The theme of walking uphill - or an incredibly long SaturdayI woke up at 4 am, 5 am, and 6 am but managed to relax in the bed (which was so soft and clean – although anything with eight down pillows is a good thing. It stays dark in Seattle this time of year until 8 am and then gets dark again around 5 pm, so it was close to pitch black in my room which made it easier to get back to sleep, although it felt so strange with my body telling me I had slept in although the clock begged to differ. I finally got up at 8 am and just watched the seagulls swooping outside my fourteenth floor window above the public library roof in the growing light. It was so pretty and peaceful. I just worked on my blog sitting in my pretty window seat and just enjoyed the scenery while waiting for my breakfast.
I had ordered my breakfast off of one of those little cards they leave on your pillow and decided to order the Grand Marnier French Toast since I love French toast in any permutation. What came exceeded my wildest dream. It was luscious, Brioche-style French toast with huge delicious blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries sprinkled all around and on top of it with real maple syrup in those little glass jars (the kind the individual jellies come in) on the side. A nice selection of Tazo teas with soymilk and a fresh apple (it is Washington, I guess) rounded out the breakfast. I was in seventh heaven – I had the warm feeling in my tummy when I eat something really super.
I let the genius of the French toast wash over me while I got dressed (such a nice bathroom and closet!). I knew I wanted to go officially to say I had arrived and get my conference information so I headed for the Washington Convention Center. The shuttle buses were so comfortable and the drivers friendly and helpful – it turns out that you wouldn’t have to wait more than 5 or 10 minutes for a shuttle. The Washington Convention Center (WCC) is stunning. It is filled with local artwork and the quilt exhibition is absolutely stunning. I even saw some Chilhuly glass which was even more incredible in person than in any documentary or book I’ve seen.
After getting my badge I figured out if I entered the exhibit hall in the far entrance, I would be near the aisles where all the major publishers are that I needed to talk with. I first hit Little Brown to see about a Stephanie Meyer sequel to Twilight and New Moon. The representatives there said that there would be no ARC for Eclipse since they didn’t think that they would need to promote the book since there was such a huge following. I could understand that, but the thing I was most thrilled to hear was that Stephanie Meyer had decided to make the series four books, not three as originally planned. Go Stephanie!
HarperCollins wasn’t far away and I did get a Meg Cabot ARC – not a Princess series but an unrelated character meant for the YA audience. I scuttled over to the Hyperion booth (collecting ARCs all the way – I had easily 12 books overflowing my arms) and immediately spotted Masquerade, the Blue Bloods sequel!!!! I begged for three and my pitiful demeanor must have softened them since they not only let me have three copies but they also gave me two big bags to carry the books in.
On the way out, I saw a great booth with nice t-shirts (not the custey-poo kind librarians suffer with – the “I’m a real bookworm” variety with some snakey-looking thing wearing a pair of Sally Jessie Raphael glasses) and what caught my eye was this great picture of a golden retriever wearing one of the shirts and the words “service manager” under him. Knowing a kindred spirit when I see one, I showed her my cell phone picture of Bugsy and told her all about how he’s our library dog. I got a free t-shirt. The power of goldens. I got a few t-shirts for prizes and they are awesome!
But here’s where I encountered a slight problem. There are a lot of books. Books are heavy. I am wearing a winter coat. Coats are hot. I do not know where the shipping booth is. I walk about of the side of the exhibit hall and find an information booth (my arms are aching at this point) to inquire as to a shipper. They direct me to a booth on the opposite side of the exhibits where the US Postal Service is shipping items. The opposite side. Did I mention the exhibit hall length is approximately the length of several football fields? It is. I gird myself and just plan on getting there by sheer willpower. Building up a head of steam, I zoom into the main doors (where I glimpse a complementary coat check as the rivulets of sweat are streaming down my hairline, but I can’t stop now or I’ll never get there) and just push to the postal service booth. I truly believe that my arms are about an inch longer now, but without an original measurement, that’s hard to prove.
I shipped the box book rate, which is so much cheaper than UPS so my physical pain was really worth it. Still in post-schvitz mode, I dragged myself back to the shuttle bus and hopped the one to the Westin. I had a lovely talk with a librarian also on her way to the AASL All-Committee meeting. She had been volunteering for AASL for years and had even been on the NSLMPY committee! Wow! We found the ballroom for the all-committee meeting easily and since I was about 30 minutes early, I decided to just grab a couple glasses of water (to replenish what I just sweated out in the exhibit hall) and settle into the ISS table since they usual meet promptly in the beginning. The All-Committee meeting is a unique thing when you are on more than one committee. It usually results in table-hopping (hence everyone meeting in the same room, since many members are on more than one committee) and having you crane your head to look at your other table to see when the membership reached critical mass so you could zoom over there and give your report or listen to issues, and then go back to other table you started at.
This is basically what I did, although I have to say that ISS absolutely has the best committee since everyone is so fun and there’s a lot more laughter coming from our table than any other! Patt Moser, our chair, had a super agenda and kept us all on track (nothing short of miraculous). I hopped to the NBPTS Committee (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards) and gave my report on the results of my survey of ISS librarians and their knowledge of the NBCT process. The fact that my report included action items was well-received and I was able to excuse myself quickly. On the way back to ISS, I was stopped by fellow NBPTS Committee member, Nancy Everhart, who asked me if I would be interested in being on the National Advisory Board for Project LEAD, an initiative based out of the College of Information at Florida State University. You attend meetings at ALA conferences and do online advisory work and get an honororium for their work. I’ve really liked everything Nancy has spoken of the last few years regarding her work and would love to represent the independent school librarian perspective with her work. I have her an enthusiastic “yes”!
The ISS committee has a few more points to discuss when I got back to that table and the timing worked out perfectly, with the committee basically finishing up at 3:30 pm which is when I had to leave to catch two buses to get to the Hilton. A nice local independent school librarian, Nancy, had sat in our meeting (her school was a mere 6 blocks away) and was offering local advice about eateries and shopping. When she heard I had to get to the Hilton for my Baker & Taylor Award Committee meeting, she offered to walk me over there, mentioning that it was just a few blocks away. This was so sweet of her, as she wasn’t going my way at all, so I thought I’d take her up on her offer.
As if I needed any highlighting with how out of shape I was, this walk definitely proved it. Nancy was breezing along conversing with me and I followed her, wheezing and gasping as we trucked 6 blocks uphill to the Hilton. I made it in plenty of time thanks to Nancy, and I managed to gasp out a thank you. Heading into the hotel was interesting – the entry level was just elevators and a hotel store (where I bought a Snapple ice tea and a Nutrigrain bar to fortify myself). Everyone has to go up and down via the elevators and its horribly crowded and inconvenient (and I can’t imagine very safe). The lobby itself (when you finally manage to get there) is lovely – roaring fireplace, comfy chairs, etc. and I found the Taku Room easily. I was the first one there, quickly followed by Texan chair Patsy Weeks and Carol Marlowe a fellow member. Our two other members, Wanda Jones and Nancy Fredericks arrived right on time and we managed to get down to business quickly thanks to Patsy’s excellent agenda. We picked two wonderful and deserving librarians and actually got to call them to let them know that they won, and we all were laughing and chuckling over their delight and excitement. After writing the press release, we adjourned right at 6 pm with a list of things to do to prepare for our final meeting in Washington, D.C.
With directions in hand, I walked three blocks (uphill again) back to the Convention Center where I spotted my restaurant, Bambuza, across the street from the main entrance. This wonderful and hip Vietnamese eatery was chosen by Seattle Nancy and was a great choice for the ISS informal dinner. About 15 people were there and it was great to sit and chat over some really excellent food. Really excellent.
I figured I had it made in the shade in terms of getting back to the W Hotel since I was right across the street from where the shuttles pick up. Sure enough, crossing the street, I could see three nice comfy buses just waiting there with the drivers chatting together. But as I got closer, I saw that rather than the bus number indicating which hotels they were traveling to, there was the sign “Space Needle, Thompson Scientific”. I must have looked a little confused since a nice driver asked if he could help me. I asked when the #4 shuttle would arrive and he gently told me that the shuttles stop running at 6 pm (and it was 7:45). I must have had my lost Catholic girl look that I know I get when I’m perplexed and tired, and another driver immediately stepped in and said, “Well, now, why don’t you get on the bus? We can drop you off two blocks from your hotel so you’re not confused where to go.” Wasn’t that nice? So I was the only one on the bus and the nice driver did in fact drop me off on the corner of 4th street and just pointed in the direction of the hotel, which was clearly visible. Two blocks (uphill again) and I was home.
And was I tired! But I had to video chat Ethan and I had gotten an Ethernet cable at the front desk for this purpose, so I signed on and paid for 3 hours of internet time and called my sweetie. We both hopped right on and it was great to see him and the kitties and Bugsy in real time while telling him about my very long day. The added bonus of being signed on was that I got to chat up a couple of my girls (who were up very late on a Saturday night!!!!) and find out how they were doing.
I posted my Friday blog and fell into an exhausted heap in my bed, after setting two alarms for 5:30 am so I could get to the Project LEAD advisory board meeting at the Sheraton at 7:30 am the following morning.