Sunday, August 11, 2019

National PTA Convention 2019

Columbus, Ohio. View outside my hotel room window from the downtown Hyatt.

I was not wanting to fly to Columbus. Another person from Tennessee PTA was driving and that sounded more appealing. And was leaving on Saturday morning and that was even more appealing to me--three nights and two and half days. But it was not to be.

I was the incoming president elect for Tennessee PTA and National PTA wanted me to come early for enhanced leadership training. They would pay for the flight and for the two extra nights at the hotel. Five nights in all. So, I flew in on Tuesday, June 18 and flew back home on Sunday, June 23 (barely, more on that at the end of this post).

I flew from Chattanooga to Atlanta and then Atlanta to Columbus. All on regional jets. Columbus has a good bus connector system with a bus from the airport to the major downtown hotels for $1.75. Chattanooga needs a system like that.

After rolling my suitcases for a block and a half from the bus drop (thank God, no rain), I checked into my hotel and was promptly charged my three nights onto my card. Plus a deposit. Nice Hyatt, really nice, not. I’ve heard of charging for the deposit but not the entire bill at check-in.
I was hungry after unpacking my packing cubes. (Love my packing cubes!) So, I walked over this huge convention center in Columbus, Ohio at 3 pm. Both restaurants in the hotel were closed and re-open at 4. All the restaurants in the convention center closed at 2. I was going like what the blank is going on!

I finally found an exit door out of the convention center and walked across the street to Fuzzy Taco. It was Tuesday- twofer Tuesdays. Yep two big tacoes for the price of one!  And happy hour! Yep a big giant goblet schooner of beer for 3 bucks.  Total bill, 7 bucks! Yep, I was happy!

The next day was Leadership Institute. I’m not going to bore ya with all of the details from the Institute nor from the following days of Convention general meetings, all of the workshops (5), and other meetings I attended. Suffice it to say, I learned a lot, met a lot of state PTA leaders from across the country, collected pins from different states, and voted on a lot of things. I do want to cover one general business meeting vote.

A resolution that I wrote and researched for my county PTA council was adopted by the State. Then the State sent it to National for consideration.The National PTA adopted it too!  Here is my good friend Charles Everett speaking on behalf of the resolution! You can see me in the background.

The Reflections dinner was fantastic!  It is so amazing the talent of our youth and children. The PTA arts programs plays such a big role connecting PTA to the arts and to families.

Another cool convention was going on at the same time. It was the Pokemon North America Championships. There were Pokemon teams competing for the title. Here are some pictures outside their door entrance.

It was a great convention. I was able to reconnect with other PTA leaders I had met at previous events. I was able to connect with incoming presidents and incoming president elects. This type of networking is so important. And I got to see my good friend, Charla, at the convention!

Thank you to Cheryl Floyd for being a great friend and a great president!

And now to the story about getting back to Chattanooga! What a messed up day of flight!

The plane left on time from Columbus but when we arrived near Atlanta, we were circling, almost 30 minutes. Then over the intercom, we were being diverted to Charlotte. I knew my connecting flight would be out of the question! Thankfully, through the Delta app, I got the last flight out of Atlanta. After three failed tries to take off from Charlotte only to be called back to the airport tarmac, we were finally cleared to leave the runway on the fourth attempt.

When I walked into the Atlanta airport that were people everywhere - even sitting in the hallways. It was madhouse mayhem! Every single flight was delayed or canceled. People were frustrated, mad, angry, bemused, or just tired. By the time I got to the correct terminal for my flight to Chatt, I found out that the gate was changed, again. Then I walked to the new gate, and there wasn't a seat to be found. Then my flight to Chatt was delayed another 30 minutes. Thankfully, I got back to Chatt, 5 and half hours late. But I was thankful just to make it out of Atlanta airport unlike a lot of passengers.
It was great to be back home!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

It has been awhile since I wrote a politically-charged blog post. So this one is about climate change.

<sarcasm>Nothing is happening. It's all a hoax. Fake news. Keep telling yourself that. You'll believe it if you repeat it enough.<drip>

Two penguin chicks survive out of 40,000

200 Reindeer found dead in Norway

Greenland's Land Ice Sheet Melting Faster; air flow over Atlantic disturbed

Cold War Spy Photos Show Himalayan Ice Melt

Carbon Dioxide so plentiful, can trees help us now?

Yeah - it's just a hoax. Carbon dioxide isn't increasing, ice isn't really melting in tons, nothing is going on. Just go back to work and ignore all of the signs. Maybe the end will come soon and we won't have anymore responsibility to care for the Earth.

Ignore at your own peril. And your great, great, great grandchildren's lives.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

2019 Tennessee PTA Convention - April 25-28

The annual convention in 2019 was held in Memphis. I drove from Chattanooga to Memphis using what I call the southern route that runs along the northern top of Bama and Mississippi into southwestern Shelby County--Memphis.

The convention was a little different this year. It was held in a venue about two miles from the hotel. The venue closed at 7:30 pm. So there weren't any traditional separate goodbyes. Most of the board stayed until Sunday morning to leave, which is what I did.

My friend Larry and I decided to get BBQ for dinner Friday night and lo and behold everyone seemed to follow us! It was a great time. The next night after convention was over, we all went to Kooky Canuck. I had a great time with maple syrup steak and maple syrup drinks!

However, this convention was way different. I was nominated for an office position, which was not new to me, but this position was different. President elect. That means in two years, I would become president. But there was one more twist. For the first time, the election of the Tennessee PTA president elect would be contested.

Never in my entire life on the Tennessee PTA board did I ever think I would be challenged at an officer election before the 2017-2019 term. Something happened in the last 18 months resulting in a challenge. I knew it was coming. The election prep and going through it just added to the stress in making plans for the big event trip to Pensacola on the 1st of May.

But I made the best of it. Gave a solid campaign speech. Presented my workshop and gave information about a grant we had received. And was elected! Nevertheless, the end of convention for me was anticlimactic; I expected something big, but I was humbled by the election. Maybe that's what I needed after all--a shot of humility.

Talking about the education data grant to convention delegates
Convention forum
Being installed by former National PTA President Betsy Landers
A part of the 2019-2021 Executive Team as President elect of Tennessee PTA!