So it begins…life in the country

The view from the back of the house
The view from the back of the house

I’ve been on the West Coast for exactly a week, and in my (parents’) new home in Paso Robles for less than 24 hours. A slight hiccup means my stuff still isn’t arriving until Monday, but when it all gets here and I start a new work routine, it’s going to start feeling a little less like vacation and more like reality.

corgi signBecause so far, it hasn’t quite hit me yet. A weekend in Napa to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of my friend followed by a couple of days in San Francisco with another dear friend who moved out here in 2011 has been a stellar introduction to my new life as a California girl. Imagine trying to answer people when they ask, “So, where are you from?” I used to have trouble explaining my Louisiana to Ohio connection, but now to throw DC in the mix, especially right at the transition, is another story. Because I did in fact end up making DC my home, and I felt more in tune to it than I ever did in Ohio, despite living in the latter for nearly three times as long.

First order of business upon arrival to the “farm” was greeting the Corgis of course. My boy McGee is the same as always, and it’s wonderful to be with him again. And Abbey, oh Abbey, she’s a just a little ball of fluff and cuteness that I can barely describe. To be with puppies again is so much fun! And exhausting, for sure. Leftovers for dinner and a glass of wine topped off the first night, and I went to bed with the windows open in my room, all decked out already with some personal touches from my parents.

New coop door!
New coop door!

Today started with a great long walk with Dad and the dogs in the neighborhood, and I got to see just how many great hill workouts I’ll get in. My runs won’t be boring around here. Life on a farm has its duties — I helped Dad build a door to the chicken coop, and later I’ll pick some tomatoes from the garden, and maybe we’ll go to a wine tasting nearby.

But what’s most important is what’s happening right now: the dogs are laying on the floor, I’m in a chair writing, and my parents are nearby doing their own work. Beautiful scenery is all around us, and I get to wear stretchy pants and drink Dad’s fresh coffee. Life’s pretty good in the country so far.

As I settle in to my new home and figure out this journey, I hope you’ll stay tuned. Readers of my blog know I’m not really a daily update type of blogger, but I did want to share this first one with you from California. And if you really can’t get your fill of the Corgis, you can start following corgisandwine.tumblr.com, for lots of updates on… well, Corgis and wine.

A day at the new office
A day at the new office

What I really learned at the Nonprofit Technology Conference

After waiting four years for my turn to come up to attend NTEN’s annual Nonprofit Technology Conference, I jumped on the chance to attend this year’s show in DC on behalf of my organization (accompanied by one of my lovely online team members). And although I wrote down a few notes of things to follow up, demos to try, and presentations to download, there are some other, non-technology focused things I learned too, that stuck with me more than anything else. Here is just a sampling.

The NTC is just as much, if not more, about networking, and to be honest, just hanging out with people, than the actual sessions. I had heard this from a few people over the years, that they rarely attend an actual session (other than ones they may lead), and instead use the time to pop in here and there, catch up with colleagues, meet new friends, and have in-depth conversations about their everyday work and experiences in the hallways and lounges, sitting on the floor, or whispering in a corner. At a couple of points over the weekend, I found myself doing the same – and I didn’t feel like I had missed anything. In fact, I had gained something else – a new or enhanced connection.

Don’t write off a session even if you think you’ve heard it before. Sometimes there are sessions that have similar content and the same panelists as from another conference, webinar, or other event.

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