Fun with Friends at ALA Midwinter

This past Friday through Monday I headed up to Philadelphia for the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. I know I never really write about what I do at these conferences here, but I swear that most of my time is actually spent doing work. Especially at Midwinter, which is all about committee meetings rather than conference sessions. I just don’t have that much interesting to say that anyone else would probably care to read about here, and honestly although I like what I do I’m not that interested in writing about it. If I wanted a professional librarian blog I would write one, so I stick to the more social stuff that I do when I travel for these conferences.

My oldest friends in the world lives outside of Philly. I mean Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with some people mostly virtually that I’ve technically known longer, but Erin is the friend that I’ve known the longest and continuously kept in touch with. We met when I moved to Massachusetts in middle school and stayed in contact even after my family moved to Texas a couple of years later. Then she lived with my family outside of Chicago the summer after our sophomore year in college (My parents moved a lot in the latter half of my childhood). I have no idea how or why we cooked up this scheme, but it was great to have her and our other friend Kim to hang out with since I was spending the summer in a place where I didn’t know anyone. Anyway having the conference in Philly meant that I could stay with Erin which both allowed me to save money by not having to pay for a hotel room and spend some time with her.

I drove up to Philly on Friday morning and got there in time to grab some lunch at Reading Terminal Market first. Conveniently I ran into my friend Alison by the registration booth when I checked in, so I wound up having a lunch date which I wasn’t expecting. After my meetings I headed out to the burbs. I had dinner out with Erin, her husband, and their 5 year old (as of next week) son. After everyone else went to bed Erin and I broke out some games. We spent many hours playing 500 rummy in our younger years. I hadn’t played in forever. My family plays lots of rummy games, but for some reason never that one. We had to remind ourselves how to play, but I think we had the rules mostly figured out. We also broke out real life Scrabble. I think we currently have something like 10 games going with each other online. I decided real Scrabble is too hard now. You can’t cheat by trying out words before you play. Plus you have to do math and add up all your own points.

I managed to score Erin a free pass to the exhibit hall so she could take advantage of all the free galleys that the publishers have. She went in with me on Saturday morning, and did some stuff on her own while I was in meetings. We met up Saturday afternoon and walked the exhibit hall together. We had already made plans previously to meet up with my friend Alison for dinner at Tinto. It turns out it was restaurant week, so the menu was limited but still delicious. Tinto is a tapas restaurant so we made sure to order different things so we could share and try a bunch of the stuff on the menu. Everything was delicious. After getting back to Erin’s house we wound up watching the pilot episode of Chuck for some reason. Even though I’m in the middle of a Veronica Mars rewatch and there are tons of other shows I’ve never seen that I want to watch, now I kind of want to do a rewatch of Chuck too. Maybe when I’m done with Veronica Mars.

In addition to friends I originally met in real life, library conferences are a great chance for to meet up in person with friends I’ve made with other librarians via Twitter. I thought I had managed to piece my schedule together so that I could manage to see several people, but best laid plans and all that. Apparently making plans with me at this conference was somewhat of a curse. My friend Janel, who I met via Twitter but have since hung out with in person a number of times, was originally supposed to meet me for dinner on Friday night but wound up not being able to come to the conference at all because she wound up having to attend a funeral instead. I was also supposed to meet for the first time another friend I have made via Twitter (who is anonymous on Twitter so shall stay anonymous here) over lunch on Sunday, but she got really sick while at the conference and needed whatever down time she could find to rest up to do the things she absolutely had to do. I was disappointed we didn’t wind up getting to meet in person this conference, but I completely understand. Hopefully they will both have less horrible things happening to them when we’re in Vegas for the annual conference in June.

Speaking of the power of Twitter, after I got the text Sunday that my original lunch date had to back out, I asked if anyone else wanted to take the other half of the reservation I had. Within minutes I had a replacement lunch date with another Twitter friend Jenny, who I had only met in person once before. It was good to catch up with her in person as well even though we originally hadn’t planned to meet up. Because I apparently decided to make it a Jose Garces restaurant weekend, lunch was at Garces Trading Company. It was restaurant week there as well and we again ordered so that we could split our food and try multiple things. Once again everything was delicious.

It was great to see so many people I rarely get to see (plus Alison who I see all the time). I look forward to the chance to see people again in Vegas this summer even if I’m less than thrilled about the prospect of Vegas in general and even less so about Vegas at the end of June.

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