Wednesday, July 23, 2014

... can't you see we've got a good thing here?

What a crazy week couple of weeks! Last Sunday I discovered an old friend had arrived in town from Kansas (after having not seeing him in two years and with zero notice). As things typically go for me, I attempted to be accommodating and spent a good deal of time restructuring the next few days in order to see him. Which was, in hindsight, not a good use of my time.

Before the ghostee-pocolypse began - I went to Greenville for valuable pre-baby time with Lady Faulk looking at adorable owl-covered baby seats and the Cadillac of strollers. There were so many cute things to look at and gross things to learn about (NO, I did not touch her belly. YES, I am still in the choosing to be child-free for the foreseeable rest of my existence. Barring maybe adoption or fostering someday in the distant future).

The ghostee was vaguely interested in some very specific local gossip and I feel he was more using me for my network of friends than actually wanting to interact - but I arranged for a friendly game night at Starbucks with a host of folks and set up a group dinner at Palmetto Smokehouse in his honor. Which was delightful and yummy (drink specials and tasty food) but made my skin crawl from the conversational perspective.

In attempting to deconstruct my many social gaffes of the evening, I kept returning to the fact that people do in fact change. I have, in fact, changed over the past several years. And in said dinner I was able to demonstrate my new non-doormat feature. It was not well received by Kansas. Especially when I refused to take half-assed apologies and verbal abuse in front of a table full of people. Oh well.

The rest of the week was spent travelling for a work conference. It had been eons since I had been on a trip like this, so I was a bundle of nerves. It did not help that my planned mini-plane flight (Cessna, from Athens, via SeaPort) got cancelled super-last-minute and I had to drive a long way to Nashville. So I woke up at the butt-crack of dawn and navigated my way to the Gaylord Opryland Resort. I was not aware that this was a THING, y'all. It is most definitely the most opulent place I have stayed in. I got lost MULTIPLE times. It is like 5 massive midtown Atlanta hotels smashed together. and then they have a freaking botanical garden with a boat ride in the center. There are also a huge number of eateries and pools and a fantastic fitness center ... and a mall next door.

Clearly, I was suffering for my career and the nation's future. SO MUCH SUFFERING.

What do you do on a conference? Absorb sessions and network! It was a little out of my comfort zone, but I got to bond with some gals from my district and meet other folks. The sessions were informative, but not always the most entertaining way to spend an hour. And some were hilarious for all the wrong reasons. And I was rabidly taking notes so I could re-hash and re-present later on. The coffee was meh, the food was scarce (probably due to the fact that our conference was HUGE), and people were not showing their best manners at times.

After-hours dinners and adventures were had, naturally. If you go to Music City, prepare yourself for cowboy boots, blues music and whiskey. B.B. King's Blues Club was just a short ride from the hotel. We made a reservation on OpenTable, but  it took 30min to get a table after we arrived. No matter! We sat at the bar and listened to the AWESOME house band until we were seated at a table. Everyone's food was fantastic, as we were in the sharing mood. I had my first ever fried catfish, some awesome Memphis BBQ wings, fried pickles, fried green tomatoes with caramelized onions, and chips with blue cheese/bacon/truffle oil (yes I AM aware that every blessed thing on that list is most definitely fried). There was some dancing (both blues dancing and alcohol induced bouncy-white-girl-dancing) and Thursday seemed to be a night with the 'older set'.

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge was another awesome stop. This bright purple building has a band playing (and a bar slinging dranks) on every level. It was smoky and dive-y and so terribly fun just to exist in. The food was typical pub stuff, so I'd not plan on eating there. But if you want to hear the local talent, this is the place to go! On a trip up and down the stairs, I heard the same song in three different styles by three wicked vocalists.

And then there was the live music and mechanical bull at the Tequila Cowboy. Good times! I'd like to go back and explore the Parthenon and the Hermitage, amongst other things.

Oh, and Night Vale - lovely weather we're having.

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