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2:41 p.m. - April 21, 2006
Happy / Sad
As the conference was ending this morning, I had a sense of peace and contentment.

I was happy to see a lot of my great friends and colleagues, like AJ, and spend time with them. I continued some valuable and viable professional connections, and I really feel at peace and at ease with my life and my career.

I did actually learn some things, brought some things back to discuss with our people, and learned what we are doing well at work and what we do need to work on for improvement’s sake.

I met some wonderful new friends, like The Consultant and Red, The Traveler, who I hope will be good friends for years to come. (Yes, and Red is already on my CD list, as we have shared the love of EBN / OZN in front of a roomful of our colleagues and friends, heh! (I think they were skeered!) – she also heard the whitest song known to mankind (“Happiness” by the Anita Kerr Singers)).

I need to also see how The Consultant does it – she’s a traveler on the go and has quite the brood she takes care of as well. Our twosome at home is a handful enough.

I did send Red and the Consultant links to this here page, so I probably need to straighten up and fly right. Hah! (Yeah, sure….)

(Oh, BTW, sign up for my NotifyList…it’ll help keep track of me…and I NEED help!)

I called up the City Mouse, who decided not to join us this year because she is pursuing another professional development opportunity, and told her how much this bunch of knuckleheads missed her. Heck, I was the one who had to organize the dinner party on Wednesday, and I tried to be as ruthlessly efficient as she was last year in Vancouver.

I reflected on how I have hooked back up with the Candidate, after a period of silence. It seems things are going well for her, starting a new career as a consultant after a not so fun year last year.

I had a lot of fun, as well, with Vicki on Tuesday, and we’re going to have fun tonight, as Zon will join us and we’ll be calling a few friends around the country in our various states of dishevelment.

I did realize that I’m a bit self-conscious about how I sometimes squirm in a seat at these things. I am a highly energetic guy, as you know, or can imagine, so sitting totally still isn’t in my bailiwick, so I hope the people in back of me can deal with my constant adjustments. (Well, at least I’m not adjusting my package…heh…oh, sorry bad visual. My bad!)

And of course, last night was that dinner that I mused about, big time, on these here pages. Actually, I mused about it here, just in case you need a Smed refresher course. (Actually, that’s not a bad idea…for $19.99, I can offer Smed refresher courses – hmmmm…)

Well, the party was much larger than I had thought, and it was a nice time with free food and good wine and great conversation. I do think there was an ulterior motive, yet it’s not one that will affect my day to day operations, nor will it affect my relationship with the main people from the consulting group, who actually have pointed to some of my prior published work and conference presentations in working with their clients. (Ma, I hit the big time!)

So I’m reflecting on how life couldn’t be any more perfect. I’m really in my happy place, in my zone, all this and that and that I’m just a happy boy!

So this essay was going to be all shiny and happy and all “Yea! Smed is having the greatest week in the history of the world!”

Then I read a MySpace blog from one of my closest, dearest, online friends.

Smacked up upside the head, it did.

She’s a fellow Diarylander, but she hasn’t written about it here, so I won’t say who it is or what the news was. But it was sobering news.

It made me sad, it made me angry, it gave me pause.

I didn’t know what to do at first – I just made a quick comment there, as a friend and I were just about ready to head toward lunch and I needed to go.

I made a quick cell phone call to her – and got her voice mail. I told her I cared about her and loved her and I hope all was going to be well.

She called me back as I was eating lunch, but I would gladly put down my chicken breast sandwich to talk to her. She filled me in on the details, added some more information, and basically just vented to me.

Then another call came in for her and she had to go.

I wish I was there, for her. Not that I could do anything, really. But for support and friendship and guidance and whatever I could do.

In situations like this, the long distance friends feel a bit helpless, except for offering empathy, love and support. We can’t DO anything, tangible, to make the situation right (even if anyone COULD make the situation right).

But I will do anything I can for her, and she knows that.

And I guess that’s the best anyone can do in my situation.

But news like that just takes the wind out of your sails. You’re on a high, loving life, perhaps a bit self-absorbed in your bliss, then someone you care about has bad news about their life and you get knocked off your pedestal real quick.

Oh, sure, I think some people (unfeeling cads, I suppose) would be relatively unaffected by someone else’s bad news, but right now I’m just not as fired up with tonight’s events as I could have been.

Yeah, it’ll be a blast, a hoot, and all that. Vicki will get me in trouble, I just know it. There will be a rollicking, laugh-a-minute write up about it, I’m sure, when I return from the scene of the crimes. It’ll probably be one way to pass the time on the plane.

But part of me will ache for a special friend over 1,000 miles away from Baltimore.

She’s reading this, she knows who she is.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. And you have a multitude of ways to contact me.

To everyone this weekend, find someone to hug! Please!


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