Chicago tortured me...as I shared here. I can't wait to go back.
And that was just the beginning. Here are the highlights:
- For heaven's sake, Seymour Simon and his wife, Liz. They will be the highlight at any event I attend where they are present so get used to hearing their names. I'm going to cap myself here because I could write my entire post about how much I adore them. But Seymour was on Facebook saying that they wanted to adopt me and Liz and I shared garlic and truffle infused ice cream at Bistro 110 together...I mean, helloooo. Enough said, right? By the way, the ice cream was sick. As in, good. But Seymour would have told you that. Because he's way more tech-savvy and hip than I'll ever be.
- Seeing Monica again. I'd think she was stalking me, except that she's so sweet and so wonderful and I love seeing her. Again, I never think you guys are actually going to say "hi" when we're in the booth together, but that is two conferences that I've seen Monica and her presence has become totally grounding. Thanks for stopping by!
- Going to Publican. Guys, it's RIDONKULOUSLY loud in that place. And the chairs are hideous. And to be quite frank, I wouldn't host a publisher-type dinner there again. But somehow it came together this instance, sort of. Henry Cole and our assistant got into an in-depth discussion of all things Marilyn Monroe. Which got us - Henry, Stephanie, Neal Shusterman, and me - into the Hepburns...and Cary Grant...and All About Eve. And all these people just got how much I love these classics. I was in heaven. The location wasn't ideal for a dinner with 10 people...and yet...it came together and I still soaked in the fabulous conversations.
- Getting On Meadowview Street signed by Henry Cole. I've been a fan of Henry's for years...in my previous life as a librarian. I sat across from him at dinner and apologized before reciting Why Do Kittens Purr? to him. I know the whole damn book by heart. And the illustrations? Swoooon. And here is a little known secret: in my new job, I rarely remember to have an author and/or illustrator sign a book for me. I'm usually too busy with Post-its, line management, etc. to remember my own geeked up fandom (i.e. Ryan Smithson at TLA - I can't believe I didn't have him sign a book for me!). But I remembered with Henry and I'm entirely grateful to him.
- Frontera Grill. Okay, so here's a disclaimer: we did Frontera Grill the last night of the conference so...to say that we were tired was an understatement. And yet...and yet...Dina (my predecessor) says to me in a hushed whisper, "Laura! Laura! Is that Rick Bayless?!?!" Yes, everyone. I'm here to confirm that it was. And I lost my cool. All my professionalism. Rick-friggin-Bayless!!!!! And, ladies, he looked gooood. That was enough for me. Especially seeing as he had a man near him who was warding off the fan boys and girls...like me. Sure, I could have used my feminine wiles to get close but, seeing as he was already dining with a beautiful silver-haired older woman, I had no chance. I mean, it was the last day of the conference! I was not at my best, looks-wise...
April kicked my arse...but DAMN I had a good time. So a huge thank you to Chicago and San Antonio...and PLEASE keep stopping by the booth to say hi - I love chatting with all of you and I hope you're not alarmed by the hugs and happy dances!
Eat, drink, and look forward to ALA...