Thursday, August 20, 2009

I USED TO HAVE CHEEKBONES ( or I attended the Atlas TTMBA)

It's been an amazing two weeks as I ATTENDED the Atlas TTMBA conference in Fairfax, Virginia near Washington DC. The food has been incredible.

Training began in the morning each day (not as early as last year, thankfully) but first we ATE. Breakfast was an amazing 8 ft. spread of potatoes, sausage, bacon, cereal or pancakes or waffles or crepes - or cheesecake (not really, but I kept expecting to see it some morning) - and toast, marmalade, juices and coffee and milk and fruit. And we ATE it all. Every day. The food has been incredible.

We learned to create a strategic business plan, from start to finish. No bullet point or objective was missed and the instruction was very comprehensive. Then it was time to EAT. The lunch buffet beckoned, another 8 ft. of "luncheon" food just begging to be EATEN with more often a variety of dinner foods, with two desserts. The food has been incredible.

We reviewed and reworked our business plans after meeting with Rainier Heufers - our BP Guru and Tireless, Focused Instructor - and then we broke for 30 minute breaks where various chocolate candies were casually distributed across ANY flat surface within our break area for us to EAT, along with soda, water, coffee, tea and whatever else the Atlas staff might have found along their culinary way. The food has been incredible.

Afternoon fatigue often hit mid-presentation after lunch and breaks, but the TTMBAers (for the most part) stayed awake and alert. Coffee was consumed by the gallon, caffeine drinks were downed by the case, chocolate was traded and shared and EATEN amongst TTMBAers as if it was an addictive drug. We learned, we ate, we conquered. The food has been incredible.

Dinner's 8 ft. buffet often included meat, potatoes, rice, veggies - and I am talking gourmet veggies, not just creamed corn - and there was bread...oh, have I mentioned the breadbefore now? Bread and butter was provided with every meal...and it was sooooooooo good. We tried to pass it by, but we failed every time. It was almost an Italian peasant bread - soft, fragrant, delicious. And we ATE. And then the dessert(s). Yes, the desserts. Multiple desserts, and not just little tiny chocolate chip cookies. Pies, cakes, pastries of all kinds, ice cream....on and on and on. Wine, beer, water, milk, soda...any beverage you could ever want. It was a feast every night...more than that, every meal, to be exact. We were fed well and we partook generously. We ATE, and then we ATE again. The food has been incredible.

And then the evening would begin, a walk along a dirt path (or miles over concrete, or on the metro, or over bridges, or into neighboring states) to TGIF's, Applebee's, Blue Iguana, DC for Ethiopian food, the hotel lounge for $3 beers, virgin cocktails, wine and more wine. The overindulgence just continued, it didn't stop after dinner, it didn't stop after 9 PM, sometimes it didn't stop until after midnight....the food (and drink) just kept coming and we ATE again. The food (and drink) has been incredible.

And then, as if we had not EATEN enough - Shaka treated us to his favorite restaurant...and a new drink was created, the SHAKA SHAKA BOMB, and we watched shrimp fly through the air, and we opened our mouths to catch them and we ATE again....

And the Event Planner extraordinaire, Stephanie treated us to anything we wanted, milkshakes mid-day between lunch and dinner, as if we couldn't survive between meals, so we ATE again...

And we were proud of our gluttony, we posed with our food. You can see in the picture above that Miss Texas posed by the old car with her food for a photo op.....many others vied for the privilege as well, and we dined and ATE again atop the Watergate building...

And we danced, and we sang, and we drank, and we ATE....

We shared cultures and food and drink and food and drink and more food and more drink....and we drank and we ATE...

And it was fantastic.

The TTMBAer's are amazing and I made lifelong friends whom I adore and hope to always stay in contact with. No meal will ever be quite the same without my comrades and I will miss them dearly. We enjoyed the food together, it was incredible.

I ATTENDED Atlas TTMBA and I don't think that it's just chance that the words ATE and EAT and EATEN are three words that can be created from that larger word: ATTENDED.

I used to have cheekbones, but I have EATEN at the TTMBA training, and I am now a proud TTMBAer with friends all over the world and a certificate too...but somewhere in the EATING, I lost my cheekbones.

It won't be long before we will need to plan a reunion dinner, so we can EAT together again. I am certain the food will be incredible. Maybe I will rediscover my cheekbones before we meet again....but between then and now, I will EAT less, and work harder in the fight for LIBERTY (with snacks and beverages at hand!).


  1. That was great, Jean!!

    Take care up there in NM. Watch for the coyotes!

    Regards from Brazil,

  2. Oi Fabio!

    I am glad you are home safely and I will watch out for coyotes!

    I look forward to the next time we meet...good luck with your think tank!

    Warm regards,