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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Back to Nawlins

Tuesday morning got my nails done, then had to drive almost two hours to pick my mom up. My nephew was home sick, so my sister couldn't bring her to meet me halfway. So Bandit and Guin came with me and I think Bandit panicked, thinking we were going on another road trip. I could almost hear his sigh of relief when we got to mom's house and he heard her get in the car, LOL.

Got home, packed my suitcases for my trip to Nawlins, then took mom out to eat at Talpey's Tavern, one of the restaurants my neighbors co-own. We were seated in front of the fireplace. It was nice and cozy. I had eggplant parmesan, mom had scallops. It was very relaxing. Went back home, watched a very strange "thriller" called "The Hole" on HBO. I think it gave mom nightmares, ha ha.

Got up the next morning, a new driver picked me up from the car service - drove right by the house. Oy.

Got to the airport in Boston. The first leg of my US Airways flight went well, even though I had a middle seat. The plane was packed. Landed in Charlotte, NC early and since I didn't have to change planes, I asked if I could stay on board. They let me. I didn't want to have to go through the reboarding process again. So I went to the bathroom, got back to my row, put my legs up on all three seats and proceeded to do crossword puzzles. The cleaning crew and service folks came on, said hello to me, the new flight attendants asked if I needed a pillow or blanket. It was kind of neat to see what they do in between flights. Very efficient and quick.

I ended up changing seats with the husband of the woman sitting next to me and got a window - yay! But my yay soon turned to uh-oh when we hit turbulence. Mean turbulence. It got so bad at one point, the plane dropped and things began flying around in the back where the flight attendants were. One said the "f" word. Not a good sign. I was actually frightened for the first time since 9/11. I told the guy next to me if I grabbed his leg, it wasn't personal. He said no problem.

We finally hit smooth air just as we were to land in New Orleans. I said to the guy next to me, "Do you think the pilot would be upset if I kissed the ground when I got off?" That got a laugh.

Took a taxi with two women I didn't know to the hotel to cut down on the cost. At the hotel, checked in, asked for a room with a view (which I got, photos to come later), and went to check to see where my books were. My publisher sent me an invoice stating they'd been shipped on the 16th. They weren't here. Phone calls to publisher. In my room, checked the UPS site and they claimed the books weren't sent out until Tuesday. Oh boy. Called my publisher's office back, the woman who ships them was ticked off and was going to try to either get them here or stop the shipment. Thank goodness I remembered to pack order forms and lots of my flashing balls that I give away when someone buys a book.

Met Michael Newlin, who booked me for this conference. He's a riot and looks like Keifer Sutherland. He convinced me to call back my publisher's office. The only one there was my publisher and he was totally pissed off the books weren't here, especially when he heard I'd be speaking to over 500 people today.

Oh well.

Had a drink, met another compatriot, Sandy, then went upstairs to change for the reception and dinner at Emeril Lagasse's restaurant, NOLAs. Went to the reception, handed out brochures about my talk today and introduced myself to folks. Most were shocked a speaker was actually mingling, LOL.

Met again downstairs with Michael and Maria, another person from the conference, then Sandy showed up. We were dressed to the nines. We walked to NOLAs. What a neat place! We were seated on the second floor at almost 9 pm. That's late for me for dinner, but oh well. We sat, went through the menu and I immediately saw a roasted duck dish I wanted. The others hemmed and hawed and finally we ordered. I didn't have an appetizer or salad, just a jalapeno roll. My appetite isn't back yet, but I was fine and enjoying the company and the restaurant.

Emeril is in town, but was not at the restaurant. Darn.

Finally got my duck (dammit) at 10:30 pm. I kid you not. But it was soooooo worth it and was tender and delish. We left at 11 pm, after having our photos taken out front (will post later) and walked back to the hotel. I was exhausted.

Got into bed at 11:30 pm and crashed hard.

At 3:30 am, was awakened by loud voices in the hallway. A group of attendees from the conference were having a huge discussion in the hallway. At 3:30 am. I was in my jammies, so didn't want to open the door. I opened and loudly slammed the closet door, then went into the bathroom. I soon heard the elevator doors open and security came and told them to take it inside. Good.

I mean, people, I know you're in Nawlins and this is cool and all, but some of us need to sleep.

Now up and drinking coffee. I'll put some finishing touches on my presentation, go downstairs to set up my laptop, have lunch where I'm being honored, speak, then I'll try to sneak in a nap before the grand ball/reception thingy tonight. I'm tired already, LOL.

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