I left for GLR on Wednesday, 10/17 at around 3:30 PM EST. I managed not to burst into tears in the security line this year. Go me! The flight into Detroit was a little late, so I ran to my connection. The flight into Salt Lake City was a little late, so I ran to my connection. The flight into Albq was right on time, which is always how it is when it never matters. LOL During the flights I met a young man who was traveling with his mother and a gaggle of children to Oklahoma, a lovely lady named Jeanie with an adorable grandson, and a man whose name I didn't get, but who said he'd never turned down a Hershey's Kiss in his life. (I offered him one out of the $16 bag I'd bought in the airport. And no, $16 does not buy you a lot of kisses at an airport, Hershey's or otherwise, I'd imagine.)
The first night I had room service and a dip in the zacuzzi tub. Very nice. Dinner was a steak, some veggies, decaf coffee, and creme brulee. Yum.
I headed down to registration and the swag room Thurs morning, and discovered that all but 3 of my tins of mints had been snapped up, which was kinda cool. Until I realized that it was probably more the mints than the fact that my name was on them...which lead to the inevitable conclusion that about 147 people had just narrowly avoided halitosis, and I was quite proud I'd helped.
Michele Montgomery and I went to the zoo after a while, where she animal-gasimed over giraffes, and we heard a lion roar in person for the first time ever. I got it on video. It's still very impressive. We came back and I think we had dinner in one of the hotel cafes.
Friday I was up at the ass crack of dawn for a hot air balloon ride. Turns out, the ground looks surprisingly similar from the air as it does from well, the ground. But it was still a lot of fun, and I can now say I've done it.
After that was the trip to the TQ lunch thing, Old Town, and the MLR Day of the Dead Party. I understand one of the buses dropped a bunch of people off at the wrong place, but fortunately I was not one of them. There wasn't anything at the TQ lunch I felt safe eating (the one "chef" didn't know what gluten was, and I'm still not sure the other spoke English). In Old Town I managed to find a lovely ice cream shop with gluten free nachos, which I nommed on and proclaimed to be the "best thing I'd ever eaten!" I may have just been hungry...
I found some really cool souvenirs, including a metal sculpture of Predator for my honey. I also got a couple shirts, some post cards - and some other cute small stuff.
I left the Day of the Dead party early and headed back to my room. That may have been the night a few of us went out to The Olive Garden and encountered the highest/drunkest/craziest waiter I've ever met.
Saturday I went to lunch at Wreck's with my friend Barry, who lives in Albq for some reason I've yet to figure out, and his wife and kids. Fun times!! We swung by the Candy Lady on the way back to the hotel, and I bought some erotic chocolate. I got back in time to carouze the room at the author book signing (I have been informed I *will* have a table of my own next year, so help me God, and on pain of death...) and then a bunch of us went to dinner in the hotel.
Sunday I got to spend a few minutes at the goodbye brunch, and then it was off to the airport. My flight to Salt Lake City was on time, but when I arrived the next flight had been delayed, and there was a possibility of missing the next flight. They'd double booked me already, for a flight out Monday morning. On the plane I ended up sitting in the middle of a group of young men and women from Germany, all but two of whom were absolutely some of the rudest people I'd ever encountered. One of them decided to sit between myself and his friend, perched with his feet in the seat, backward, with his tight pink-pants-enshrouded ass swaying in the wind. I was decidedly unimpressed.
When I got to Detroit they radioed my plane and I ran - literally ran - through the airport. Not a pretty sight, I'm sure. But I didn't make it, and ended up spending the night at the Embassy Suites in Detroit, which has, by the way, one of the most impressive in-room coffee situations I've ever seen, *and* room service coffee is Starbucks. I vote Detroit for GRL 2014!
I got home on Monday, early enough to still have some day left, and Hubby had decorated the house for my birthday, made me cupcakes, bought my favorite soda, and made me homemade BBQ. When we pulled up, the two packages I'd Fed-Ex'd from Albq were sitting on the front steps. Perfect timing.
All in all, it was a good trip. I really wish the hotel had been more centrally located - cab fair to the zoo was $40 one way - a little prohibitive, and the trip to Olive Garden was all of 45 minutes one way. So I didn't get to get out and see the city or do a lot of the things I wanted. I did do more of the retreat events this year, and met a few more people than I did last year. Some of whom were wonderful and I'll treasure forever. There were a couple disappointments as far as people not being who I'd thought they were, and one person who literally looked me up and down, sneered, shook my hand and walked away. But valuable lessons were learned, even in the face of pain, so it's all good.
I'm looking forward to next year!
You can see all the photos I took on my Facebook page!