I am at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Lexington, KY. I got in late last night after 2 really good flights (Tucson to Dallas-Fort Worth and DFW to Lexington). The hotel is AMAZING and the staff is very friendly and helpful.
This morning I was up early and headed down to the 0730 breakfast. I was finally able to meet some Delta Omicron National Officers in person! I met Past President Ann – she was the first President I served under when I started working as the editor of the alumni newsletter – and I met current President Jennifer as well as our Executive Secretary Debbie. What awesome ladies! Breakfast was wonderful – a yogurt station with plain yogurt and tons of stuff to mix in – granola, coconut, raisins, nuts (I think); TONS of beautiful and yummy fruit; an omelet station where you picked your toppings off one table and then they made the omelet for you; pancakes & french toast; fresh squeezed orange or pineapple juice; and of course other juices and coffee and sodas. Oh, there was a pastry table as well. And bacon and sausage and potatoes. Breakfast was sponsored by Herff-Jones, one of the companies that does the jewelry and badges for the fraternities, including Delta Omicron, and they gave all of the attendees a gift when we left. All the ladies got a beautiful silver necklace with a horsehead (we’re in Lexington – Horse Capital of KY, if not the whole US) and the men got pins that can be used as a tie pin or lapel pin.
After breakfast, I headed back up to my room and did some computer stuff for a little while before laying down and taking an hour and a half nap. That was really refreshing!! Then I got changed into my dress and headed down for the luncheon. More amazing food – croissant sandwiches, homemade potato chips, and a pickle (and a cold pasta salad, but I don’t care much for those and I had plenty to eat without it) and a really yummy chocolate cake-like dessert. I received my award during the luncheon – Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. And this wasn’t just professional music fraternities. PFA is ALL professional fraternities – music, pharmacy, law, engineering, nursing, business, etc. – so it’s quite an honor to receive an award!! After I gave my speech (which I wrote on the plane on the way here yesterday) thanking PFA and talking a little bit about what I do musically and volunteer-wise, this guy came up to me and kind of introduced himself and congratulated me and asked if he could put me on the spot for a little bit and tell everyone about my experiences as a musician in Afghanistan and Iraq. It caught me a little off guard, but I obliged, and everyone enjoyed hearing about what military musicians do during deployments. I had people coming up to me all afternoon when they saw me congratulating me and thanking me for sharing the after-the-speech stuff. I talked more to the guy later, as well, and caught his info this time. He’s a retired Air Force Colonel and used to be the Commander and Conductor of the Air Force Band. Wow!!
Once the lunch was done and we were done with pictures, I headed back to my room and got my iTunes going and I did some stitching. Around 1600 I headed back down to check out the exhibits and I got some free stuff, of course – several things for Robert. It took me over an hour to peruse the maybe 20 tables because everyone wanted to congratulate me and thank me for my service and stuff. Once I left there, I headed back up to my room (9th floor out of 16 floors) and got changed into running clothes and went back down to the fitness center. VERY NICE!! 2 treadmills, 2 ellipticals, 3 bikes, free weights, a few machines, yoga mats, etc. I got on a treadmill and did 3 miles. I did a ladder run – miles 0-.5 was at 5.7 mph, .5-1 at 6 mph, 1-1.5 at 6.3 mph, 1.5-2 at 6.6 mph, 2-2.25 at 7 mph, 2.25-2.5 at 6.7 mph, 2.5-2.75 at 6.4 mph, and 2.75-3 at 6.1 mph and then a 5 minute cool down. It was a really good workout – and much needed after all the food I’d already eaten today and with dinner still to come. After my workout, I had enough time to shower and change back into my dress before heading back down for dinner and more awards presentations.
The dinner, as the rest of the food, was awesome. Steak, potatoes, veggies, bread – and a salad before. We never got dessert, but that’s ok. Didn’t really need it anyway. Another member of Delta Omicron was awarded the Faculty Advisor of the Year. Dr. Betty is an amazing & beautiful woman. She’s 83 years young and just passed her brown belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. Make note – don’t mess with Delta Omicron. You’ve got Brown Belt Betty and Army Lani!! LOL We had a great time visiting and we took some more pictures after the dinner was over.
Once I got back to my room, I called Ryan and talked to him for a while and then I called and talked to Robert for a little bit. I also got a little bit more stitching done.
This has been an awesome experience and I’m so glad that I was able to come. I’m even more excited about continuing my position as alumni newsletter editor for Delta Omicron, and maybe someday (after the Army) move on to bigger positions within the fraternity. It was great meeting some of the National Officers, and I really hope that I’ll be able to attend the next Delta Omicron conference in 2012 so I can met all the National Officers – and they, me. It’ll be back at this very same hotel, so that’ll be fun!
Pictures are forthcoming. I packed my camera before thinking to get the pictures off it.