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February 2016

Jumping for Joy on Saturday: Patti Graham's Crackerjack Performance and This Afternoon's Short - "Closet Space"

Good morning.. er... afternoon all .. hope you've spent your week Jumping for Joy - a friend asked why all the sudden motion on this blog and in the Jumping for Joy Facebook group after a long dormancy - and the answer is quite simply that the world today - especially right now - is so bleak what with the campaign running on and on and on that I thought we could all use some reminders of the things that we have that make us happy  (and by the way, can we, in the future, just start the Presidential election process around May 1 of the election year? How many years do you really need to vet a candidate who has been in the public eye for decades? Although this is nothing new - I remember in, I think it was 2008, when people were asked on the eve of the election who they were voting for and they claimed that they still didn't know.. .I call BS on that and think these people just wanted to be on camera, but I digress).

PattiBLOGAnyway, I'm trying in my own way to bring some Joy into my life and I hope along the way that you find something to be Joyful about as well. On Thursday night I joined my former colleagues for a night of music sung by the incomparable Patti Graham who performed as part of the Uncle Floyd show at the Cutting Room. Patti is a former work friend as well and has an amazing other life as a fantastic performer. I heard her CD of old romantic standards a couple months ago but having the opportunity to see her perform on stage live was a real treat. The hour flew by it wasn't even marred by the boisterous group behind us who, I think, thought that they were at a football game not a cabaret concert. Oh well. LOL Anyway, the highlight (for me) was her rendition of "I'll Be Seeing You" - the best word that I can find to use to describe the performance is "exquisite"... tender, emotional, but not maudlin. That's quite a feat to accomplish that. When Patti has her next performance, I'll make sure to alert you all because she's someone that you shouldn't miss! You can read her bio here.

You know, it's one of those things that people tell you when they find out that you work in corporate America - that all your other non work interests will end...  But I believe in a work-life balance and Patti's proof of how one can have your awesome job and still find the time to pursue your passions. If that's not an expression of Joy, I don't know what is. :)

Today, a little video that I found about the joys of discovery. Me, I don't think that I would have put my husband in the closet, I think that I would have first put a $20 and see what happened with that first LOL. It's very Twilight Zoney and gave me that spooky/prickly feeling that I like so much. Joy comes in many forms! :) And in this case, "Jumping for Joy to be Creeped Out!"

Closet Space from David F. Sandberg on Vimeo.



They Say "Nobody's Perfect" but at the Del Coronado, Perfection Rules!

Back in November, I managed an internal conference at the Del Coronado in San Diego. The extra added challenge of this was that I'd never been to TreesBLOGthe property before. Usually it's helpful to understand the layout and traffic flow by actually walking the space. It's not absolutely required, but it does help in the long run to alleviate confusion and for better planning.

Thankfully, the staff there was absolutely fantastic at sending mounds of information so that I could make good decisions. One of the things that came up, however, was that both of the lunches and dinners would be outside during the two day conference. Naturally, I asked "what's the rain plan?" and they sort of gave a chuckle and said with a laugh  "well, it's San Diego and hasn't rained for five years" but then quickly added that they had several indoor spaces to use should we need them. 

For those that have been to the Del, you know the kind of amazing, beautiful space it is. And when I arrived on Monday, November 2, I was instantly reminded how much I loved San Diego - I've never lived there but used to visit often when I lived in San Francisco (1988- 1991) and Los Angeles (1998--2003). Anyway, coming off an intense October (someone described it as "the most intense work month for the company and the events department in the ten years (they'd) worked there"), event just stepping on to the beach allowed a lot of the past stress to simply fall away.

A colleague from the business line hosting the conference joined me for the Pre Con and we got a lot of things sorted out and finalized; we were on track and all was good with the world. Later that evening, friends from around the country reminded me that the Del was the setting for "Some Like it Hot' (setting up the best closing line of any film "Nobody's perfect" when Jack Lemmon reveals that he is indeed a man and therefore cannot marry Joe E. Brown). It was all pretty awesome all in all. 

TheDelBLOGThe next morning, it rained. And rained. And the outdoor lunch looked like a not great idea. So I had it set up indoors. But, later in the morning, when the stakeholder asked why the lunch wasn't outside, I explained that it had been raining and so we'd moved it. The stakeholder didn't like the room that the lunch had been set up in and, since it had stopped raining, could we have it outdoors again. So, with 35 minutes before lunch was to be served, I talked with the staff - could they move an entire set up (food, drinks, tables, chairs, etc) outside in that time.

What happened next was remarkable - what seemed like 30 - 40 hotel employees streamed in from everywhere all over the property and, like the well oiled team they are, moved the entire lunch for 100 outside. Not one complaint or side eye (I wish I could say that about every venue I plan events at!) just a staff dedicated to the Solution of setting up the lunch outside.

This is the kind of thing that event nerds like me relish - a remarkably precise team working together to make something beautiful. Kudos!

When it came time to decide about the evening meal's location, the Del offered their Crown Room as an alternate to going outside in what could continue to be on and off rainy weather. These are our industry's tough decisions - if the weather is fine, people would wonder why we weren't outside and if we were outside and it rained, we'd be scrambling. Ultimately the decision to go indoors was predicated on what was going to be the most reliable situation - and the Crown Room was that. I sort of looked up and was like "ok, now you better rain!" to the sky.

LunchBLOGThankfully that decision was proven correct. The evening started off with a reception and, as each attendee arrived, they said the same thing "I'm so glad we're inside, it's so cold and windy out there!" but I wasn't home yet. After some time of cocktails, everyone took their seat and I stood off to the side against the two story tall windows (sure, to get an overview of the room but also to verify what was going on outside. It wasn't until someone gave a toast, that it began to rain. Hard. A smile of satisfaction crawled across my face and it was at that point that I could relax.

The rest of the conference was amazing - the staff continued to be on top of every request, every twist and turn making it an incredibly successful event for the business line. When the executive who runs the business line patted my back saying "great job as always" it of course felt good to get the praise - but it was also good to know that he was happy because, in the service industry, that's what we do - make people feel good.

I hope that at some point I can plan/manage another event at the Del as it will be an honor to work with their amazing  -and "perfect" - staff again.