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Dexter and I have been bonding and hanging out all week-end. Having a puppy puts everything into perspective. They are dependent on you and at the same time make you dependent on them. I already cannot imagine my life without this little guy.

We have to make some changes to the Cochiti Cabin. Found a few areas not “puppy proof”.

a. The peppers on my porch that blew off the ristra – danger!

b. The grass skirt at the base of my giant lighted fake palm tree in the living room -danger!

c. The great outdoors with swirling hawks the size of toddlers that can snatch up a jack rabbit – danger!

d. My open fireplace – danger!

But hey – it’s all good. Dexter’s adjusting well – as you can tell by his latest photo.

Why spend….a LOT on doggie toys when I could’ve spent the same amount on one rug from Pier 1 Imports. Dexter’s teething – on my rug.

I’ve never shared a bed with a dog before. Always thought it a bit unsanitary. But little Dexter had to sleep next to me. He tossed and turned a bit but finally I heard little puppy snores. I watched him have puppy dreams and finally – total relaxation, on his back little paws above his head.

I woke up at 4:00 and I had to pee – I laid there for quite awhile talking myself out of it because I didn’t want to wake him – cuz then well HE’D have to pee and that means we go outside.

I slowly slipped off my side of the bed and tip toed towards the bathroom – too late, Dexter bolted up and his first “Bark!” Dexter the Protector! Awwwwww. He got to pee first (outside). Me (inside). Just to be clear.

I hope y’all don’t mind me taking a break from my usual blogging. I’ve had a couple of anonymouse commentors lately that are dragging me down. I’m okay debating issues – but identify yourself. I’ve approved all of the comments except one – cuz he was just being a dick. No balls.

There, I said it.

Mark and I adopted a 7 week old Maltese/Shih Tzu mix today. I had a “dog child” before – my beloved Miss Mavis. But she was from a previous marriage – and although Mark was an excellent stepfather – this feels so different. This is our dog.

We never had real children, so this is as close as we’ll get. I can only imagine that some of these things are similar. Like last night at PetSmart – I spent….a lot…..cuz he needed everything! Car seat, crib, diapers (puppy potty training pads) food, toys, bathing accessories. People should get “puppy showers” just like baby showers I’m thinking.

I also had this nervous feeling last night – my life will be forever changed. No more passing out on the couch with empty wine bottles on the floor. I’ll have to pick them up so the puppy doesn’t get hurt batting around the room. No more rolling over and hitting the snooze button – that boy will have to go out and pee!

When I told my friends, family and co-workers that we named him Dexter several protested. “What a horrible name! Isn’t that the name of a serial killer?” Yes – but a GOOD serial killer, I pointed out. I had a friend who wisely told no one what she planned to name her child. No matter what name you pick there’s always someone who had an ex or creepy schoolmate or relative with “that name.”

Today he arrived. He’s still a baby so he kind of sleeps, eats and poops and pees – and plays a little bit. He HATED the car seat and screamed like a banshee when i put him in it. I’m a bad mom, I took him out and let him sit in my lap – while I was driving! I went all Britney Spears!

My friends are giving me puppy raising advice. Be tough – don’t give in – let him cry! I can’t. I would’ve been a terrible mother.

So world – look forward to the many adventures of Dexter Wymore-Sadowski.

Monday, March 7th……..

Charlie Sheen was the highest paid actor on television at $2 million per episode. He said he wouldn’t go back unless they increased it to $3 million.

Then the National Football League threatened to strike!

According to CNBC: “….the dispute centers on money: how to divide the billions in revenues, how much of that should go to owners off the top to cover certain costs, and the union’s insistence on what it calls “financial transparency.”

On Friday, March 11th – this happened:

 

Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.

Last week I hiked the hill. My first time ever walking the marble halls of buildings packed with our elected officials who will decide our future. The state flags line the halls – guiding us to our representatives.

I’m an Oregonian – born and raised in Portland. Always will be. I know that Portlanders are bred to dislike the state to the South – especially the deep south – Los Angeles. Portlanders are granola-eating-Birkenstock-wearing-tree-hugging-bicycle-rights-protecting-recycling-liberals.  Just watch Portlandia on the IFC network. It is spot on.

A recent transplant  to New Mexico I can say that they are rightfully proud of their heritage, their art, the balloon festival and of course…the green chile. There is NEW Mexican food and there’s Mexican food. Don’t ever confuse the two. The street Juan Tabo, is pronounced Whan TU-boh. I’m not supposed to love the Rail Runner (yet) and we are bustin’ proud of the film industry we’ve built and are pretty passionate about protecting it at this point. New Mexico’s motto: The Land of Enchantment.  The state that doesn’t HAVE to say “Don’t Mess with Us.” But instead lives it by appointing the Road Runner the state bird and a cactus as the state flower. The Road Runner, in addition to successfully eluding Wylee Coyote for decades also can kill a rattle snake. We’re just sayin’…..

This is why, in my opinion, state leagues work. Affinity. The same reason credit unions worked. A common bond. An intimate knowledge of the issues and nuances and cultural differences and the secret language of a state.

There were 17 of us from the great state of New Mexico hiking the hill last week.

Walking the long hall we passed the Senate offices of Kansas, California, Wyoming. As you read those states certain images pop into your head. That’s called branding. And it’s not fabricated by an ad agency, it’s been developing over hundreds of years through the natives and immigrants and sports teams and universities and farmers.

Speaking of the universities – states, like colleges have alumni. The people that were born and raised in the territory. Even when they leave – they will always be alums.

This is why the state league system has worked so well. This is why Edward Filene and Roy Bergengren traveled extensively during the 1920’s forming state leagues through the Credit Union National Extension Bureau. The term “league” was employed to denote a mutually supportive organization for the promotion and success of credit unions.

The state leagues each created a corporate credit union – the credit union for credit unions. But the corporate system just moved our money. Consolidation in that industry made sense and of course, as we know today, is mandated due to circumstances that I promise  never to address in this blog. We’ve flogged that horse ad nauseum.

I worked for the Oregon CU League many years ago. It allowed me to travel all over my home state. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to small towns  like LaGrande and Coos Bay and Klamath Falls. If it were not for the league, it’s likely I never would’ve discovered all that is beautiful in Oregon and met some amazing people.

Same goes for New Mexico. I’ve been to Silver City – where I found the most amazing wine bar. And had the Bobby Flay Throw Down winning green chile cheeseburger in San Antonio, New Mexico. I’ve seen Hatch – home of the world famous green chile. And of course the aliens in Roswell.

I hope we never forget these tiny pockets of our world. Where hard working dedicated souls continue to honor Filene’s vision of people helping people.

No one is wearing shoes like this to hike the hill - unless they're from Oregon!

Today is the day we hike the hill. After three days of walking around in high heels, our toes mashed, bunyons forming, hobbled crippled masses. Okay – it’s not that bad, it’s just WHAT WAS I THINKING not bringing good walking shoes? I went to Filene’s Basement yesterday and got a pair of granny/nun shoes. I have no shame. My feet are killing me.

I have to admit it – I’ve never had more fun at a convention than I am at this, my first-ever, GAC. And I’ve been to a TON of conventions. Here’s why I think I’m diggin’ this one the most.

1. Everyone is here. It’s been so fun to see folks that I worked for, consulted with, blogged about, dated, married – my 30 year career is sitting in one giant room. It’s like a party for me!

2. The Crashers – They are a legitimate movement within the movement. Recognized this morning at the opening session by Gigi Hyland and Mark Meyer.  The aging membership is mirrored in our management. That huge generation called Boomers still pretty much runs the show. Poor Gen X was so small they didn’t matter or get much recognition. But now as Boomers age – and we have a mass retirement of leaders in the next five years it’s essential we pass the torch. We are so fortunate to have this group of young professionals CRASH our party to get our attention. They are the future of financial cooperatives.

3. The entertainment. When I saw that Three Dog Night and The Fab Four were performing Sunday and Tuesday nights respectively, I did a little eye roll. My bad. It was so fun to dance and sing and drink and wave our zippo lighter apps on our iPhones in support of these musicians. There’s nothing like music to bring people together.

4. Washington DC. You can feel the power here. The history. The potential. Sure – the economy sucks and I’m not thrilled with our commander in chief – but I respect the system. I’m going to do my part today to educate our leaders about credit unions. I’m only one voice, but I matter.

5. The crazy ass weather. We went from record highs (in the low 70s) to a tornado watch and driving rain to blue sky and cold. And that’s just today! The weather is a symbol of our economy – it’s changing hourly. The metaphor is not lost on me.

6. The logistics. As a meeting planner for CUANM I know first hand the excruciating attention to detail necessary to pull off an event and CUNA gets two snaps up!  I’m sure it was probably crazy town behind the scenes but from the audience perspective – way to go!

Last day to lobby – last night to partay!

Cheers!

From L to R: Me, Sarah Bang, CEO of FSCC, Sylvia Lyon, CEO of CUANM

I’m up. In row five for the opening keynote session. Arianna Huffington and Mary Matalin are going to face off. Yay!

Yesterday afternoon we got to see Captain Sully Sullenberger . He’s been labled and honored as a hero. And rightfully so. But to hear him speak, he’s uncomfortable with that moniker. He was very humble. He gave credit first to his parents, and their values that formed him at an early age. He also acknowledged his years in the military as a fighter pilot – pointing out that there is no better example of “team” than flying in formation 100 feet off the ground at the speed of sound. You can’t take your eye off the goal in that situation. And so it was with that discipline and laser like focus that he was able to react to a double bird strike, taking out both engines just 100 seconds into the take-off. He had to prioritize, assess his options, and make an executive decision. He ignored the instructions of air traffic control to land in Jersey. Instead he calmly informed them and his co-pilot they were landing on the Hudson. Not IN the Hudson – on it. And he did.

His story echoed that of Jim Collins at The One Conference. Level 5 leaders are those that are not in it for themselves  – but for the cause. They blend the paradoxical combination of deep personal humility and intense professional will.

Last night was my first ever Herb Wegner Memorial Dinner and I have to say – inspiring. And not just the fact that the Grand Hyatt managed to feed 800 people steak and lobster that was perfectly prepared, at the same time. It made me standing ovation proud to be part of this movement. Dan Mica was honored last night as well as Rudy Handly and the National Youth Involvement Board. I can say we successfully converted Mr Mica into a credit union evangelist.

He will be known for bringing a strong and lasting presence to Washington DC. Madison will always be the home of CUNA but we need to be in DC to keep an eye on the legislative and regulatory evils that lurk in the halls of Congress. He’s a level 5 leader in that he selected a superb successor, and wants CUNA to become more successful in the future. I see great things in our future with Bill Cheney at the helm.

I’ve never met Rudy Handly but know his name from Orange County Teachers. The video of Rudy’s life and career mirrored Captain Sully’s to some degree.

Utterly intolerant of mediocrity, they are stoic in their resolve to do whatever it takes to produce great results.

And finally I have to acknowledge the speech that Rebecca Isaacs and Brandon Pugh gave as they accepted the Outstanding Organization award on behalf of the National Youth Involvement Board.

“We are not done!” cried Rebecca. Very emotionally delivered and rightfully so.

NYIB was founded in 1972 to deal with the ever present issue of an aging field of membership. They have focused on classroom presentations to educate our youth. Today we still have an aging membership – 48 and rising. If we do not “Up Our Youth” we will literally die of old age.

Thank you Rebecca for reminding us why we’re here – We are not done.

SIDEBAR: When I was done with dinner and all the emotion I was too tired to Thunderpunch. I went back to my room, changed into jeans and a sweatshirt and was ready to hoof it on down to the warehouse for the epic party. And then I thought – Thunderpunch is Gen Y’s Estes Park. It’s a group of young credit union professionals gathering to bond and solidify their commitment to the future of credit unions.

I’m the average age of a credit union member – 48. I’ll be 49 next week. I was tired. So instead of Thunderpunching I felt I could best support them if I got a good night’s sleep.  I’m up and ready to meet legislators, network, blog, whatever it takes. Because I’m not done. I want to leave the credit union movement better than I found it.

Rock on Crashers!

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