For the last two nights, I’ve attended leadership training for next year’s Junior League committee chairs and Board members. The president elect put a lot of time and planning into the event, and everything went smoothly. Objectively, it was good training, and it was my first opportunity to really meet with all of the committee chairs I will be working with next year. But…of course, there’s a ‘but!”
Last night the bulk of the agenda involved “team building” exercises led by two outside facilitators. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through numerous activities of this type, but I am done with trying to pretend that these “challenges” are meaningful. We started with the typical “tell something that’s a little known fact about yourself” thing. Not bad, and somewhat amusing, but, get this, one of the facilitators used as her little known item the fact that she develops a “hickish” accent every time she goes back to visit her relatives in a certain small Texas town. What small Texas town you might ask? Oh, yes. That would be my hometown. Even worse? I was not the only one in the room who has relatives there–a “little known fact” we promptly shared with her. She did have the good graces to look embarrassed! We’re far enough away and it’s a small enough town that I’m sure she never imagined there’d by people in the room who grew up there.
After the introductions, we then spent two more hours on various activities, meaning I didn’t make it home until after 9 o’clock. Tonight’s session went even a bit longer, and then I had to run by and pick up Dancer Girl’s summer reading book that arrived at Border’s. She needs it before she leaves for camp, and we’ve got tons of other stuff to take care of between now and Sunday morning when she gets on the bus.
That’s all a really long way of saying, I’m tired and a bit cranky, and I’m ready for the weekend! Except that the weekend may be just as crazy as the week, so then I’ll be ready for the work week. Except that, wait, I have jury duty next week. Don’t you wish you were me?
The weather reflects the rest of my world right now–full of ominous skies broken up by the occasional hail storm. It’s been one of those weeks. And readers may note, the week is not quite half over. I’ve had a convergence of family, work, and community commitments this week that have led to my feeling more than a bit overwhelmed.
And, really, I am trying to look on the bright side. Two of the reasons I’m feeling overwhelmed at work have to do with wonderful opportunities. I’ve been accepted into a program that should lead to some incredible professional development as well as networking opportunities–but it requires a large amount of preparation between now and the middle of May. At the same time, All-American Public Schools is going for a big grant that has the potential of making a huge difference for students. But in an interesting twist, the federal government announced the grant funding this month and also set a deadline for applications for April 30. That’s an unusually tight turnaround time, but we’re going for it! Fortunately, we had been watching for the funding announcement and have much of the groundwork done. But it’s still a major undertaking to get the application written and filed on time.
At home, the kids activities hit full swing this time of year. Soccer and gymnastics seasons are at their peak, and Odyssey of the Mind also enters crunch time for competition. Then add in the end of the year school activities and preparation for all the kids going to camp in a month and a half, and I have plenty to do on the home front.
I’m also gearing up with my new position for the Junior League Board. I’ve already attended several meetings at the mayor’s office so that I can transition into the role the current Community Program VP filled. There are some exciting plans for a local Cradle to Prison Pipeline Initiative summit, and we’ll be partnering with the city on that. And, of course, I have my current committee chair responsibilities going on as well. Our last big project happens this month.
With all of that going on, it would be understandable if I had a bit of trouble sleeping at night. Except that one of my personal strengths is that I’m an excellent sleeper. Maybe I should list that on my resume! But, this explains part of my mood. Because I am getting far too little sleep this week. It all started Monday night, or actually Tuesday morning, with the huge hail storm that moved through in waves all night long. 3:30 a.m. found Adventure Guy and me standing in the living room watching both the news for tornado alerts and the golf ball-size hail raining down in our backyard. I didn’t get to sleep until about an hour before the alarm went off. That’s been followed by another early morning today when I had a gym appointment at 6:00 a.m. The trend continues tomorrow when I’m scheduled to get up at an entirely unreasonable hour to try again on the breast MRI.
And, as I type, storms are rolling in again. So, think restful thoughts for me tonight. I have a feeling I’m going to need them!
My very first book review on this blog featured Linda Francis Lee’s book, The Devil In the Junior League. A book I rather hesitantly admitted to having read, given my own personal League-member status.
Now, Lee and her main character from Devil, Carlisle Cushing, return to the fictional Willow Creek, Texas, several years after the end of the first novel. Carlisle, who swore off both the state and its high-society circles when she moved to (gasp!) Boston at the end of the last book, finds herself drawn in to solve her mother’s dual problems–a divorce and a struggling debutante ball.
With that description, you may find it surprising that this book shows more depth than The Devil in the Junior League. There’s less about all the antiquated rules women of a certain socioeconomic group supposedly follow and more about women–young, old, and in between–trying to find their places in the world, places where they can be happy being the people they truly are rather than the people others think they should be.
But, it’s admittedly also fun to read about the ins and outs of pre-presentation debutante parties, finding the right dress, and possibly even landing the elusive guy that got away in the process.
The ending of The Ex-Debutante leaves room for another sequel. I recommend you pick up this book as a fun beach or poolside read this summer and then join me in looking forward to Lee’s next installment.
Or I’m beat anyway. Today brought a non-stop schedule that reminded me my recent vacation is very much over.
People often ask me, “So, what do you do anyway?” I’m too tired to do much else except make a list, so my day in a glance:
Talked to two principals regarding issues at their school sites
Met with office staff to discuss performance expectations
Discussed proposal from local university to do research in our district
Signed paperwork, reviewed several projects completed by assistant
Developed list of proposed participants for district-wide meeting
Met with director of professional development to clarify details for upcoming teacher professional day
Participated in conference call with other members of a national steering committee on which I serve
Met with director of assessment for weekly update
Chaired back-to-back meetings regarding the gifted and talented program–first the parent advisory committee, then the district coordinators’ meeting
Held impromptu meeting with director of curriculum regarding issue that had come up during the day as well as several ideas generated at GT meetings
I did eat both lunch and breakfast at my desk somewhere along the way. I am proud to say that two days in to my re-dedication to Weight Watchers I am on track. Hungry, but on track. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to be hungry, but it just reflects my recent lack of control regarding portion sizes. I have to readjust.
On top of all the work above, I also had a Junior League meeting to chair tonight. My committee’s proposal is due on Monday, so we were very focused on getting all the final details ironed out. We’re on track to meet that deadline, but that didn’t keep the meeting short tonight. Two hours later, I finally made it home.
Where, of course, there were crises over final exams to be dealt with (Dancer Girl), laundry to be done (Gym Girl), and bedtime songs to be sung (Soccer Boy). I am looking forward to tomorrow, which looks to be a calmer day on all fronts.
Tonight was the annual dinner where the members of the next year’s Junior League Board of Directors find out who’s who. The incoming president invites everyone to a “look who’s coming to dinner” party where the arrivals are staggered so that all the offices are “revealed” as the evening progresses. The rest of the membership will be introduced to the slate at our general meeting next week.
As you might have guessed by now, I’ll be among those who are announced on Wednesday. I’ll be coordinating the League’s community programs. I’m looking forward to serving on the Board again after a break this year. Since I was the nominating chair last year, I wasn’t eligible for Board this year. For some reason the League frowns on nominating one’s self.
Of course, the most exciting part of tonight’s dinner involved discovering who else will be serving with me next year. I really like the mix this year’s nominating committee developed. There’s a nice blend of people from the current board, ladies new to the Board, and women who have been on the Board previously but weren’t in this year’s group. It’s going to be a great team, and I can’t wait to get started!
Okay, let’s try this post take two. I’m not sure what happened to my text from the first time, but when I clicked on “view” all I got was the title and my categories and tags. Weird.
I, however, will not let this minor setback distract me from the true purpose of my post. Somewhere in the Suburbs is officially the place to be if you’re looking to learn how to make a salt map. Yes, really. I’ve amended my previous post on Soccer Boy’s school project to include directions for all those people doing a Google blog search on that topic. It’s good to be number one!
This week has been crazy, just like I knew it would be. In fact, I am taking a half day of vacation today just to get all the things I’ve been pushing off done…like grocery shopping. It’s sad to be looking forward to going to the grocery store alone and at a time when the rest of Suburbia is unlikely to be there, but I am so there. I’ll also do some other errands and run carpool for Dancer Girl’s dance classes and Gym Girl’s practice before getting ready for the party that Adventure Guy and I are going to tonight. I am looking forward to that too, maybe even a bit more than mid-afternoon weekday grocery shopping!
The pressure to get everything done is stronger than usual today because I’m leaving for a conference tomorrow afternoon. I’ll be gone through Tuesday, so I’ll lose my usual weekend down time. I am looking forward to the conference, though. I’ve never been to St. Louis, and there’s a good group from All-American Public Schools going with me. I know there will be plenty of thoughtful discussion about the sessions as well as some much-needed socializing going on. I’ll do my best to keep up the NaBloPoMo challenge while I’m gone!
I know what most people think about women who are in the Junior League. We must spend a lot of time “doing lunch” and worrying about what to wear to meetings. At least that’s what it said in The Devil in the Junior League and several other books that thinly disguise the League by using a different name. My guess is that those people do not picture a group of women spending hours doing manual labor in preparation for a holiday market.
I am so sore today after my three-hour shift last night. This weekend is my League’s big holiday market fundraiser. The kickoff event is a preview party tonight, which I’m also working. At least there won’t be heavy lifting involved in that shift! Friday morning there’s a ladies luncheon (see, ladies who lunch!), then Friday night we’re throwing a black tie event, which Adventure Guy and I will attend. I’ve got a new outfit to wear, and Adventure Guy will be wearing his tux from our wedding, which still fits because he’s annoying like that. Saturday and Sunday will have more special events and also general shopping. From all the merchandise we helped unload and saw being set up tonight, it’s going to be a great market. I’m looking forward to getting some Christmas shopping done on when I’m there tonight and tomorrow night.
And the best part about all this is that the money we raise goes to fund our community projects, which all target women and children in transition and range from staffing the parent center at the children’s hospital to working with victims of domestic violence, to mentoring struggling students. I’d say that’s better than a nice luncheon any day.