I have just returned from attending the AMTA National Convention in Portland, Oregon along with about 1400 fellow therapists, and I must say I believe it was the best one yet! The folks at the Oregon Chapter were great hosts. I wouldn’t have expected anything less, especially since we were in the hometown (well, the adopted hometown) of President Glenath Moyle. Incidentally, Glenath is the most exuberant and delightful leader to come down the pike. She is a ball of energy and one of the friendliest and most approachable people on the planet.
I arrived on Monday night so I could attend the Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday. It was a great meeting, no big surprises, and just one good report after another. An increase in membership and finances in good shape, and in the present economy that’s good to hear.
Tuesday evening, I hung out with Xerlan Geiser-Deery and Christopher Deery, John Seigel, Michael Reynolds, and Allissa Haines. We went to one of Portland’s many brew pubs and enjoyed some great food and fellowship. Wednesday, the opening ceremony was hands-down the best. The keynote speaker was Kevin Carroll, author of Red Rubber Ball, and he had me both laughing and in tears before it was over. I later had my inaugural introduction to the House of Delegates, which was a great experience. That night, I attended the annual Lippincott Williams & Wilkins author’s dinner. We went to a great restaurant called Mother’s. I sat with Joe Muscolino and Celia Bucci and really enjoyed myself. Also in attendance were LWW staff members, including my lovely editor Linda Francis, without whom I would have never written a book, along with Kelly Squazzo, Pat Archer, MaryBeth Braun, Ruth Werner, Les Sweeney, Leslie Young, Anne Williams, Eric Brown, Diana Thompson, and probably a few people I am forgetting. It was a fun evening and we were the last people to leave the restaurant.
Thursday was more time in the House of Delegates. That is quite a process. Ann Blair Kennedy had authored a number of position statements and there was heavy debate before quite a few of them passed. Thursday night, we had a little blogger’s meeting in the bar, attended by Allissa Haines, Dale Favier, Kelli Wise, Kat Mayerovitch, Chris Widlund, John Seigel, and Lisa Santorino. All of us except Chris, who is pregnant and had a good excuse to stay in and rest, walked over to an Asian restaurant recommended by John and we consumed a copious quantity of all kinds of Thai and Chinese goodies. After we left we all headed out to the Rock Bottom to attend the Facebook Friends party. What a gathering! There were wall to wall people. I met so many FB friends I couldn’t name a tenth of them!
Friday I attended a great class in how to make research posters, taught by the newly-married Kim Goral Stevenson. I worked in a group with Rose Chunco, Kat, Jerrilyn Cambron, and another beautiful soul that my mind is going blank on at the moment! I knew I should have written all this down! Friday night, all the folks from the North Carolina Chapter attended the dinner cruise on the Spirit of Portland hosted by the OR Chapter. We laughed so much we nearly cried. The food was awesome and the company was better. It was a blast.
Saturday, I blew off the two classes I had registered for, hopped on the train, and rode around the city. I don’t usually duck out on classes, but frankly I was running on empty by that time…I went straight to Portland from attending the FSMTB meeting in Los Angeles and my poor old brain had absorbed about all it was going to by that time. I came back to the hotel in time to take a nap so I could attend the dinner dance. It’s fun for everyone to get all dressed up for dinner and dancing. The band sounded great. I didn’t stay late; I was just too tired to party til midnight, but it was definitely a festive gathering.
In between all the official festivities, I visited with a lot of old friends, especially the fine folks from my own chapter, and the GA chapter. That crowd is a bunch of characters and I just love them. I got a half-hour foot massage at the Sanctuary, and made several visits to the exhibit hall. One day I sat talking with Bill Brown, the Deputy Director of the AMTA for over an hour. He’s a great guy and I really enjoyed getting to know him better. I also spent time visiting with Sally and Ed Hacking, Kathleen Gramzay, Lynda Solien-Wolfe, Ariana Vincent, and too many more to count.
Another high point was the debut of Rise and Shine, the CD of music donated by massage therapists to benefit the Massage Therapy Foundation. I just got to listen to my copy today, and I am very proud to be included in such a talented group of people. The music is just great. Get a copy if you haven’t already!
Portland is a beautiful city. The train is awesome. The people were friendly. I never made it to Voodoo Donuts–but I did get to eat one provided by the folks from the American Massage Conference. If I had any complaints about the whole thing, it’s just that there were too many wonderful things going on at the same time. I hated having to miss one event to attend another, but that’s the way the ball bounces when that many people come together and try to accomplish as much as we can pack in to just a few short days.
The AMTA National Convention will be held in Raleigh NC in 2012. I don’t know how we’re going to top the OR folks, but we’ll give it our best shot! I hope to see you there!