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Gail's LLLI Conference Blog

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tuesday Blog 1

Hello everyone!

Last night after the Gallery of Gatehrings I went to the 3rd floor to watch the fire works. in Sandy Thorne's room along as many leaders and families as could fit inside. They were beautiful and it was fun to see them at eye level. We all sat in the dark ooohhing and ahhing in unison. (We had no choice, Sandee made us, LOL)Some adventerous folks made their way down to the Mall to see the fire works in person but I didn't think I had enough oomph left to walk 45 minutes each way or the courage to expereince the terrorist drill the city had planned.

Once the fire works were done I ZZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmed down to the ballroom again to be photograpghed with all the other scholarship recipients.
No one was there! argh! I wondered around a bit and I ran into my roomie Susi and some other gals. They seemed to be in search of a party... fortunately I had one in my conference bag so we decided to meet in Pam and ??'s room for drinks and snacks. Once there we discovered that you could a horison full of fireworks from other towns outside of Dc it'self as well as renegade fireworks in the allways near the hotel. We mixed a few gin and tonics, munched on almonds and "dirty chips and got down to the busines of getting to know each other while watching the the firworks showering over the city lights. There were leaders from all over the USA and the world in the room! WOW!!

Today I went to Making Sense of Adolesence: Understanding and dealing with teenagers by Gordon Neufeld. The very short versiosn is that the USA culture has stretched adolescence out to outrageous lengths. He spoke about the confusion our teens go through as the make the passage between childhood and adulthood with rituals to guide them and connect them. He also explained the emotions they go through in adolescencs and that it's normal to feel dark and lost and isolated... it's a time of growing idealism and suden realization that your parents and other adults aren't perfect!! that it's part of the impetus to find a passion and a direction in life. Staying connected and wooing your teen, maintaining a relationship is important. He emphiasized that before you teach you need to connect... they are egocentric, so asking them to explain what they think, what their ideas or solutions might be first will engage them... then you introduce your perspective or explain your expectations.

I sat at the Minnesota/ Dakota's table with Crystal the gal from Appleton and a Leder from Saudi Arabia. We figured that since we either live close enough to the Area or have lived in Minnesota sit at the the table.

Okay, off to my next session. I'll try to catch you up later.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Monday 1

I've been trying to get into the tech room alllllll day and now it's 7pm.

All the session have had great questions asked at the end which led to us going over time a bit.

I'm trying to decide if i should buy the syllabus. It's $50. but there's so much information flying past that I'm sure I'm missing over half of it.

Last night was the World Faire. WOW. It was major sensory overload. I bought an Italian charm, earrings and a necklace for myself. For Eric I bought some fake snow from the Alaska table and a leather snake bracelt from the Guatemala tabel. Katie will get a dream box from Irelend and Alex will get a rose stone from Texas and an Irish versons of a birthstone. Jeff will get some cajun spice mix from Missisippi. Men are sooooo hard to shop for.

I met a gal from the Appleton Wisconsin group and sat with her ( I hink we are THE only people here from Wisconsin besides a vendor and Peggy W.) and Deb Olsen during the Founders tea. That was somuch fun. It was sad when we honored the Leaders who've passed on. I dind't think I could stay though it. It's hard to think of them not here with us.

I think I'll run up to my room and lay down for a few minutes before the gallery of gatherings begin.


Found it!!

We have discovered and recovered Gail's earlier Sunday post. It's been restored below. We apologize for the confusion.

Tech Room Staff

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sundays blog 2

Sunday's Blog 2

Hmmm some how my last 2 blogs disapeared into cyber space. not sure how that happened?? I published one after lunch and not even Jennifer can find it so poof... all that witty observation is gone. (really it was my most brilliant peice of writting ever, I'm so sorry you'll have to read this instead)

This morning I went to Barbara Coloroso's session on Bullying. ( I sat next to Peggy W. from Wisconsin and caught up on mutual freinds) I've heard B.C. speak before and could go back over and over again she's so dynamic and down to earth. It was a very emotional session for me, and eye opening too. We/I forget that bullying is not just a kid thing, and it's not a normal part of life... we may all have our own expereiiences with but it's just not "normal". I left the session, race walked to the bookstore and and bought her book. I need to read through it and highlight and circle and bend pages to absorb it all.

Lunch was awesome. I sat at the Israel (+) table. about half the people around the table were from Isreal nad hte rest of us know Donna! She's defintately a draw for me we roomed together for 2 nights and hit it off ... tommorrow Donna promises to come wake me up to go walking at 6:00. Susi my other roomie doesn't seem to hve the heart to wake me up. or maybe she just can't get through the fog...
Are there any Wisconsin Leaders here??? Maybe I could go sit at teh MN/Da table next time...


LUNCH! Dessert was 3 fruit sorbet balls in a champagne flut... mmmmmmmmmmmm.
And here was a way cool key note speaker named E. Stephen Buescher, MD. His topic was Human Milk: It's more than just food. His focus is on everything else in breastmilk besides nutrients... He says that 50% of human milk (HM) is just sawdust... meaning it's non-nutritive and passes though our baby's GI tract intact or nearly so. I was startled to learn that there are components in our milk that turns off all the functions of the white blood cells.............. huh? Why? good question. He's working to figure that out for us! The components that do this shut down the inflammatory effects fo WBC's... preventing the inflammation, heat, swelling etc that are associated with teh disease process......

guess i need to do more reading! He had some interesting thoughts and research about the chemical communication that occurs between breastfeeing women and those around us... and how we feel disturbed and often react with anger when we feel this emotional reaction to the chemical stimulus............. and he had his own ideas about what Barbara Walters may have been struggling with on that airplane!

After lunch I went to a panel disscussion on The Sandwich Generation...There I sat near Elaine Shirron, sans Matches the wonder pup and Meg Sondey of CN fame. She's carrying a suitcase full of chocolate and postcards and such to swap with folks.

and so.... I have a small break to run up to my room and call the kids. My cell phone died when I tried to call from the court yard... then on to dinner somewhere and then at 7:00 I'll go to the World Faire to find souveniers for my family. shhhh I bought an italian link bracelet for Katie, but I'm keeping the LLL link.

from Dunnville and currenly in DC


Sunday Blog 1


I've zoomed in between lunch and second session. Thismornign I went to hear Barbara Coloroso spek about Bullies, the bullied and bystanders. Whoa.
that hit home.. no that's not a pun.

I can remeber moving to my current home town expecting to slip right in as I had done the other 5 or so times I moved but being met wiht a culture of bullying... now one of my sons is experiencing bullying.... so mnay times during the session I found myslef close to tears. Barbara is amazing in that she can bring you so close to tears nad lift you up again in momnets... so mcuh like life itself. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak it is well worth. I have a a btter idea of how to help m son... which I felt paralysed to do falling intot eh trap many people do of finding ways to merely avoid the bullies... elaving him feel soemthing is horribly wrong wiht him.. argh!! I bought her book nd wiil devour it on the way home.............

I sat next to peggy W. from Wisconsin USA and looked through photos of another WI leader's daughters wedding! Time flys, I still picture kathy T's daughter as a lovely teen, not a statusque young beauty at the alter!

At lunch I learned that breast milk is 50% sawdust...

I'll have to leave you wiht that! A speaker is coming in to chat.... but I'll let you stew on it and tell you what hat REALLy means later!
Love gm

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Conference Begins!!

The conference Begins!

Hello all!!

Today is my first official day of conference. I was going to go to another museum this morning but decided to go to the World Assembly instead.

I lost my conference booklet already so I borrowed a page from Nancy Jo Bykowski.... this is the booklet says:
World Assembly_ A Community Alive!
eaders and Leader Applicants from the four corners of the world gather to discuss topics and programs of interest to them in the LLL community. Come share excitement in making the network alive in the real world for the morning.

Okay, I wasn't really sure what this was but after 2 days of waiting for my part of the conference to begin I just wanted to be involved with something!! (Okay, my sight seeing plans haven't worked out as well as I hoped. I'm still tired enough that I'm not sure I could navigate DC on my own, I've witnessed a car accident at the intersection I was about to cross... it moves way too fast for this country mouse... squeak squeaker squeaken).


So Back to the conf. ;-)

I entered the International Ballroom West to find folks milling around. I found a seat and soon saw familiar faces wandering by.. One was Peggy Weidemyer(sp?) who began my accreditation process with me about (mumble mumble )years ago. Soon we broke into "tables" I was relieved to see there were actual tables involved. I found the table for the topic Mutual accountability: what it means to me; how it works or can work. I've been hearing this phrase on different Community Network (CN) lists and linked with "Heartland" and sometimes with the Renewal Initiative and wanted to see what others were thinking about it. (Leaders---if YOU want to see the conversation we generated notes from each of the tables will be put up on CN. My table is starting a discussion by the same same name on CN. I think many others are too.

anyway. Surrounding our table were leaders from Italy, USWD and EUS and New Zealand. At first our discussion focused on sorting out what was meant by "accountability"... whose accountable to who, what does that mean, are there better words for it etc. We talked about some of the negative feelings around the word accountability... and yet how negative experiences in our work with Leaders left us feeling we wanted someone "to do something" about it... somewhere for the buck to stop....

I still felt a bit off with the word accountability. It seemed too focused in a way like the other side of the coin was missing. We soon began talking about being "engaged"... being committed to LLL and to the Leaders in our Area, or Leaders we work with due to geography. (which I do a bit. I live much closer to events in MN/DA than to events in WI). Engaged worked for me on several levels. If I know someone and have a bit of a relationship with them I'm motivated to maintain that relationship... I'm more likely to make a commitment to work with them in what ever parameters we've set up and I want to meet whatever goals we've set up. AND... engaged brings to mind a clutch. I can sit in my car ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL day long long burning up gas but if i don't engage the clutch I'm never going to get in gear and GO anywhere!

Some of my thoughts were: As a Leader I've promised... committed... to engaging with moms and babies to offer them support and information as they build their nursing relationship... I've agreed to do so in the name of LLL so I've promised to do it in a certain way which is in accordance to LLL philosophy. Being engaged with other Leaders and building relationships creates a working relationship where we will clarify the way we want to serve LLL and make sure it reflects LLL philosophy and hold each other accountable. Much of this already happens but not across the board.

Good grief. I wrote so much for one thing. I'll try not to babble on on such a small detail in other blog entrys.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday Morning

Friday Morning

Mmmmm the beds here are amazing!!
I forced myself to get up a bit after 6:30am. I've breakfasted and am waiting to start sight seeing. The museums are closed until 10am...
The red trolley starts at 9:10... so I'll hop on and off at different monuments until the museums open.

I've been bumping into leaders from around the world... France, Canada, Mexico so far. California seems to have the largest contingency from my unscientific elevator polls.

The tech room is cool. Folks are trickling in to get their photos taken for CN. I'm having a bad hair day so I'll pass today...

oops gotta go get me camera!


Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm here...

But not really....
I'm here in the tech room of the LLLI conference. I'm a day late and dollar short but HEY! I'm here!

Due to ugly weather on the west coast and in the Midwest my plane left an hour late insuring that I couldn't meet my next flight from Charlotte NC to Washington DC....... grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. (Is that new experience #6?)

I was offered a bench in the terminal to sleep in until 5:00am. zzzzzz (new Experience # 7)
THAT didn't work. I've gotten old enough that sleeping on the concrete thinly veiled in carpet is not and adventure.

Fortunately I met up with a lovely older woman who was willing to split a "distressed passenger" room at the Best Western. For $39.97 we had a shuttle to and from the airport as well as !! We arrived at 2:30 am showered and CRASHED until 4:30. I said good bye to my new friend Mary and met with some more lovely folks while eating fruit and fresh waffles for breakfast... What a cool invention... make your own waffles ... special thanks to those BW folks who laid out breakfast for us 2 hours early!!

Once at the airport it turned out the whole plane was devoted to flying 5 (five) people to DC... so we all got upgraded to first class!! Whoo hoo. I promptly fell asleep. (You'll see a pattern here soon)

We arrived an hour later to find our luggage was somewhere else! Ack! Feeling a bit worse for wear I found a taxi. That was a ride worth the money... if you like thrill rides... which got my adrenaline running... which kept me awake while I navigated the hotel itself.

I found my way to the room I'm sharing with a Leader from Minnesota (Susi) and Israel (Donna) and later in the week with Illinois (Jaime). After misdialing my new phone card number I finally reached my husband to tearfully declare I had arrived... leave a few messages for folks staying int eh hotel and check on my luggage.......... and zonked out.

Sometime later (I'm in asome time warp) Mz. Sandee, one of the techno wizards here in the techroom, returned my call and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. clean very cool clothes from a store near her and clean underwear. Mine were hanging up to dry in the shower so I was very excited about that!

So, after dressing in my new $10 dress and borrowed undies, meeting Katy from Alaska!!!! and her adorable baby Byron!!!!... having a bit of lunch I found my way here to the tech room.
Safe at last!!

more later zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Today's the day!

Gail's LLLI Conference Blog

Today's the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My nerves are settling down.
Just fine tuning my suitcase and deciding what to leave behind. I want to save space to bring things back home to my family.

On my way to work this morning I'll pick up some cash for the World Faire and tips. I'll pick up some almonds and sunflower seeds to munch on while sight seeing and while waiting for my plane this afternoon. I bought some packets for seasoned tuna to add to noodles for a few dinners. I'll have to let you know how it works. My dh suggested military meals... hmmm.

I've printed off copies of all the emails about where to be when...
I've charged my cameras batteries and picked up a charger instead of taking my docking station and cables along on the trip. I really like it! It fits in my little camera bag and charges much faster!!

I guess I'm ready???? Lol.
Off to see what else I should leave home. I wish I had a rectangluar shawl. I could use it to keep warm, sit on, carry stuff in... i just never found what i wanted...hmmm, maybe I'll find one at the World Faire!!


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I leave tomorrow!!!!

Gail's LLLI Conference Blog
Oh my,
I'm trying to pack and can't decide on anything. Well, half my bag is packed and now I'm stuck.
I never did find comfy shows to trudge around DC in... do you think they'll mind if I go barefoot??


My flight leaves at 6:45pm. "They" say to arrive 2 hours early. I'm taking a shuttle since it's cheaper than having dh drive me there and give up half his day's pay. But the latest shuttle I can get will leave me thee at 1:00.....It's going to be a long boring afternoon at the airport!

So now I'm getting nervous about finding my way through the airport, but Idon't have to worry about being LATE!! LOL. I'm still nervous about making my connections and finding a taxi to take me to the hotel once I reach DC(at midnight zzzz). I've counted up and just getting to my room will make 5 new challengfes/expereinces for me... that's just to get to me room!

Okay... time to go face my suitcase.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sessions sessions sessions

sessions sessions sessions

I finally picked out my session choices.

I chose ~~~

Employment and Breastfeeding: Making it Work for the preconference workshop on Saturday.

~Bullies, Victims & Bystanders: From pre-school to highschool-How parents can help break the cycle of violence. (My middle son has struggled with this on the bus and at school... I hope I get some ideas to help him)

~The sandwich generation: caught in the middle (I'm dead set in the middle)


~~Breastfeed a toddler? Why on earth? Is there any reason to do it? ('cause it's JACK NEWMAN!!!)

~~How Hospital Policies adversely Affect the Managment of Jaundice and Hypoglycemia (I want to know more before starting my ob clinicals)

~~Breastfeeding in Challenging Situations: Ankyloglossia, Candidiasis, and phone counseling latch on techniques. (I hope to hear more and actually see the "hamburger hold" and so much more)

~~Making Sense of Adolescence: Understanding and dealing with teenagers. (my son is turning 16, the other is 12.... I need this session... Hormones anyone??)

~~Solving Breastfeeding Problems: Are there natural laws we can use? ('cause it's Dianne Weissenger and Nancy Mohrbacher !!!)

Okay, now to make a photo copy and mail it in.

Once that's done I can relax and choose which sights I want to see!!


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Conference blogger 3

Conference blogger 3
Hello whoever you are…

I’m not sure if folks will ever really read this but I’ll keep writing as if you are. I realized I still haven’t introduced myself like the other Conference bloggers have. I just dove right into my quest for a room, roommate and a way to get to DC! Guess I was a bit hyper-focused!

So here I am… Gail. I’ve been a La Leche League Leader since my son Eric (12 years old) was 8 months old. I found LLL when my Son Alex (15 years) was 6 weeks old. My daughter Katie will be 10 on June 9th. Sigh my baby can’t really be turning 10!!!!

I live in Dunnville, Wisconsin, USA. Maybe you’ve heard of it??? It’s barely there anymore but if you’ve ever read about Caddie Woodlawn you’ll know right where I live. Well, sort of. Her house is near me. In fact my FIL donated the land that the park and historical marker are on, from his farm.

I co-lead the LLL of Menomonie Group with Chris who drives 45 minutes to lead meetings. Some of the moms have to drive that far too. I guess that’s the thing about LLL whether it’s a Series meeting, Area Conference or International conference. It’s worth traveling for.

I’ve never been to an international Conference before. Even though it’s within driving distance every two years when it’s in Chicago, somehow something always got in the way. This time, the dream is real!!! It’s not quite the dream I started out with but its coming true in its own way.

At first I thought I could never afford it. And then some friends encouraged me to apply for a scholarship. I didn’t think I’d have a chance, but I’d gain experience in the effort and maybe really have a chance the next time around…and then I got one!!!! (Thank you thank you thank you)

At first I thought it would be a dream come true if my family would meet me in DC before or after to go sightseeing. After some hard thinking and serious talking I realized I had to let that go… I love museums and historical sights. I can get lost for hours pouring over each detail, reading every scrap of information and boring my kids to tears….. I realized they would be much happier fishing and tromping through the woods with Dad. And, Dad an introvert will be MUCH happier as well!

At first I thought I would travel with a dear friend from Minnesota, Linda (HI!). But then family plans for a new addition to their home to make room for their growing (size not number)family became a priority. This threw me for a spin. Suddenly I had no anchor!!! I had to make decisions alone… travel alone… find a roommate… find folks to sight see with… eat with… AIAIAIAI I was SPAZING OUT!!

Ah! That was at first. Things are a bit different now.

I'm getting excited now!

I have a room, I have roommate, I have a flight and I know I can get a taxi to the hotel... Ah.. A PLAN!! (Never in my life did I think having a PLAN would be so darn important to me!)

I've stopped spazing (for at least this moment) and I'm starting to get giddy about being there. I'm not so giddy about the flight... good grief I know it sounds dumb but I've never flown alone! I process things by talking... some poor guy in coach is going to beg for another seat!!! (Or a stiff drink if he’s stuck by me)

Now I’m thinking ahead to the conference. Everyone I want to meet--- Founders! Authors! Leaders I’ve met online but not in real life. All the sessions I want to attend (How can I choose???) all the sights to see before the conference starts.

I'm going to have to make a list of people to meet while I'm there!!
I just bought a new scan disc card for our digital camera. It should hold 480 pictures if I'm reading the package right. Will that be enough???? ;-D If it's not enough room maybe I could email a bunch to myself and start over again!

Now I’m just plain excited!


Friday, May 27, 2005

Conference blogger 3

Conference blogger 3

Things are falling in place for my first ICF ever.

I've found a room mate from Minnesota, just across the border from my home state of Wisconsin. She has a tower room!! This will help stretch my conference budget. Towers rooms are a bit more spendy but come with the bennie of continental breakfast and appetizer in the afternoon. Whoo hoo!!! That should help me allot a bit more money to spend at the World Faire!!

I still haven't picked out all my sessions. How can I decide???


Friday, May 20, 2005

Well, I did it.

I reserved a room at the Hilton. It's the first concrete step on my road to the LLLICF!
I can barely believe I'll really be walking the halls with La leche League Leaders from around the world! next... to choose my sessions. I've narrowed them down, but with so much to choose from it hard.

Now to find a room mate!