I'm pretty much a homebody and don't have much "real world" experience. I attended my share of youth conferences when I was a teen, I went to Pampered Chef's national convention in Chicago when I was a consultant, but as far as meeting up with a bunch of people who I'd "met" online and read their work on a regular basis, I had no previous experience. And I just have to say that it was awesome.
My darling, wonderful, amazing, spectacular sister, Tater, attended the 2006 Okie Blogger Round-Up with me. Now, y'all know that my Tater isn't the most avid blogger - I mean, two posts in a year hardly makes one a pro, (although she did post today!) but she agreed to go anyway. In my mind that just meant that she was an ultra-cool supportive sibling, but I am of the opinion now that she was sent as a delegate of the family to keep me safe. They're all scared of ol' Fitty, ya know. She went to the Round-Up to make sure I didn't end up in a 55-gallon barrel. Or three. (I'm a big girl, ya know.)
We decided to leave for the 3 hour trip just a little early so that if we felt the call of a casino on the way, we had time to stop. Well, of course, Cherokee Casino in Tulsa sent out a beacon and we were caught in its tractor beam. When Mom called to check in on us (making sure Tater was doing her job as chaperone) and I told her we hadn't made it past Tulsa she immediately said, "You two! Get on the road!" like she thought we'd lose track of time. Pshaw, we'd never be so silly as to lose track of time in a casino.
Mike asked us to be there at 11 to get ready for registration, and I think we managed to even get there about 10 minutes till. Even though I'd never seen Mike before in my life, I knew it was him the second I laid eyes on him. And just let me say, Mike is quite a guy! Reaching out to shake his hand, the reality of it all hit me - that I was really at a blogger gathering, meeting people I'd only previous met on the internet! He asked us to put together some packets full of - as I told everyone as they registered - "Oklahoma-y goodness". Tater and I set up an assembly line to put together bags with copies of Oklahoma Today magazine, a Bricktown visitor's guide and some coupons. We found our groove, made up packets, then waited patiently for 11:30 to arrive so that we could start registering folks.
People recognized me!!! Stunned would honestly be the only word to describe what that was like. Okay, so I had "Redneck Diva" on my nametag, but there were actually some who knew who I was without reading it. That was cool. I got to put faces with the people that I feel like I already knew so much about. I haven't been the best blog-reader as of late, so I didn't know who was going to be there, so when an adorable gal walked up and I asked for her name and she said she was Melessa of But I Digress I was tickled pink! And when a woman walked up to the table and said, "Hi.....dude" I knew it could be none other than CISSY!! I jumped across that table and hugged her neck and again felt like this was one of the neatest experiences of my life. And when Babs walked up to the table I nearly fell out of my chair!! FINALLY I was able to meet this incredible woman who can oh so successfully pull off wearing leather pants with flair! No, she didn't actually pull off her leather pants, but oh man can she wear them! And she's ornery - every time I tried to snap a picture of her, she flashed hers back at me, so I have lots of pictures of glaring orbs of light, courtesy of her.
There were other familiar names, Steph The Incurable Insomniac being one that I was excited to see, along with her lovely Lynette. They are just too adorable! And their movie, Mozartballs, is quite a piece of work. I had no preconceived notions about it, hadn't checked out the website beforehand, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Tater had visions of a 250 year old jar of formaldehyde and more than once mentioned matzo balls. Let me just say that I gave up the opportunity to be interviewed on Wild Bill's radio show so that I could watch it in its entirety. I was amused, perplexed at a few points, moved and entertained. It was worth not being on the radio, no offense to the radio.
The workshops were informative, although I did have to wake Tater up at one point when she let out a little bitty snore. Bless her heart, she's just not as into blogging as the rest of us were!
We broke for dinner and Tater and I ate at Earl's with CISSY and her husband. Yum! Barbecue and friends....that was great.
When we got back to the hotel and entered the soiree I immediately laid eyes on Brian and Aka Monty. Hugs were dispersed and boy, that was another major highlight. They didn't have apple martinis at the bar, but Brian bought me a beer. What a guy.
There were requests for me to show off my clogging skillz, but I declined, saying that there was just simply not enough beer available to me for me to perform. Maybe next year, guys.
I do have pics of the whole event, but I haven't had time to put them on the computer yet. I've been working on this post itself since 10:30 this morning, so needless to say, I've been a but busy with the little diva-ettes today. I'll try to get them up tomorrow. I will leave you with this little shot of Tater and I, though. And make sure to check out the Flickr page.