Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer Trip 2016, #2 - Conferenceland

On Thursday, August 4, after stocking up on snacks at a Whole Foods (there's nothing like it for product depth and temptation near us in Germany) and buying a GPS to use in the USA, we headed out of Las Vegas on I-15. If you head northeast on I-15, you reach Salt Lake City. I used to orient myself there: Vegas or Boise. When you head southwest, you reach L.A.

We drove along the Mojave National Preserve. It's all pretty rocky and dry. Markus and Miriam slept. Somehow I had the right jet lag window to stay at the wheel for 3+ hours. Destination: Anaheim Marriott, adjacent to the Convention Center, opposite the Hilton.

Here's what it looks like when you take your American daughter out for diner breakfast after way too long in Germany:

At IHOP. Yes, that's a side of pancakes.

On Friday we began our primary missions for the Anaheim portion of our trip: Markus went to the Academy of Management conference; Miriam took Mary shopping. Technically, since I drive and carry the credit card, I take her shopping. But Miriam had already selected a nearby outlet mall for the day.

Saturday, August 6, was a peculiar time to be hanging out in southern California. It was the 12th anniversary of our son Simon's death. Almost every year, this date falls within the Academy of Management annual meeting. Sometimes we join Markus for the trip (although he's super busy with conference activities), and sometimes Miriam and I have been on our own. I've written about the anniversary on this blog before:

This year was the strangest variation yet. For the last couple of years I've offered a fall writing seminar for PhD students at GGS. Based on that, Markus invited me to submit a session with him as a Professional Development Workshop for the Academy of Management: Writing in English for German Native Speakers. We were passed over in 2015, but this year the session was accepted. We had a lively group of 34 participants. So, I spent Simon's anniversary doing something new this year, and here's what that looked like:

Academy of Management
Professional Development Workshop:
Writing in English for German Native Speakers

In the evening, Miriam and I pointed ourselves toward Newport Beach. We arrived to find parking gridlock and nudged forward in the car as the sun nudged downward. We finally got parked and went down to the water. I did one of my favorite Simon rituals: I scratched his name in the sand with my hand, near the tide line, inviting the water to wash my marks away.

Newport Beach at sunset, Aug. 6, 2016.
The "M" in SIMON is in the "dry" sand near the running boy.

Even without a guidebook, Miriam and I found The Crab Cooker, seriously grilled seafood served on paper plates with plastic forks. We had a nice evening out together.

The moon over Newport Beach,
just after sunset. SoCal.

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