Two weeks ago, I went to Indianapolis to attend the Organizational Development Institute (ODI), which is a three-day training program sponsored by the Association of Junior Leagues International

I have never flown anywhere UEA weekend, and I really should have taken some pictures of the Salt Lake City Airport. Because it was insane. The parking lot was completely full and there were parking lot attendants directing people where to go. The line to get through security went all the way to the sliding doors that lead into the parking garage. 

We flew Delta, and I've never had a funnier flight crew. There was one flight attendant in particular who was especially amusing, but even the pilots were cracking jokes over the loudspeaker. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to calm down Nervous Nellie, who was sitting right next to me. Apparently, the people on the back of the plane had a completely different flight experience because they were surrounded by the University of Utah track team. We arrived in Indianapolis and took a cab to our hotel

This was the view from my hotel window: 

And yes, if you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen most of these pictures, but there are a few new ones. We checked in for the training conference and sat down in the ballroom, which was filled with about 250 Junior League ladies from across the United States and Canada. 

This was Jaynee's favorite page in our training manual: 

We had lunch and listened to the speaker during the opening plenary, who was from South Africa. We identified our change styles (I'm a pragmatist). And then we separated to attend the different courses. (I went to Membership Development: Creating Tomorrow's Community Leaders.) I wasn't necessarily looking forward to sitting through hours and hours of training, but with my facilitator, Naomi Chavez Peters, the time passed quickly. She actually reminded me a whole lot of Kym Buttschardt, which is a really good thing. We took the True Colors quiz. (I am gold with orange as a close second.) And we discussed the need for teams to include every color and the benefit of knowing other people's colors. (More on this later.)

After a full day of training, it was time for our tour of Indianapolis. I generally like to do some serious research before I travel, but I went to Indianapolis without knowing anything. (I've driven through Indianapolis a couple of times, but it was my first time really in the city.) There were some 200 Junior League ladies who went on the walking tour of Indianapolis. We walked past the Indiana Repertory Theatre: 

Past this funny sign: 

And then we arrived at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument: 

The gigantic monument, which is almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty, is adorned with some amazing neoclassical stonework. 

And then we walked over to the Chase Tower, which is the tallest building in Indianapolis: 

We rode the elevator up to the 48th floor, where the floor-to-ceiling windows offer 360-degree views of the city. The glare from the sun on the windows made it difficult to get a great photo, but here's the view looking down on Monument Circle: 

The entire floor was decorated for Junior League, with things like this: 

There were appetizers, drinks, and even these Nitro Ice Cream Sandwiches. . . so cool!

We visited with other Junior Leaguers and I talked to the woman from South Africa while waited in line for the photo booth. That's me in the horse head. And yes, that's when I decided to order one for Halloween. 

Afterwards, we went to dinner at Tastings. This is my Goat Cheese and Fig Pizza:

Jaynee wanted me to take a picture of this wine station and show it to Steve. I'm curious what they do to regulate consumption with an automatic dispenser like this. (Some of you might not realize that there are some pretty strict rules regarding responsible service and sale of alcohol. . . Steve used to be a certified TIPS trainer, and I am relieved we don't deal with that anymore. Lots of paperwork.) 

Elmo was just walking down the street, so Rebecca Cross decided she probably needed a picture: 

And then it was back to our hotel to go to sleep and get ready for another full day of training.

Lots and lots of information, but it wouldn't be interesting to most of you, so I am just going to skip over the actual Junior Leaguey stuff and go straight to Saturday night.

Jaynee travels to Indianapolis all of the time, so we fully expected her to know the ins and outs of the city. But apparently, she never actually leaves her hotel room, so we got to figure things out together. . . 

We walked across town to Cerulean for dinner: 

As we walked in the restaurant, there was this woven-basket-yurt-looking-thing with four or five tables inside. I guess that's where the cool people get to sit. 

Someone ordered the Fried Bread as an appetizer. It was amazing and came with these four spreads: Huckleberry, Carrot Cake, Pumpkin, Bacon & Cheddar.

I had the Wild Salmon, with corn puree and rum-infused pineapple: 

Two of the other ladies ordered the Pork Porterhouse, which had some sort of root beer reduction on it and was served with zucchini bread and fried green tomatoes. Everything was impressive, but I think my entree was probably the best. 

Well. . . everything was impressive except for the expensive drinks they ordered, after a lengthy talk with the barkeeper. They said their drinks tasted like Nyquil. (And one of them looked like dirty bath water.) Rebecca Cross said she felt like someone was going to pop out with a hidden camera and tell them their drinks were a joke and they were part of a show on tricking girls from Utah into thinking their pretend alcoholic drinks were actually good. 

We walked back to our hotel and saw the Bright City mural on Delaware Street:

We almost went and watched Captain Phillips at the movie theater, but then decided that our husbands might not be happy if we went and saw it without them. Jaynee and I ended up watching the movie, New Year's Eve, on television. Have you seen it?  I'm not a big Hollywood person, but even I recognized most of the actors and actresses, including: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfieffer, Zac Efron, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, Ludacris, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Ryan Seacrest, and even Bon Jovi. We assumed that with all of those famous names, the movie must be decent, so we kept watching and waiting. Nope. . . We were still laughing about it the next day, so Rebecca Cross gave us a dissertation on the Rotten Tomatoes website. They describe the movie perfectly: "Shallow, sappy, and dull, New Year's Eve assembles a star-studded cast for no discernible purpose." Rotten Tomatoes gives New Year's Eve a score of seven percent, which Rebecca told us was the lowest score she had ever heard of.

Wild night in Indianapolis. . . 

The next morning, we attended our last training session. We had our last plenary. And then it was over.  Our flight wasn't until later in the evening, so unlike everyone else, we weren't in a hurry to get out of there. Which allowed us time to take some pictures. 

Me, Suzy Irvin, Janine le Sueur (AJLI Director of Education & Programs), Susan Danish (AJLI Executive Director), Rebecca Cross, Jaynee Nadolski: 

Me, Rebecca Cross, Vicki Clark, Suzy Irvin, Jaynee Nadolski: 

Oh yeah. By this point, Indianapolis (and our hotel) was hopping. There was some sort of game taking place. . . 

Instead of going downtown where all of the tailgating was taking place, we walked towards White River State Park. And saw another art installation: 

We saw the NCAA Headquarters (where Jaynee works): 

We saw this beautiful fall view of downtown Indy: 

And we saw the awesome murals under all of the bridges along the Canal Walk. This one, by Cecilia Lueza is called Return to Innocence:

We even saw a group of people on a Segway tour:

What we didn't see were some nice little cafes that we were expecting to find along the Canal Walk. Instead, we walked back downtown and had lunch at McCormick & Schmick's:

It was finally time to take a taxi to the airport. As soon as our driver pulled out his phone, I threw my phone at Jaynee and had her take a picture of it for me: 

What happened after might have been the highlight of my whole trip, so it's a shame I didn't catch it on video. I told Jaynee to ask if it was an iPad mini. . . (I was sitting directly behind the cab driver, so that's why I kept asking Jaynee to do things.) So this is how it went. . . 

Jaynee: So, is that an iPad mini?
Driver: What? This? Hahahahaha! Heeheeheeheehee! Hahahahaha! 
Jaynee: (A little surprised/confused.)
Driver: It's a China phone. 
Jaynee: Oh, okay. (Whatever that means. . . ?)
Driver: Continues laughing at Jaynee's question with more uncontrollable, belly-grabbing laughter.

It was funny. 

Way more funny than the part where we had to sit on the tarmac for over an hour while they fixed some mechanical problems with our plane. 

But we made it home safe and sound. My kids waited up for me and came running down the front stairs to greet me. It was so good to be home. (And sometimes you have to leave to realize that.)

I almost forgot. . . here are some cool things I learned about Indianapolis: 

-Fifty percent of the U.S. population lives within an eight-hour drive of Indy. 
-The world's largest single-day sporting event is the Indianapolis 500. Fifteen thousand gallons of beer are consumed at the race. 
-Indianapolis is the 13th largest city in the United States. 
-Indianapolis has hosted 400 international and national sporting events over the last 30 years, including 55 NCAA Championship events, a Super Bowl, 17 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and World Championships in basketball, rowing, gymnastics, and swimming.

Indianapolis is a cool town. There was a surprising amount of green space in the downtown area and plenty of family friendly activities (Indianapolis Zoo & White River Gardens, Children's Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, IMAX Theater, Rhythm Discovery Center, and lots of fun things to do along the Central Canal.)


Jaynee said...

Point of clarification: I do leave me room. To go to meetings from sun-up to sun-down. And then back to my room. Soooo..... there's that.

And that damn horse head got me laughing again. And I forgot how bad New Year's Eve was. I can't believe we wasted time on that.

And finally... thanks for not pointing out my snoring as your roomie. That would have been more embarrassing than being laughed at by the cabbie. Almost.

Keicha Christiansen said...

ODI is always a fun time. Indy looks like a cool city! The horse head makes me laugh and I wasn't even there.

Gloria said...

Enjoyed viewing another city through your travels. Thanks for sharing!