Sunday, November 23, 2008

Aloha and no, I'm not at Trader Vic's Restaurant...

It's been awhile since I wrote but c'mon if you were in Hawaii would you be at your computer? Arrived last week in Kona for one of my favorite clients, California Landscapers. I was with them last year in Nashville and they invited me back, guess it was a mutual love fest. The flight is grueling or else who wouldn't come here all the time, there's a reason it's called Paradise.

Other than speaking for them for two days and attending all their great social events, far be it from me to miss a party, I have been relaxing, sunning, writing, reading, all of my favorite things and no, I haven't been shoe shopping. Flew over to Honolulu for a few more days of RnR and sadly it's been raining. Rather than dwell on that, I have made great use of my time doing more of what I love, balancing my life. See, I do practice what I preach. Two more days in Paradise and I KNOW the sun will be shining tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sick and the City

OK, OK, I've been MIA but I have good reason or else this is my story and I'm stickin' to it. It was a crazy week, I know they all are but...

I had my CEO meeting Monday, those charming folks changed our normal Thursday meeting to that day just so I could take a great gig in Hawaii. Of course, they thought the meeting would be held there but they agreed to switch despite that disappointment, lol. Flew to Pittsburgh to speak on Wed, flew to NY to have dinner with THE son. Ate at Lever House, great vibe, great decor, lousy food. I like gourmet but I don't like pretentious or too chi chi like duck breast with souffle of foie gras on top of pomegranite seeds, ya da ya da ...I made that up but you get the idea. It wasn't the important part of the night anyway, just being with my handsome loving successful son, Jason was IT!

Stayed at the W Hotel, love the hip atmosphere, OK, I just complained about chi chi and now I love hip. Had breakfast meeting with an agency looking to do creative things with "moi", then to a trichologist, a what??? Always wanted to do that, the world famous Philip Kingsley, they analyze hair and scalp and well, we know how important my hair is!!! Then meeting with media moguls who are also proposing some work together. The universe is calling me this month and I love it. Then train to CT my ol' home of 25 years, very nostalgic whenever the train pulls in to the Westport station. Had lunch with friend and fellow Vistage Chair, Vicki Thomas, off to my best friend, Kathy's salon for the best facial in North America then dinner with Kathy aka Petal. We have been calling each other Petal since the 80's when we took our first cruise together and the hostess from England would greet us every day with a "Good Morning, Petal, are we off to the loo?"

It's always great to be with Petal as we have a 40 year friendship and we always laugh, rehash, gossip, and relish our very special time together. Friday morning spoke in Greenwich then flew home with other people's germs and sure enough Sat. morning I was "sick in the city", would have much preferred sex and the city. Nursed myself with every drug, herb, vitamin, concoction known to mankind to make sure I beat it and would go to Hawaii a healthy camper. I did... Amen!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pooped in Pittsburgh

It’s been non stop. I was training with seven other “chosen” Chairs of CEO groups at Vistage Headquarters in San Diego, the world’s largest executive organization. I was invited to be part of a group of train the trainers, in other words we were being groomed to train our peers, other Chairs around the country. As always it was a challenging and enlightening experience as we all brought to the table our own unique perspective on issues that we face in “herding cats” aka facilitating CEO’s as well as the challenges brought on by the economy affecting many of our members.

We started each day with inclusion exercises and on one day we had to finish the sentence…”I’d like to teach the world to….” and no, it was not sing, although I do think that did show up. It was more about…getting up each day with no expectations, no judgments, viewing the world daily through the eyes of a child, being more playful, respectful, outrageous (yes, that was mine☺

We shared laughter, aha’s, best practices and in the process were helping to create and define what the next Chair development program will look like when it begins in March. The theme is Keeping Current; The Journey Continues… with a lot of references to white water rafting. We didn’t do much of that in the Bronx, lol. Headed home in time to Chair my meeting then hit the road again and now in Pittsburgh for a speech tomorrow then off to NY for dinner with THE son and…well, for the rest you’ll have to…stay tuned!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

California here I come...

Left Dallas right after my last speech this morning and flew to San Diego for a weekend of Vistage training. Vistage is the world's largest executive organization, 15,000 members worldwide. I have been one of their resource speakers for 15 years and this years, Above and Beyond Speaker of the Year award winner. I also Chair two of these executive groups in Chicago and I am very involved with the organization on many levels. They are launching a new training program for Chairs and invited Chairs to apply, 50 did, 8 were chosen, I was one of "the chosen". Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

Rather than write my day's event and feelings I'd rather share something that my friend, Michele shared with me, I just love it.

This was on Roger Ebert's site (movie critic for the Chicago Sun Times)

This land was made for you and me

Roger Ebert on November 4, 2008 8:47 PM

As the mighty tide swept the land on Tuesday night, I was transfixed. As the pundits pondered red states and blue states, projections and exit polls, I was swept with emotion. Not because America was "electing its first Black president." That comes a little late in the day. It was because America was electing the right President.
Our long national nightmare is ending. America will not soon again start a war based on lies and propaganda. We will not torture. We will restore the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of privacy, and habeas corpus. We will enter at last in the struggle against environmental disaster. Our ideas will once again be more powerful than our weapons. During the last eight years, the beacon on the hill flickered out. Now the torch will shine again.
We will bring our troops home, in the right way. Am I against the war? Of course. Do I support our troops? Of course. They were sent to endanger their lives by zealots with occult objectives. More than 4,000 of them have died. Even more lives have been lost by our coalition forces than by our own.
Do I blame George Bush? At the end of the day, I don't know that I really do. I agree with Oliver Stone that Bush never knew he had been misled until it was too late. I blame those who used him as their puppet. The unsmiling men standing in the shadows. On Tuesday the righteous people of America stood up and hammered them down.
Lots of people stayed up late Tuesday night. They listened McCain's gracious, eloquent concession speech. He was a good man at heart, caught up in a perfect storm of history. He had the wrong policies and the wrong campaign. At the end, let me tell you about a hunch I have. In the privacy of the voting booth, I think there is a possibility that Condoleezza Rice voted for Obama.
I stayed up late. As I watched, I remembered. In 1968 I was in the streets as a reporter, when the Battle of Grant Park ended eight years of Democratic presidents and opened an era when the Republicans would control the White House for 28 of the next 40 years. "The whole world is watching!" the demonstrators cried, as the image of Chicago was tarnished around the world. On Tuesday night, the world again had its eyes on Grant Park. I saw tens and tens of thousands of citizens with their hearts full, smiling through their tears. As at all of Obama's rallies, our races stood proudly side by side, as it should be. We are finally, finally, beginning to close that terrible chapter of American history
President Obama is not an obsessed or fearful man. He has no grandiose ideological schemes to lure us into disaster. He won because of a factor the pundits never mentioned. He was the grown-up. He has a rational mind, a steady hand, and a first-rate intelligence. But, oh, it will be hard for him. He inherits a wrong war, a disillusioned nation, and a crumbling economy. He may have to be a Depression president.
What gives me hope is that a great idealistic movement rose up to support him. Some say a million and a half volunteers. Millions more donated to his campaign. He won votes that crossed the lines of gender, age, race, ethnicity, geography and political party. He was the right man at a dangerous time. If ever a president was elected by we the people, he is that president.
America was a different place when I grew up under Truman, Eisenhower and, yes, even Nixon. On Tuesday that America remembered itself, and stood up to be counted.
This land is your land,
This land is our land,
From California, to the New York island.
From the redwood forests, to the Gulf Stream waters--
This land was made for you and me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sale to the Chief

OMG, last night was incredible, I was glued to the TV as we all were. I had friends texting me who were in Grant Park asking me why I wasn't there (and I so wished I was). This morning as I read the newspaper, I was so "fahklempt" (ask Barbra:-) I couldn't stop crying. I was on my way to another speech and my poor driver felt so bad that he didn't have any tissues for me (he bought them so when he picked me up he had them in the sweet). He was an African from Kenya and needless to say, he was beside himself with joy. We bonded in our short car ride. Never have I felt prouder to be an American.

I was particularly moved by the parents telling their children how America is the land where anybody can achieve whatever they want. I was overjoyed at the number of parents who woke their children up to share the news. I was proud of the turnout for voting, prouder of the young ones in our country who showed up in droves, proud of our country, our democracy. As a professional speaker I am in awe of our President Elect's ability to articulate, his passion, his presentation skills. As someone who believes in change and hope, I am excited about the prospect of our future as a country.

So why "sale to the chief"? I celebrated by going shoe shopping:-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Patriotic Pulchritude

OK OK, I'm a wordsmith and love alliteration. Yes, the physical beauty aka pulchritude of our flag, our country, our election process! Why does this emotionally overwhelm me? Because I was born on the 4th of July and I cry at America the Beautiful. I voted early as I knew I would be out of town today as I am still in Texas and I like the actual process as opposed to mailing in an absentee ballot. In between speaking this afternoon, doing my phone coaching in the morning and enhancing the Dallas economy this evening (yes, I shopped, I admit it) but heck, I'm staying at the fabulous Westin Galleria, that's like putting a drug addict loose in a pharmacy, I have been glued to radio and TV.

I don't discuss politics so I will at all costs avoid any particular political bias or favoritism and just say that I am grateful to live in this free democratic society with all its flaws and foibles. Or as the song goes, "I am proud to be an American..."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tired in Texas

You know you're doing too much when someone tells you to donate your adrenals to science to study the overabundance of adrenaline that seems to ripple through my over energetic pores. Hmmmm, was that a compliment?

Anyway, here I am in Texas where they love us gals with big hair and big jewelry. Arrived in Houston yesterday for work for a client who monitors weather patterns for international flights (that's a very condensed elevator speech, mine not theirs). Met the 15 guys and 2 gals for dinner then transferred to a meeting room where I conducted two post dinner group inclusion exercises.

Today I spent a full day with them doing Part One of my Whole Life Trilogy, A Balancing Act: Walking the Tightrope of Life and this afternoon I did my DISC profiles program, You've Got Personnel-ity. They were very attentive and quite playful as an audience. Their fabulous CEO Ralph heard me speak at his Vistage meeting and hired me for this retreat. Ralph is a recovering NYawker as well so we had bonded immediately. When you have a bunch of guys together you get some great "badinage" (fabulous word, look it up:-)

Well they wore me out, in a good way and when I got to the airport, I actually paid 5 bucks to luxuriate in a massage chair, that was a first and it was damn good. Now I am the happiest of campers at the Westin Galleria in Dallas. I love Westins, I am indeed their poster child, I love the Galleria, all that great shopping that I have no time to do and I love Dallas for my "sisterhood". As Bugs would say, "that's all folks". Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Voyeurism

I guess that's really the only reason I like this holiday is that I love to look at the costumes, the creativity and the complete zaniness of those who do participate. The only memories I have of Halloween is remembering that some people used to "go as ME" which I found flattering ("imitation is the sheerest form of flattery") and funny.

My friend, Michele was in Miami for the International Boat Show so we got together for dinner at Ola in The Sanctuary Hotel for great tapas and the best mojito's. Also in Miami was my friend, Tamilee Webb aka Buns of Steel, from San Diego who you've seen countless times in my ezine. She and her friend, Jeannie were en route to vacation in the Cayman Islands so stayed over in Miami on my last night. They met us at Ola and we walked over to Lincoln Rd, the pedestrian area to watch the Halloween craziness. We didn't have to wait for crazy, I took a major fall on the way there, none of us know why, was I pushed in the massive crowds, was it the 4 inch stiletto's, was it the one mojito? I was not in shape to continue the walk in the heels so we stopped in to a store to buy a pair of flats, imagine that, I was "forced" to buy shoes. We found a purple pair encrusted with big purple rhinestones (what a surprise) and off we went. It was a zoo, reminded me of Greenwich Village, NYC on any typical night. They ate, we drank, we watched, laughed, gossiped, just your typical gals night out...on Halloween!