July 18, 2018

Weekend Recap: Pianos and Politics

Last weekend was unfortunately not much of a weekend. I worked in my downtown office till 5pm Friday, then had to leave town Saturday night to be at work in Florida at 7am Saturday morning. But I made the most of my limited time at home!

Thursday night, after I got home from Florida, one of my neighborhood friends took me out for drinks for my birthday. Her husband dropped us off at the Village Tavern before putting the kids to bed, and then we walked home afterward. I can’t believe I’ve never done that before – it was delightful! It was a really pleasant walk, and it was only now that I looked at a map that I realized it’s actually 2.2 miles… it felt a lot shorter, with everything we had to talk about. I definitely want to do this again!

Friday I had meetings in both Boulder and Denver, but after those wrapped up, I headed down to Highlands Ranch… so I was pretty much all over the Metro area on Friday. I stopped at my friend Sarah’s house to meet her and drop off my car, and then we Ubered to meet our friends Kelli and Cat at the Viewhouse in Littleton. When I arrived, I was surprised to find a gift perched on the table and a host of balloons. I had no idea they were turning our girls’ night into a birthday celebration! So sweet of them.

The perfect summer night out! And I’m obsessed with my new “Flamingos on a Booze Cruise” pink Goodr sunglasses they generously gave me as a present πŸ™‚

We had a blast sipping on a round of cocktails, as well as a bottle of champagne that another table sent over for my birthday. (So sweet!) And before long, it was time for the night’s entertainment: dueling pianos!

I was pretty excited for the show, which was made even better by the fact that it was free. Apparently Viewhouse hosts dueling pianos occasionally, and while table reservations get booked up, you just have to pay for your food and drinks (which were totally reasonable). Way better than paying a cover to go somewhere, especially since a lot of those venues have subpar food/drinks!

When the show started, we immediately started putting songs in, and before long, the pianists announced that it was someone (else’s) birthday, and dedicated a song to them. Not to be outdone, unbeknownst to me, my friends put in a special song for me – “You Lost that Lovin’ Feeling”, and wrote on the paper that they wanted the pianist to bring me onstage and sing to me. He did even better than that: called me up to the stage and asked me to bring my barstool, then called up a bunch of guys from the audience to get down on one knee around me and sing to me! I was embarrassed, but delighted… I’ve never had something like that happen before, and it was pretty fun / funny. It also didn’t hurt that the pianist was super talented and pretty cute too! πŸ˜‰

We didn’t end up leaving the Viewhouse until about 11pm, and we decided to head back to Sarah’s house to continue the party there, along with Sarah and Cat’s husbands. Time flies when you’re having fun, and we ended up staying up till 1:30am! Whoa… I can’t remember the last time I was out that late.

The next morning, I still woke up at 6am (my body usually stays on Eastern Time, even when I’m home), and immediately knew it wasn’t enough sleep. I was dragging! Rather than trying to get out for a trail run with Sarah, we curled up on the living room couches and just had a peaceful morning catching up even more… which was really nice. And then after a quick shower, I was off to campaign school!

The Colorado Republicans were hosting an all-day bootcamp to teach candidates for town / county office all about how to organize a successful campaign. Although the Colorado Republicans were hosting, my impression was that it was a non-partisan workshop… but that turned out to not be the case. Oops! The Trusteeships in my town are non-partisan positions, and I’m running unaffiliated, so some of the tactics around how to approach voters of the opposite party didn’t really apply. But I still learned a ton, and found the content fascinating.

One of the learnings I found most interesting was around negative campaigning. A recent study by Emory University found that while most voters say they don’t like negative advertising, it’s still highly effective. At campaign school, we were taught that it’s best to start with positive messaging to build your name identification, then shift to “contrast messaging” where you point out how you’re different from the other candidates, and finally, move to negative messaging where you take your opponents down. I learned that as you proceed through that messaging cycle, there is a point at which positive messaging stops having any impact on voter preferences, and so the only way to get an uptick is by going negative. Yikes!

Despite this research, though, I don’t think negative messaging makes sense for my campaign. When I’m running against people who are my neighbors, I really can’t see trying to “take them down”. And furthermore, if I get elected, I’ll then be working side by side with two of my “opponents” for the next four years, since there are three seats available on the Board. I definitely want to make sure I can workΒ with my opponents rather than against them. Now I just have to hope my opponents feel the same way as I do and we can all play nice throughout the campaign πŸ™‚

Campaign school ran an hour long, and so at 6:30pm, I had to jet home as quickly as possible. It was about an hour’s drive, and my friend Amanda was coming over for dinner at 7:30pm! My weekend wrapped up with 90 minutes hanging out with Amanda, a fast 30 minutes showering and packing my suitcase, and then dashing off to the airport in time for the 11pm “redeye” midcon flight to Miami.

The flight was okay, and mostly uneventful. 3.5 hours is basically the reddest of red eyes, since it’s nowhere near a solid night’s sleep, but I was glad that I at least managed to sleep the whole way. (Thank you, eye mask and white noise app playing on my headphones.) After a stop by the airport lounge to change and freshen up, it was off to the office by 7am. Weekend over πŸ™

Fortunately, this weekend I’m home for a longer stint – I’m staying in Colorado next week for some Town meetings and to lead a workshop for a client in Boulder. I’m excited to see my friends, have a bit of local work, and of course sleep in my own bed! (Especially since “sleep” is what I desperately need right now, having not really caught up since my redeye.)

Already looking forward to the weekend ahead πŸ™‚


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