Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nationals Checklist, and a few other things...

I'll start with the Cherry Dinner, because I told you that I would.

The event was Thursday night. We went to Pesto, down the street from the hotel. Unlike previous Cherry gatherings, I had a vested interest in this one - I actually picked the place. The Man and I came up about a month or so ago and had dinner here, just to check out the menu and the setting. We loved putting ourselves into the very capable hands of Vincenzo, and he did not disappoint.

Still, on the eve of the Dinner, I was a tad bit on the nervous side.

I shouldn't have worried.

Gret and The Man walked up to the restaurant with me a little early, because I wanted to make sure that everything was set up and Vincenzo hadn't forgotten about us. I have no idea why I ever doubted Vincenzo. Everything was perfect, and he was waiting.

We had our own waitress, our own room, our own menu, and it was awesome. Jill had make your own nametags, complete with stickers to indicate if you were a Reader, a Writer, a Cherry, or a Wiffer (Will Write For Wine website and podcast). This is the nametag, mirrored -------------->

There were MANY Cherries in attendance. While I saw them all, I didn't actually speak to them all. But I did get lots of hugs from Jill and Corrina. I chatted with Orangehands! I also spent some really soul soothing time with my friend Robin (RSS). No matter how crazy I get sometimes, or how horrible I often am in the friend department ( frankly, I suck sometimes, but that is a whole OTHER post, that is already filling my head), Robin still opens up her arms and just hugs me. She really has no idea how much her constant, unwavering friendship means to me, and I take her for granted so often. But she is a stable force in my life, and the Cherry Dinner helped me reconnect with her. It was lovely!

Also lovely was sitting at the table between two of my favorite people (Gret and The Man), sampling the terrific food, sipping the glorious wine, and just being around people that share so many of my interests and passions.

Then The Cherry walked in. And the only open seat was at our table. So she sat. Wow.

Now, I've met her before. Many times in fact. And still, I get that heartbeat split second of "OH. MY. GOD. Jennifer-freaking-Crusie is right in front of me!!" And then I remember to breather, because air is good for the lungs and it would be mortifying to pass out in front of her. She smiled at me, then turned to Gret and gasped at how much she's grown. And she told The Man a funny story about being on book tour with Bob and Bob forgetting that The Man shares a name with one of their Heroes. It was a story that The Man had heard from me, but it was so cool to know that SHE remembered it as well. She really is a very gracious lady.

Then Kristan showed up. At that point, I went through that mental checklist of "Is this really my life?" that I often finding myself doing at Nationals. Do you know that checklist? Here's a sample:
- Am I really staying in a fabulous city?
- Am I really spending a week in a hotel that normally costs $1000 per night?
- Am I really rooming with a best selling, RITA award winning author?
- Am I really at a Zagat rated Metro restaurant, eating amazing food prepared by the world's most charming Italian man?
- Am I really sitting across the table from the NYT bestselling author whose fan group convinced me to actually give my dream a shot?
- Am I really still asking myself these questions, or will I finally one day believe that this is all happening to me?

So Thursday was over the top, and will be the fodder for many a blog in weeks to come. I hope you're enjoying this!

I'll Keep You Posted!

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