Saturday, November 2, 2013

32nd New Thing ~ What Just Happened?

When a New Thing goes well, writing the post is a joy. An authentic pleasure. Getting to re-live the fun, the accomplishment, the adventure. Again, embracing the organic giddiness and celebration.
When a New Thing goes less than well, the writing is heavy and reluctant. Begrudgingly, I re-live the feeling of failure and disappointment.

In the case of my 32nd New ThingUnion Delegate, Council 2 Convention, writing the story is a wonderful thing. WONDERFUL!
Frankly, I completely agree with someone who recently reminded me, "Life is magic."
The 32nd New Thing is proof that magic can happen at any moment. In unlikely places with unexpected people. And magic happened a couple times that weekend. (Stop it!)

The first bit of magic happened a few weeks Pre-New Thing.
Arranging to attend the Council 2 Biennial Convention was an absolute accident. I sat at that union meeting thinking we were talking about the sign up for a completely different union-related event.

"There's one spot left. Barbie, do you want to go?"
"I wish I could but I'll be on vacation that week."
Fortunately for me, Elise was paying closer attention.
"The convention is the first weekend of June. Isn't your vacation later in the month?"
"Yeah, I leave on the 19th. Wait...convention? What convention?"
I thought we were talking about a day of training in Olympia. Happily, I was mistaken.
The Council 2 Biennial Convention. The first weekend of June in Spokane.
"Sure, I'll go. Sign me up."
Voila, the Accidental Delegate.

So a couple weeks later, I found myself packing for a trip to Eastern Washington. Spokane.
And a New Thing....Union Delegate. Bonus!
I confess, my expectations going into the trip were impacted by some narrow assumptions.
I figured I'd be educated and enlightened by the experience.
That I'd learn a great deal and return a better informed union member. (True, true and true.)
But I also thought it would be a little dry, leaning toward the serious side. I was fine with this.  

Packing, carpooling, checking-in and clearing security at the airport. Regretting that I hadn't been chosen for a random pat-down....and just as my mind was preoccupied with such practical matters, suddenly another magic moment.

Leaving the ground.

We were buckled into our Alaska Air Horizon flight, rolling down the runway, when the force of take-off pressed me back into my seat and reminded me how much I love to FLY! I do. I'd completely forgotten this important Barbie Fact. I hadn't even thought to look forward to this. I love to fly. I turned to Elise with a silly grin on my face, giddy and squirming with excitement. "I love this." (I clearly need get out more!)

Breaking through the clouds, crossing the Cascades in the little commuter plane.  

Soon, we began our descent. 

We gathered our bags and headed through the airport, just following the flow, when it happened again. I'm walking along and start to wonder, "Why does my face hurt?" An unexpected and uncontrollable smile has taken command of my face. And my energy.  I could not stop smiling. A silly, goofy grin propelling me along. My cheeks hurt. It was so unexpectedly wonderful to be out of Pierce County and Western Washington that I wanted to skip.  Skip, as in "We're off to see the Wizard..." Really, I did not see that coming.

I didn't know the specifics quite yet (we hadn't even located our rental car), but I knew that this was going to be a wonderful weekend!

Welcome to the Davenport Hotel!

I love to fly. True.
I also LOVE staying in hotels. I do. Flying, hotels, room service! It's been WAY too long.
(I feel the urge to clarify, I had no idea where we were staying when I signed on. But once I found out, I certainly wasn't arguing with anyone.) 

From the moment this dashing gentleman opened the door, I was completely smitten with the Davenport Hotel.

At the desk, checking in, these nostalgic old mail slots, like a scene from a Cary Grant classic, directly in front of me and the tempting boxes of soft chocolate brittle candy in the gift shop window behind me.

I wanted to soak up every detail.

With some time before convention business began, we explored some of Spokane....

 Book stores.....sidewalk shops.

Then back to the Davenport, for orientation, executive board meetings, workshops....

There was a Welcome Reception in the Marie Antoinette room and beverages in a Hospitality Suite, Friday evening. Mingling and meeting new friends on a roof top patio, the Garden Terrace. Among the many types of public employees, library workers drawn to each other. Comparing and sharing library experiences.

The next morning I went for a luxurious swim before a relaxing breakfast. Coffee and Eggs Benedict.
The convention re-convened. We enjoyed a library members luncheon.

Between scheduled events, I explored the Davenport.
My hotel crush deepened.

My favorite workshop was the Resolutions Committee.

I've found that one of the most interesting, surprising and, at times, infuriating aspects of the 50 New Things is the writing. Have I mentioned this?

My original thinking was that I'd accomplish (or attempt to accomplish) a New Thing....then within a few days, I'd sit down to blog about it. Easy, right? Getting the post up in a timely manner? Chronological and methodical? Barbie's idea of sexy. Okay, yes...I know! Stop smirking.

But what actually happens is not at all 'methodical.' More like 'maniacal'....
unforeseen New Thing opportunities....
a parade of unpredictable real life occurrences....
and surprising personal encounters.

Consequently, the writing comes weeks and months after the New Thing.
I've found a reluctant peace in this timing. In fact, I'm frequently stunned by the cosmically-aligned, ironically-timed and comical intersecting of the storytelling and later events.
Events that invariably occur in such a way, that I'm reminded once again, "This is exactly how it was meant to happen."

Saturday evening held in store a hosted reception
followed by dinner and dancing. 

Lee Saunders, AFSCME President (center)

At first I had my camera with me, but soon realized that I had better things to do than keep track of the bulky thing, deciding to stow it away up in the room. 

Although, I did grab this shot, when I ran upstairs to slip back into my suit for a late night swim, discovering that a Davenport angel had been in the room to turn down the bed, leaving sweet treats behind. 

Sunday morning, I took one more swim in the pool and another delicious breakfast before we convened for the last time. 

With some time after the convention but before our flight, we spent a few extra moments in Spokane. At a couple cool places, including Auntie's Bookstore and Uncle's Games. While my PCL friends grabbed some lunch, I took a solitary Spokane stroll and found myself standing in front of a building that connects me with a sweet time from my past. I stood alone. But not really.

Sometimes life tosses us about in such a way that our mind can begin to focus exclusively on the fact that "Anything can happen at any moment." A tragedy, a loss, a set-back. We may find ourselves, emotionally backed into a corner, standing braced for the next 'Anything.' Futilely attempting to protect our intense vulnerability.
But then it takes just one unexpected moment, to remember that, indeed, "Anything can happen at any moment!" Anything magic! Anything wonderful! At any moment.
And it's that same vulnerability that makes it possible for unexpected gifts, unexpected souls to spontaneously materialize.
It's an amazing truth: Anything can happen at any moment. 

I can't explain fully what a surprise this New Thing turned out to be. I can't. 
  • That the New Thing fell into my path, at all. Particularly, when I was distracted by other New Things. 
  • The unexpected pleasure of getting away. Being in Spokane. 
  • The absolutely stunning Davenport Hotel. 
  • The pool. 
  • Dancing in the Grand Pennington Ballroom. (I am having the best time simply writing this post. Re-living the New Thing. Face hurting again!) 
  • The gracious company of Aisha, Michelle, Yuri, Cathy and Patti from PCLS: Local 3787.
  • The ever-generous and supportive, Elise.
  • And quite surprisingly, Miles: the charming, attentive and engaging. Thank you, especially. 

My 32nd New Thing ~ Union Delegate
The pebble that causes a ripple in the Force.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Barbie, for being a Convention delegate, taking such great photos, reminding me of the wonderful Davenport once again, and supporting our Union work in your unique and refreshing way. Solidarity!