Columbus, Mississippi Trip

Flew to Columbus, Mississippi last Tuesday (2/10) and had no delays on either of my flights - hooray! Was picked up by Heather Ford of the Junior Auxiliary of Columbus, who booked me for my presentations. She reminds me of my stepsister, Sharon. Took me to my hotel, a Holiday Inn and I promptly showered, changed into my jammies and fell asleep (after talking to Chris, of course).

The next morning she picked me up and we headed to Lee Middle School. I thought it was funny before my trip how she let me know a few times the school was 95% black. The Internet knows no racial boundaries and I told her that. I could care less if my audience were purple, pink or blue.

I have never had students come into the auditorium so quietly before. The principal there kicks ass. There were about 700 students and they really listened. I have two parts that are interactive, so I chose a boy and girl for each, then get responses from the audience, which went over well. I covered cyberbullying, predators and social networking site safety.

A local TV station covered it, you can see the video or read the text.

After I was done, I was shutting down my Sony Vaio laptop when a student tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and somehow the cable caught on my arm and my laptop went flying. The kid was horrified and I told him not to worry.

But I was worried. Heather took me to a coffee cafe and the laptop wouldn't reboot, it kept cycling through the opening splash screens. She called the high school, where i was speaking after lunch, and arranged to have a laptop there (thank goodness for flash drives - I had my presentations on them).

Had lunch with Jane, another auxiliary member, and had a huge slice of quiche and salad. Got to Heritage Academy and set up the borrowed laptop and everything went great. The high school presentation is more of an "Internet Scared Straight" where I find public profiles of students and let them know what they post online can hurt them in the future. I had a mother and daughter come up afterwards and they were so thankful I was there and I helped them with a situation the daughter was going through.

Got back to the hotel to change and then go out to dinner with Heather and her family - Mexican food! My fave! Her husband is a huge LOST fan, so we traded theories and it was a fun time.

Once back at the hotel, I had a glass of wine at the bar to unwind, then went up to talk to Chris and then hit the sack. The next day would be long (two connections).

Flew from Columbus to Atlanta on Delta - good flight! Once there, the flight attendant asked if Jayne Hitchcock was on board and to see her. I panicked, thinking my bag (which I'd gate-checked) had gone missing or something. She told me to see the gate agent. Now I was worried something had happened at home. The gate agent told me I had to go clear across the airport to a Continental flight that would get me to Cleveland for my Manchester flight. I was relieved and also surprised at the courtesy and personal attention. Delta rules!

Got home finally at almost 10 pm and Chris and I stayed up for a bit while I unwound - I can never go right to sleep after a trip like that. The next morning when we got up and heard about the Continental plane that crashed, Chris just held me tighter. The plane was the same type I'd flown home on the night before.

Saturday for Valentine's we went to see the movie "Taken" with Liam Neeson. He's still hot and the movie was excellent! Chris made me corned beef and cabbage for dinner - again, excellent! Then we exchanged cards we'd made for each other. He's a softie at heart and I almost cried. In my card to him were some red panties with a heart that lit up. He was pleased with those (wink wink).

So I'm off again to San Francisco tomorrow to be keynote speaker at MAAWG's 15th General Meeting. It'll be good for networking and I get to see my friend, Cass, who is also one of my WHOA volunteers. She's going to be my "date" for a social/dinner on Wednesday night. Long travel day tomorrow, but it'll be fun.


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