Tag: travel Page 1 of 4

The Earring

As told by me on Twitter:


It’s late, but that means it’s good timing for a bedtime story. Six years ago, my wife and I snuck away for a long weekend in Chicago. It was her first time in the Windy City, and we picked a blustery few days to be there. Very cold. We bundled up.

We did a lot of touristy stuff in the Loop, all fun: Art Institute, Sears Tower, shops on Michigan. We stayed at my favorite hotel, the Palmer House.

I thought it would be fun to have a drink before dinner at the bar at the top of the Hancock building, so up we went. The view was fun, the drinks quite nice, the atmosphere all you could ask. I wanted to show Kel the basement bar a few blocks down at the Drake, so off we went.

The Conference

Of air-conditioned ballrooms, name tag lanyards, and drink tickets–and whether or not conference-going is worth it.


Let’s begin with the setting: an opening keynote session, held in a wide hotel ballroom, the kind created by throwing open the Godzilla-sized accordion dividers that normally parse one cavernous hall into smaller ones, filled with rows and rows of chairs, all on top of carpet patterned in inoffensive colors, all designed to hide stains and wear. A stage is set up at the front with a podium and colored LED lighting for effect, framed by two giant projection screens on either side.

There are about 500 of us, and most all of us fit into roughly one of a handful of categories: community college fundraisers or marketers, or board members, presidents or administrators with those responsibilities. We are there to learn the latest tricks of the trade, to hear stories of successful programs, to network. We are from all over the country, from big and small schools, rural, suburban, and urban, historic and new, and so forth.

Professional development of any strain has never particularly been my cup of tea. Maybe it’s my background as a teacher, but somehow the pedagogical styles of just about every training program I’ve completed reek of elementary school-aged tactics. Which is fine, of course, if you’re working with ten year-olds, but a bit demeaning otherwise.

Gaining Altitude

AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN

Sometimes a better perspective involves increasing one’s elevation.


We landed in Denver in mid-afternoon, embarking upon only our third trip sans offspring, picking up a rental car and heading into the mountains. We’d picked Colorado because neither of us had ever been and because two of our favorite bands were playing a concert together at Red Rocks. We’d left without making any solid plans beyond hotel accommodations. It was my first time on an airplane in a year and a half.*

Whomever settled the city of Denver surely must have done so because it’s the last stretch of reasonable flat land before everything gives way to brown, stony mountains. Let’s stop here, I imagine they said. Seems good enough.

Page 1 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén