Thursday was the BIG DAY for me--I finally got to meet many, many Cherries face to face! The RWA (Romance Writer's of America) conference is being held in San Francisco this year and I decided that I needed to at least go to the traditional Cherry dinner that is usally held informally at the conference.
Up till this year it has always been more the "Hey, we are all meeting in the bar downstairs if you want to come" sort of thing, but this year Cory said "we should have dinner" and other Cherries said "yes that would be fun" and then Kim and Vashaili got together and figured out the place (Buca de Beppo's on Howard) and the menu (mmmm--Italian!) and then they posted a memo over on the Cherry Forums (http://www.cherryforums.com) so that eveyone would know about it.
So I went.
I even took the day off of work so that I wouldn't be rushed or late or anything. Got my blouse dry cleaned. Washed the Tahoe. Bought some new shoes. I made sure that I left Modesto early enough in case the traffic got stupid (it did) or I got lost (I didn't). And I arrived at my destination almost 45 minutes early, so I decided to wait in the bar and have a drink. Do you know that I am almost 46 years old and that is the FIRST time I have ever done that?! Walked down a street in SF by myself. Ordering a drink in a bar, by myself. Sad, isn't it? What a sheltered life I have lived....
I was SO nervous--this was a HUGE deal to me, meeting Cherries. What if they didn't like me? What if they didn't know who I was? What if at the last minute something happened and they CANCELLED the dinner? Oh God, I started thinking of all the things that could happen and what I would do if they didn't show. Seriously! I am the sort of person that could get stood up by 40 people all at once--it could happen!
And then this lovely woman came into the bar and she was wearing--oh, praise the lord--Cherry earrings! And she saw mine and asked if I was a Cherry and of course I gushed and said "yes!" and thus I met Ann M.!! And then this whole herd of women came pouring through the doors and filling up the foyer of Beppo's and I realized that the Cherries had arrived! And Jill found me right away and gave me the most amazing hug! I love that woman....!!
And so we headed downstairs to two big long tables and we ate and drank and laughed and took pictures and laughed and talked and drank... I met Holly, who's name I have seen onlist since I joined way back when. She was so much fun and just as neat as I thought she would be. I met Michelle and Kim (Cherry Red) and Cathy and Jan (she came all the way from Australia!) and Dee and so many more--gosh, I was surrounded by Cherries!
I also got to meet one of my favorite children's authors, Robin La Fevers. She actually walked up to me and said "You're Sheri, right?" and then gave me a big hug. We are a touchy-feely bunch, the Cherries! I was thrilled--"she knows my name!" and we talked about our kids and her books and it was wonderful.
The evening ended with Jill insisting that I take home all of the leftovers since all of the Cherries were going back to the hotel and I have teenagers at home that would LOVE to eat the food. So she started packing up food at the other table and Holly and I started packing up food on our table and by the time we were done I had like six or seven pie-plate sized dishes of food! The bag was so heavy I wasn't sure I would be able to carry all the way to the parking garage to get my car! (And yes, when I arrived home the teens descended on the food like locusts and started scarfing it down as if they hadn't been fed in a week....)
So I walked Dee back to her hotel, which was just up the street from the garage where I had parked, and she told me about the cab ride of death. Guess the driver had seen too many chase scenes from "The Streets of San Francisco" or maybe "What's Up Doc?" because he managed to get air-borne a couple of times on the way from Fisherman's Wharf to their hotel... You can read about it and her experiences at the RWA here http://deeanddeedish.blogspot.com/.
Well, time for bed. Got home from Santa Cruz a little while ago but that is stuff for another blog tomorrow...