Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My weekend in Phoenix

Hey everyone! I apologize that it has been a while but last week was crazy. Finishing up a big work project, planning for a conference presentation I had to give in Phoenix yesterday, and making plans to visit Sherry's brother (also in Phoenix) left little time for blogging (or anything else for that matter), But I am back and ready to tell you all about the Phoenix trip. It was a fun and relaxing trip.

Earlier this year I was invited to give a presentation at the Experience Learning Live conference in Phoenix on the topic of the Psychology of Learning. So since Sherry's brother and family also live there, we decided to turn it into a mini-vacation. So we both took Friday off to enjoy a long weekend with family. Mike and Jamie have 2 kids, Kylie, who is about to be 5, and Lance who is just turning 1 in a few days.

So Friday we hop on a plane for the short flight from San Francisco to Phoenix. It was mostly an uneventful trip however, I now have a better understanding, and appreciation, for Southwest Airlines commercials. We were actually on US Airways and they charged extra for everything. Still, even with all of the add-ons, the flight was cheaper then anything Southwest could pony up. The rest of Friday night was spent relaxing and catching up. We were also continuously entertained by Kylie who is quite the princess/actress.

Saturday was a beautiful fall day in the desert. Mike is training for the P. F. Chang's Rock 'N' Roll Arizona marathon in January so he invited me to join him on his run. Saturday he had to go for 7 miles at race pace. After a not-to-subtle inquiry I discovered his race pace was a cool 6:30 mile. Are you friggin' kidding me? (I already knew Mike could fly. That's why I asked.) Still, I wanted to be supportive so I hopped on Jamie's hybrid bike and rode along beside him. It was kind of cool to be on a bike with no cycling kit, no gloves, no helmet, and no agenda.

Later on Saturday we went to the local Pumpkin Patch Festival. It was everything you would expect a old-fashioned fall carnival to be with the addition of the local Farmer's Market. So we roamed, ate good food, and participated in a few of the activities. The coolest? We got to stuff our own scarecrow. Yep! For a whole $3.00, you got the chance to grab some second hand clothing, stuff it with hay, and take it home. Kylie named our scarecrow Bobby. Another cool thing was where the proceeds went. I assumed the proceeds went to the local neighborhood who was putting on the festival. Instead, all proceeds went the Life is Good Foundation.

Sunday was mostly relaxing and watching football. Then we all piled into the minivan and headed for our hotel in Tempe. After saying goodbyes, Sherry and I checked into our room and immediately decided to explore our corner of Tempe. Well, as it turned out, our corner was right next to Arizona State University so we were basically in College City, USA. We did find this sign in our explorations and felt duly obliged to snap a photo for David and Pat who will both be doing this event. I also sent them a few texts but all they wanted to know about was the weather (haven't they heard about weather.com?)

Our hotel was right next to A Mountain. You have seen this in the backdrop if you have ever watched an Arizona State game or the Fiesta Bowl. So on Monday morning I decided to skip the hotel gym and climb A Mountain. It was great! I reached the top just as the sun was rising over the desert. It was a spectacular view. On the way up, I was passed by a young guy with a huge chain around his neck running up the mountain. A little later I saw the ASU wrestling team making their way down. They were all coming down in a wrestling crouch and all wearing 40 lb chains (I asked). That is definitely not for me. But then again, they may not find joy in climbing 5-miles uphill on a bike. C'est la vie!

My presentation was Monday afternoon. It went very well. The group participated in all of the planned activities and I think everyone managed to have some fun while learning some new pointers to improve their corporate training programs. Then it was back to the airport for the flight home.

So not a bad 4-days. A little family time, climbing a new mountain, and delivering a successful presentation. Hopefully, I will get invited back next year and we can do it all over again.

Until then, ciao!

2 Comment(s):

Sarah said...

Wow Lee, even though you missed stuff back at home, it sounds like it was TOTALLY worth it! What an awesome weekend, and great write-up. I love the idea of stuffing a scarecrow, how cool.


Lee the Cyclist said...

I forgot to add that there was a half, olympic and sprint tri happening on Sunday as well as a charity bike ride. Phoenix is a happening area this time of year.