And one of the big things that has kept me occupied was our fourth annual conference, ATLOSCon 2013. It was, in just a few words, lots of work and tons of fun!
Remind me not to get a sinus infection the week or so before the conference in future years...that did make things a little more difficult, but everything pretty much went off without too many issues. It was easier than last year, having just moved to the house, so there's that. Kaizen! Incremental Improvement! WIN!
I'm just going to list some of the highlights of this year's conference, so I will always remember. These are in no particular order, and I may add to the list as other memories pop into my head.
- Kelly was, as always, absolutely stellar as Queen of the Conference, and without her, none of this would be possible.
- Miranda and Ken, you two were fantastic in your new-and-improved roles as official ATLOSCon organizers. Now I'm wondering how we ever did it without you guys!
- The speakers were extra awesome this year. Seriously, I haven't heard anything but accolades for everyone's classes. The ones I went to were really, really good. I especially enjoyed Hanah's class on fanfiction even though now I'm worried about how I can possibly add one more hobby to my life. Diana's class on moral amplifiers has given me much to contemplate. Chris's class on humor has me looking for hilariously stellar examples in real life (including jokes I make) of where the sense and nonsense "clash." Kelly made me want to re-read some of my favorite poems, and I am tickled that she included one of my favorites in her poetry reading. And the bourbon tasting was especially awesome thanks to Guy and Alisa! Oh, and I got to be Dagny in the Atlas Shrugged script reading. :)
- Special love goes to Alyssa for singlehandedly assembling my new patio furniture on the very first afternoon. And to anyone who witnessed me trying NOT to spaz out over trying to get the A/C fixed at the last minute. Since Wildhaven is the second largest venue for ATLOSCon, even apart from all of the houseguests we were hosting, I was not loving that the A/C went kaput the night before everything started.
- We had karaoke at the party (thank you, Robert and Amy!) and now that EVERYONE has seen me do "Helter Skelter" I need to find a new song to do in the future. Right now the front runners are "Revolution" or "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes. But probably I could be convinced to do "Helter Skelter" just one more time because damn that's a fun song to sing.
- This year's filk . . . oh, it was so awesome. I should probably retire from filk writing now, because I'm not sure I can ever top this year's effort.
- Tom gave me the world's best compliment ever. And I got some other compliments that will be cherished for a while, too.
- CrossFit--the team WOD was lots of fun, and I really enjoyed both competing against a couple of firebreather teams (you know who you are) as well as introducing some new folks to the wonders of CF. It felt like my two families met each other for the first time, and I got to share the best of each group of people with the others.
- Another notable first-time meeting happened. You guys know who you are. :D
- The kids had a fun and wild weekend, too. A perpetual sleepover for some of them, tramping in the woods, a close encounter with ticks for one, a close encounter with a tortoise for many (complete with conflict over who got to hold him!), arts and crafts, new awesome lovely babysitters (they adored each of you), rock climbing for many, karaoke for a few, and even some impromptu yoga. I absolutely LOVE that our kids can be involved in the conference and get to know each other, too. LOVE LOVE LOVE it.
- The stilts made an appearance, but only at the very, very end.
What else? Mostly the feeling that I was at the very best family reunion every second! The kind family reunion that consists of all of your favorite cousins, the fun ones, the ones you laugh and talk and connect with. So I'm not talking about the kind of family reunion you are dragged to against your will and made to sit through boring stories and hugs and kisses from Aunt Matilda.
There are a few special people in the world with whom, no matter how long it's been since we've seen each other or spoken or communicated with each other, I always seem to be able to pick up the conversation right where we left off. ATLOSCon is filled up with so many of those wonderful kind of people -- those who had that status before, those who became those kind of people over the course of the weekend, and those who might be that to me in the future.
To borrow a phrase from Phil, I basked in that "warm, gulchy feeling" all weekend, and I am proud of my part in helping to make this go from an idea to reality (Plan-DO-Check-Act!). And I miss it already and am thinking about next year.
If you are so inclined, you can leave your ATLOSCon memories in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.