Yesterday, I attended a Wellness Managers' Meeting in Burbank. It was a fun morning. I got to drive a Pool Vehicle - an amazing piece of Ford Machinery. I don't even know what model it was (this point will be important, later) - I looked my ticket up after I got back to the office, and all they wrote was "Ford 4 door sedan." That's accurate, but not very specific. I think it was a 2005 Ford Something. Wouldn't that be a cool name for an actual model? "The Ford Something: It Goes Wherever You Do."). It was OK to drive but certainly not as luxurious as my 2004 Honda Accord.
(Note: My 2004 Honda Accord LX is not very luxurious.)
They asked me what type of vehicle I wanted when I made my reservation, and I said "A Prius or Taurus," so it could've been a Taurus, but it felt a little big. Truth be told, I wanted one of the new Chevy Volts we've got on campus, but I don't know if they're letting those out. I should've asked. Oh, well: next time.
The meeting was held at Kaiser, but in a really cool facility - they have a movie theater. It's called "Technicolor Digital Cinema." Quite beautiful. Lots of beautiful landscaping, valet parking, delicious continental breakfast. Breakfast wraps with spinach wraps and egg whites and asparagus: yummy. We also had a ton of fruit, melon and berries. It was a nice spread. Oh, and Starbucks coffee for the ones who like Starbucks coffee, i.e., not me.
One nice thing: at the last few wellness manager meetings, I've had to make arrangements ahead of time for a lactation room because I was still pumping. This time I didn't have to do that because I stopped pumping, what? a few months ago? I don't even remember. Anyway, the woman who helped with that in the past was so nice, and made sure to stop me as I was walking in to ask if I needed a room. I thought that was very thoughtful.
I ate my breakfast with another Wellness Manager, Christina, and some other lady whose name I've already forgotten. Christina and I walked in together because we pulled into the parking area at the same time. She was a little flustered: I guess she had gotten lost. I had great directions on the way there (this point will be important, later), thanks to my iPhone GPS app, Waze (I tried using the maps app on my updated iPhone 4, and it sucks. Period. Don't waste your time), so even though I got a late start, I was on time for breakfast and registration. Christina and I were chatting - she was quite pretty, and dressed to kill, and we joined this other woman's table. The other woman commented on my large (20 oz.) coffee commuter mug, full of delicious home brewed/home ground gourmet coffee (of course, she didn't know what was in it. For all she knew, I could've been drinking straight vodka). She too was drinking a coffee (McDonald's... OH SHIT, have I become a coffee snob?). She said, "Oh, you're like me, you take your coffee everywhere with you!" I was honest and said I'd just started doing that, but yeah, I do. Then she said, "I have a baby, so I don't get a lot of sleep, so I need my coffee!"
Hey, babies! I love talking about babies! Her kid is 4, though: not quite a baby. She had quite a few opinions and tips and mothering advice. Most of it was either outdated, potentially harmful to babies, or just plain wacko. And then she looked at me askance when I told her I was still breastfeeding! She was all, what else does he eat? What is up with people? Why do they want their little babies to be so advanced in everything? JP's certainly not being harmed by my breast milk! He eats everything else. Even though sometimes I'm tired of it, or it hurts, or getting up at 3:30 to feed him every night is not the most fun thing to do, I'm proud we're still doing it. It IS good for him. Some other person I was talking to awhile ago, when I admitted that it was starting to feel like it's getting too hard, said, "Oh no, I loved doing it! It was never a hardship!" Well, good for you, lady! I'm not that happy go-lucky. Still: when I think about it, I'm not ready to stop.
Anyway, usual disclaimer here: I'm not trying to make anybody who didn't breastfeed feel bad about their decision. Everyone is different. On the other hand, why do people feel free to cast their negative opinion on continuing to do so? Why would anyone think it was bad?
After breakfast, we went into the theater. In addition to the usual Wellness Managers' meeting stuff, they showed us part 4 of the HBO movie, "The Weight of the Nation." It was really a great movie, though I will admit that there were some parts of it that reminded me of those PETA-type commercials. Some of the footage felt a little bit overly dramatic, in that "this dog will be killed in a horrific way if you don't give $10 right now" type of way. You know those sad commercials, with Sally Struthers and the whimpering Cheryl Crow music? Still, for the most part, I thought the movie was incredibly inspiring. It was a little overwhelming, even, especially when they were talking about agriculture and American farms and how big business is running the show. That seems like an impossible problem to fix. How do you fight politicians and lobbyists and people who just want your money, who don't care what they're feeding you?
There was one part that was especially moving. They talked about how in Orange County, in the city of Santa Ana, there is no park for the kids to play in. The children literally have to play in an empty parking lot. There was a group of Latino women who got together and after 7 years are finally getting a park built in their community because they did something. You can read more about it here. I wrote down the names of a couple of people who were in the movie that I want to learn more about. America Bracho was one of them.
After the meeting, we all lined up for our cars. I was behind a young Asian woman who was carrying the cutest Kate Spade purse. I don't care for Kate Spade all that much, but it made me think it's time for a new LeSportsac. I can't find that Kate Spade bag on the Internet, so maybe it was an old one (or a fake!). I was carrying the huge canvas bag they gave us full of goodies (a copy of the whole "Weight of the Nation" movie, various kitchen utensils, etc.), my purse, my "Internet Librarian 2002" bag full of my meeting materials, and a huge Jack LaLanne PowerJuicer that one of the "Biggest Loser" teams from my department won. That sucker was heavy. I finally got to the front of the line, gave the dude my ticket, and realized that other than the fact that it was white, a Ford, and said "Pool Vehicle" on it, I had no idea what my car looked like.
There were lots of white Ford Pool Vehicles in that line.
Luckily, I left my sneakers on the passenger seat (the first car they brought me in the morning wouldn't start, so I got on the road later than I wanted to. I missed the fitness walk at 7:30. Those are usually fun.), so I was sure I wasn't stealing some other department's car.
Going home was a little more complicated. I've been having trouble with my Waze app recently - it worked fine on the way to Burbank, but for some reason it kept re-routing my trip home. My friend had told me to reset the program the other day when it wasn't working right, but when you're driving a County vehicle with a big ol' "How Am I Driving" sticker on the back, it's not a good idea to start messing around with your phone. I kind of knew how to get home from Kaiser, but I went to Porto's first and got all turned around.
Anyway, no big deal, I made it back to the office just fine. My horse sense kicked in and I figured it out.
After work, I took JP with me to a La Leche League meeting. It's been awhile since I've been to one, and I felt the need for other nursing mamas. I mentioned above that I've been having some pain - nothing bad, really, but uncomfortable. And I wanted to just check in.
There was a range of women there - 3 who were pregnant, one with a 2 month old, one with a one year old, and one woman with a 2 and a half year old boy. Oh, and one woman with a 6 month old, but she'd left the baby at home because she was sleeping. JP sat on my lap most of the time. He tried to play but the older boy scared him! The woman with the absent baby kind of hijacked the meeting... I forgot that this happens almost every time. She was one of those people who gets frozen by information (Patty calls this Analysis Paralysis) - she was concerned about her daughter being constipated, but when the leader recommended some foods that can help with that, said, "But I read that everything constipates babies!" She was like that for every issue she brought up. It was unclear to me if her child sleeps too much, or not enough. Anyway, my question was answered (the leader suggested that I'm having an eczema-like reaction to something JP is eating. He's been eating a ton of salsa lately. It could be that, or our position when he eats. It's also possible I was/am ovulating. I'm going to think about it and see what I can do based on that information). It was nice to see the pregnant women there. One of them said, "Your son is so cute!" She said that about two times. Hey: he's cute! What can I say?
JP got tired so we left a little early (the mother of the constipated baby was talking again). He fell asleep in the car, and we all had a pretty quiet night after that. Patrick helped me put away the laundry, I set up the coffee maker for the morning, ate a few leftover potato balls for a late dinner, and we went to bed.
It was a busy, but satisfying day. I'm glad it's Thursday now, I'm ready for the weekend.