap cards when I'm going elsewhere). So I was bummed thinking I'd dragged my heavy best of a laptop all the way here and back for no reason. Only to get to my room and discover that the in-room internet access is actually wired, and since my (sad and needing-to-be-replaced) computer doesn't have an ethernet slot, I was screwed either way. Fortunately D wasn't planning to use her computer tonight, so loaned it to me so I could get my fix.

But now I really must be off to bed before the third of a bottle of wine wears off. (Red Newt Cellars' Red Eft really is as good as I remembered.) I have to meet Donna for breakfast at 7 am, but even so I figure that will let me sleep a good hour longer than I get to at home, so I'm looking forward to the luxury...

My bio

Jun. 13th, 2006 02:52 pm
Work recently tasked all of us with coming up with new bios, using a standard template. The standard template thing is much too long in coming, as our prevous round of bios were a haphazard mess. I had a heck ofa time coming up with what to put in mine, but I finally broke through the writer's block. So for those of you who want to know what I do...

[livejournal.com profile] tammylc participates in a wide variety of project and development work at CSW. She engages in research and analysis, process and impact evaluation, report writing and editing, event planning and coordination, and focus group and meeting facilitation. As part of CSW’s Human Capital Initiatives Team, [livejournal.com profile] tammylc is currently leading the impact evaluation of a pilot program in Michigan to assess the use of Alternative Staffing Agencies as an alternative to WorkFirst in moving TANF participants into self-sufficiency. In work with the Employer Initiatives Team, [livejournal.com profile] tammylc is involved in several different sector initiatives, including a national project with NGA and NNSP to accelerate state adoption of sector strategies, and the development of Regional Skills Alliances in Michigan and Finger Lakes, NY. Past work has included conducting labor market research for State of the Workforce reports and participating in a variety of benchmarking projects. [livejournal.com profile] tammylc developed a method for industry profiling by wage and occupation that is being used to drive policy decisions in the State of Michigan and can be adapted for states and local areas. Prior to joining CSW in 2001, [livejournal.com profile] tammylc spent three years as Administrative/Development Assistant at a non-profit adolescent health center. Outside of her work with CSW, [livejournal.com profile] tammylc sits on the board of directors of a local literary organization, and is a 3-time past chairperson of their 800-person annual convention. She studied Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Windsor, and has received training in facilitation and social marketing.
I'm sitting in the Rochester airport, which has free Internet access. Plane should be leaving in about an hour. I'm looking forward to getting home to see Liam and give him a big hug - I miss my little guy!

Another early day, with another 8 am meeting. We gave a brief presentation to the board, sat through the rest of the board meeting, then headed out. We drove over to Seneca Falls to check out the Women's Rights National Historic Park. We arrived too late for the tours, so we watched a movie about the first Women's Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls in 1848, and then wandered around the exhibits in the visitor center until it was time to head out. The town of Seneca Falls has definitely seen better days, and it was obvious that the Women's Rights National Historic Park isn't the target of a whole lot of funding - it didn't look like they'd updated any of the exhibits since the ealier 1990's. As evidenced by the particular sad "Women's Rights Accomplishments, 1993- " display that was completely blank. But there were definitely some interesting bits, and I was glad we went. Elizabeth Cady Stanton had one heck of a way with words.

Ugh. There's net access, but it's slow and annoying. I had planned to post the entire text of the Declaration of Sentiments (behind a cut tag, of course) but the Internet is not cooperating with me. Let's see if this post can sneak out.
We had our manufacturing forum first thing this morning, and it went really well. They managed to get a bunch of people to come out - too often we go to these things and there's hardly anyone there, which feels like a waste of time for all of us. They'd managed to get about 50 people to show up, most of them employers. I did my big presentation of the data, which went pretty well, and Donna, my coworker, really complimented my skill at the front of the room and my ability to make the data interesting to non-data people. Donna is very good in rooms, so this was a very nice compliment coming from her.

After the meeting she and I debriefed, then went over to the WIB office to meet with the director and make a few changes to the PowerPoint we'll be using tomorrow morning at the board meeting. Our professional responsibilities for the day dispatched, we then headed out to check out beverage manufacturing in the Finger Lakes first hand. :-)

We visited 6 wineries in about 3 hours, including stopping at the first for lunch in their cafe. We went all the way around Lake Seneca, picking which ones to stop at based on research I'd done. There are about 50 wineries around Seneca Lake alone, so there's lots to choose from. I'd gotten some recommendations from Ric at Zingerman's, and this month's Wine Spectator had a feature on Finger Lakes and I pulled some recommendations from there. The first few wineries we stopped at I wasn't very impressed by, although I did fall in love with the Tierce Dry Riesling, a collaborative effort from three different wine makers in the region. At $30 I couldn't convince myself to buy a bottle, but I'm still thinking about it. As we reached the eastern side of the lake, however, the wines suddenly got much, much better, and there were a few that I really wanted to take home. Maybe next time I'll pack a wine shipper, or at least leave some extra room in my suitcase - but I'm already overburdened this trip. And I couldn't buy enough wine to make shipping a smart move.

Now we're back the hotel for some relaxation time. We're meeting at 6:30 to head to Port's Cafe for dinner. I've had the hardest time finding someplace to eat tonight! All the recommended restaurants are closed on Tuesdays. But Port's Cafe was recommended by three different people on our winery wanderings today, and is purportedly the place where all the winemakers from the western coast of the lake go to eat, so that seems promising!
Here I am in, writing from the little town of Geneva in the Finger Lakes district of New York. Usually when I travel for work I go to boring rural towns in the middle of nowhere. Parkersburg, WV. Carlinville, OH. Geneva, on the other hand, is a rural town that's actually somewhere worth going. We have meetings tomorrow morning and Wednesday morning, but we'll be spending some touristy time on Tuesday afternoon, visiting wineries, and going to the Women's Right's Historical Park in Seneca Falls, home of the first Women's Rights Convention back in the days of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Sadly, it seems that most of the good restaurants in the Finger Lakes are closed on Tuesdays. Grrr. I'm still working on finding a good place to eat for Tuesday night. We did stop for chicken at Sal's Birdland in Rochester on the way to Geneva. I had to find out if [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha B's version of Sal's Sauce was as good as the real thing, and I'm pleased to report that it's actually better. My coworker, Donna, was quite bemused that I was taking her to a fried chicken restaurant for dinner, but we had a good time, and she even bought a bottle of Sal's Sauce to take home.

But now I must be off to bed, as I told Donna I'd meet her for breakfast at 7 am so we can get our plan together for our 8 am meeting. So much for sleeping in on my baby-free morning!
I decided to reward my diligence in working on boring work from home by spending the afternoon doing a fun little data project. (Which also had the advantage of being something that I could completely finish and thus strike off my overly-long to-do list.) Only problem - I'm too efficient - I think it took me less than 2 hours. Now what am I supposed to do with the rest of my day?

Catching up

Apr. 7th, 2006 10:27 am
This morning I had "oh yeah, need to post that to LJ" moment, but can't for the life of me remember what I wanted to post about.

Some of you might be wondering how my back is doing, after my little incident of earlier this week. I am pleased to report that it is feeling much, much better. Still sore, but no longer impinging on mobility, and I can pick up Liam and carry him when need be without it hurting too too much. I'm still trying to minimize that as much as possible, though, as it is the thing I do that causes me the most pain.

Very, very busy week at work. Staff meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, which kept me from getting any work done. And Liam was sick the week before, so I was running behind anyway. Which meant that I needed to come in yesterday, even though it was ostensibley my day off. And, because there were some other things I needed to do during the day yesterday and I had to get a deliverable to a client first thing this morning, I actually worked for an hour or two at HOME last night - something I hardly ever do. I still have more work to do on this project, which is kind of blech, because there are other things I need and want to do. Which means I should really stop posting to LJ and surfing the web and go work...
Project A is boring. Project B is interesting. But I'm under deadline for Project A, so I need to finish that before starting Project B. But Project A is boring, so instead of just doing Project B instead, (so at least I'm getting something done) I'm spending time writing email, and reading LJ, and surfing the web.

Okay, did my three hours. It was okay. I'm doing a lot of web research lately, and the hardest part is waiting for slow pages to load, or pdfs to open, etc. Those are the times that I used to pop over to email or LJ. Of course, I'd end up getting sucked into something and staying there long past the page load delay, and my day would just disappear into the abyss.

Some coworkers sent out some interesting articles to the staff email list, so I took breaks from the annoying work to read those. But they're at least work related, so I don't feel bad billing for that.

Okay, three more hours. Tomorrow I'll aim for a 4 hour afternoon chunk, but I don't want to strain that muscle too much, you know? See you all around 3:30.



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