Anyone who's been around a while will probably have heard me bitching about the twice yearly development weeks that my organisation holds. In the two and a half years I've been with them, I've managed to miss most of all of them, either through illness or getting a sneaky leave pass from my manager not to attend.
This time? Well, for once I wasn't approaching the thing with the usual fear and trepidation. I've had some quiet time this morning to muse on why this might be so, and you know something? I think losing weight is helping me deal better with people.
When you're very overweight, you're almost invisible socially. And it's easier to keep people well and truly at arm's length, because they can be damn cruel, and the closer you let them get to you, the worse they end up hurting you.
Suddenly, I'm not keeping people at arm's length any more. And I'm discovering that they don't hurt you when you let them get close - in fact, they are quite wonderful to you. And this week really proved it to me.
I had some lovely moments with the terrific people I work with, both the ones in my team and others in the wider organisation. I find it easier to talk with people, and to join conversations.
I will admit, by the end of the three days, I did feel a little . . . "stressed" is the wrong word, more low level anxious. But at least I recognised the symptoms - being unable to make really simple decisions, to-ing and fro-ing endlessly. So I gave myself time to de-stress this morning and I feel much better as a result. Not to mention rather proud of the self-insights I gained!
The week itself also provided some chuckles I just have to share though!
Day one saw us playing acronym bingo with the Executive Director, who challenged us to come up with the names for a very long list of acronyms found in one of our strategic briefing papers recently. There was NRA (the National Reform Agenda, not the National Rifle Association!), and OMG - my Joey Styles impression ("Oh. My. GOD!") got a lot of laughs - so many that I can't even remember what it properly stands for!
And then there was MINCO, which is actually short for Ministerial Council, but one table insisted it stood for "Men in Naughty Cowboy Outfits"!! To which my wonderful male gay co-worker said, "Is there any other kind?"
Of course, you know where my mind went hearing that . . .
Oh yeah, gotta love the chaps! ;-)
Then there was a discussion over CollectiveX, which is an online collaboration tool we're investigating. A lot of the people I work with are surprisingly technologically illiterate, even the young ones! Although we have quite the contingent of Facebookers!
I felt like the lone geek, because every question the guy asked, I was the only one with their hand up! Bulletin boards or forums? I'm administrator on a couple. RSS feeds? Sure, got them on my LJ. Second Life? Yeah, I know about it - fuck no, I'm not on it!
After that session, I got into a conversation with our new communications officer, who asked me about the forums I mod. I admitted they were for roleplay, and we had a great talk about roleplay and, of all things, fan fiction writing! She's a writer too, and it was great to discuss it on a "creative outlet" level rather than fandom specific.
The second day, we were going to be going to play croquet in the afternoon, so in a week that was very casual dress anyway, I chose to wear a purple camisole over white knee-length shorts, with a light cotton blouse over it as a sun block. But in the conference centre in the morning, I took the blouse off.
Now, this is a strappy top, and I still have a lot of weight to lose. But oh boy, did I get compliments! I had people making a point of coming up to me all morning specifically to tell me how wonderful I looked!
I teamed this cami with some pieces of bling from dangerpuddle's amazing Etsy store - a gorgeous goldtone necklace and a pair of spring-toned glass bead bracelets, and they likewise garnered compliments galore. I pimped you out, hon ;-)
So then we all piled onto a bus and headed off to a delightfully old-fashioned little croquet club for a barbeque lunch and games of croquet.
More pimping out for dangerpuddle - one of my colleagues was wearing a darling little fedora, and I told her she should check out the Etsy store for some hat pins.
Now, I personally wear an Akubra - a good Aussie bush hat:
Of course, mine sports a jaunty purple feather as well as the more traditional one, because I have to be special!
I pointed at my very no-nonsense hat, and said that if I did put a jewelled hat pin in it, no matter how beautiful, alarms would probably go off nationally. Leading to the following exchange between one of the girls I work with and I:
Me: The national response group would be called out
K: On horseback
K: In chaps!
Me: Leather ones . . .
K: Vests, with nothing on under them
Me: -wondering how she knows I'm thinking about 'Taker in that outfit right then, probably the drooling is a giveaway-
K: Oh yeah - men in naughty cowboy outfits!
K: It's scary how our minds are going to the same place!
Me: -grinning- It's a good place!
Me: -grinning even more- Now that's just evil - I love it!
Ah, I love the girls I work with - have I mentioned this? ;-)
Now, I was disappointed in myself, because as Team Captain, I had promised my team my full evil attention, but I forgot to bring my flogger and handcuffs. However, to my delight, I didn't need them - as croquet is a very evil game all on its own! It's all about the strategy, baby - either you're trying to score, or trying to stop someone else from doing it! Why does that sound like porn?
I spent a very enjoyable few hours playing, including two games - one with the Executive Director as my partner, and one against him. It's not everywhere you can take a swing at the boss's ball with a mallet and get away with it! ;-)
I got a lot of cheers from the sidelines for my most evil manouvering - it's good to be evil in croquet!
On the last day, we had this silly little group exercise where we had to present an infomercial on one of the sessions of the week - and we had a lot of fun coming up with the idea, and to my surprise, I found myself volunteering to be the "newsreader". I never do things like that - I hate being in the spotlight.
One of the women at our table said, "You should! You're looking like a newsreader - you're very glam and coordinated today!"
For the record, that's dangerpuddle's doing - the Mermaid's Tears earrings I wore are an excellent match for the turquoise blouse I was wearing!
Now, before anyone asks where the pictures are, the one colleague who is always taking pictures was sick the first day, and then forgot her camera the other days. There will be video footage of the "infomercial" though - if I can snag that and post it, I'll link it onto a post.
The last thing I wanted to say was that my boss came in for lunch on the third day, and she's looking wonderfully well! All the test results came back good - definitely cancer, but she already knew that, and it's not spread to her lymph nodes. Which means chemotherapy but not radiation. She's got some tough time ahead of her with chemo, but she'll be going into that strong and healthy, and that will help.
But she gave me a big hug and said, "Hello skinny minnie - you're looking thinner every time I see you!"
I did tell her that was the general idea, but it did make me feel good!