Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where to begin?

It was an EVENTFUL weekend!

I went to Chicago for the Printers Row Book Fair, and met up with two of my favorite blog friends that I've "known" (you know, in the online sense of the word) since I started blogging a couple of years ago: Swishygirl and Manic Mommy! (Here we are with Ina, the lovely volunteer who hooked us up with special Author Superfriend Badges so we could get into different events).

Back when we realized we'd all be at Printers Row, Manic and Swishy invited me to go on a road trip to join in the launch party for fellow blogger Jess Riley's awesome book, Driving Sideways. Of course, I jumped at the chance...what could be more fun than to drive to Wisconsin? (We had many opportunities to answer this question in our unexpectedly crazy journey, but more about that in a bit...)

First, we saw Jen Lancaster and Stephanie Klein. (I got this picture by following Manic and Swish into the room where the authors were signing their books. We jumped ahead of an ENTIRE line of people, because Manic said, "We know the authors!" And they do: JL & SK greeted them like long-lost friends. Me, on the other hand, they quickly identified as a Swishy/Manic minion, but I was fine with that. I'll roll in their entourage any day of the week!)

Jen and Stephanie engaged in a VERY interesting conversation about how to write about certain delicate (and not-so-delicate) subjects, knowing that various family and friends will someday read what they've written. They've reached rather different conclusions on how to handle this, which gave Swishy, Manic, and me lots to talk about once we got into the car and pointed our headlights north.

Then it started to rain. And rain some more. Sheets, buckets, cats and dogs...like nothing I've ever seen. Lighting all around us, no other cars on the road. Little did we know we were in the middle of a tornado. We wouldn't find THAT out until the next day; we just thought, "Wow-Wisconsin has some intense weather!"

Here is the eye of the storm, which lasted approximately eight minutes of our ten hour round trip:

Undeterred, we drove on (and on and on), largely due to the fact that there was really no reasonable place to stop. We passed dozens of billboards offering adult entertainment, but somehow three girls pulling off the road in a storm to seek solace in a porn shop seemed too much like the beginning of a horror movie...so Swishy gripped the wheel and got us to Oshkosh.

It was totally worth it. Here is the gorgeous Jess Riley:

We got to meet her husband, her best friend who inspired one of the main characters in the book, her adorable nephew, even her Mom & Dad...it was great! People kept bringing PILES of books for her to sign, but we tried to be gracious and share her with her adoring fans. It helped that there were yummy meatballs and other culinary concoctions to tide us over.

My computer battery is running low, so I'll have to save part two of this post--where we try to find our way back from Wisconsin without using any highways--for tomorrow. (I think I'll call it: "Fond du Lac: I'm not Fond du the Lack of highway signs..." ) But before I hit post, let me share two things you might not know about Manic and Swishy that they'd never tell you. It's amazing how their superhero powers work together:

First, EVERYONE loves Manic. No matter where we went, she won people over--waiters, McDonalds workers, NYT bestselling authors. If you meet her, you'll be overcome with an urge to fetch her a drink and/or rotate the tires on her car. She's that fabulous.

And second, Swishy is a man magnet. I sort of guessed this from meeting her before (you may recall my Charlize Theron references), but we were only hanging out with girls then, so I had yet to appreciate the full impact of Swishy on the males of our species...and the females. I actually witnessed firsthand when we walked into one place: a girl saw Swishy and instantly grabbed her boyfriend and started making out with him. Later, when she had to go to the bathroom, the girl actually made him HOLD HER PURSE, lest there be any doubt that he was taken. Hysterical.

But the best thing about Manic & Swishy? They're girls' girls. They wouldn't take your man, or make you rotate their tires... that's just not how they roll. Love them!

More tomorrow :)


Manic Mom said...

Oh my Gosh! I absolutely LOVE YOU and am CRACKING up over this post! It's so much fun to read how each of us interprets the weekend's events!

You are such a class act, and spending the weekend with you was like meeting up with a long-lost friend who I couldn't wait to hang with!

I'm just sorry you got stuck at O'Hare because I would have totally dragged you back to the Manic House and let you sign my kids! You know how they like to have famous authors sign their body parts!


L Sass said...

Sounds like a GREAT trip! I would love to have been there for the Stephanie Klein / Jen Lancaster discussion... but overall, when I read either of their blogs, I think "Gosh I'm glad I'm not a 'famous' blogger!"

Eileen said...

I had to laugh because I thought the same thing of Manic and Swish when I met them!

LEstes65 said...

Oh FUN! Glad the tornado didn't toss you all into Oz.

Swishy said...

Oh, you crazy girl! You are too funny. A magnet for tornados, more like :) It was so fun seeing you! Next time we'll do it minus all the rain :)

JenKneeBee said...

Sounds like it was a blast! Glad you had so much fun.

~Virginia~ said...

sounds like a fun time! why aren't my weekends nearly as much fun?! oh, right. because i'm lazy. :)

Barrie said...

Sounds like a FANTASTIC trip!!

Em said...

yay! I'm glad you're back home safely and had such a great trip! We were praying for you to make it through O'Hare....had no idea we should be praying against a tornado, as well!! What a story! CRAZY!!!