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Where was I? Oh yeah, the Big Tomato
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Saturday and LCC dawned (ok, what do I know about dawn, huh?. Okay so I woke up (good thing as we never DID figure out the alarm and we decided we didn't need wake-up calls. Stu was just feeling lousy. Yep, look what I did. I apparently gave Stu the stomach virus. He'd seemed fine, but we was not up to breakfast with one of our favorite people. Keith Kahla and Stu and I go back years, and it's a joy to have some time with the guy at a convention. You probably know the name if you read mystery fiction. He's a Big Deal Editor at St Martin's. I love the guy; he's always interesting, sitting down with him is a highlight of Bouchercon or Left Coast. We had a lovely breakfast (even if my appetite was not back) at the hotel. Lemon ricotta pancakes. Yum. Keith's granola parfait, btw, served in a martini glass featured house-made granola (so i found out later). Great timing for breakfast as my panel was late that morning. I was to moderate a panel with four folks who write books featuring aging/senior/old/fill-it-in-to-your liking) sleuths. Not a huge favorite of mine but a fascinating topic, especially when you have four such different authors offering four very different takes on the subject. I was, to be honest, excited to be on a program with Naomi Hirahara. I've known her for years, been at lost of conventions with her, never did program together and her Mas Arai series is a knockout. And oh, the other panelists were so damn good. It just moved. Answers were thoughtful, interesting and never repetitious. Bill Doonan was a newbie - though a long-time s.f. fan (I learned in a phone conversation) he was new to the mystery convention and he was as articulate and spot on as Rita and Mike, my other more experienced panelists.

But wait, let me tell you about Jimmy. I had already felt pretty spiffy and if you will pampered. Both by the roses we received and the email I'd gotten pre-con from co-chair Cindy Sample. I'd asked if the Green Room (where program participants forgather) would have hot water for tea. I am not a big tea fan except at conventions and in hotels where i get "hotel voice" - laryngitis induced by very dry hotel air and talking - so I rely on hot tea not to squeak too badly if I have a program item. The later the worse and this time, one was on Saturday. I heard back that yep, there would be tea. What I didn't expect was Cindy's email asking if I had a preference because well, she was putting in the order and might as well get me tea that I liked! Yow!

So, suddenly, there's Jimmy. Jimmy's with the hotel (I was unsure in what capacity) and he wanted to be sure I know how to get into our room easily. He assures me there's no dais, but there's a door at the other end of the room which would save me having to fight through people, going around to the other end. Oh, geez, Jimmy thank you! Man, this guy is on top of stuff. I should be okay but good to know.

So I get my tea, and we start down the corridor to the room. Suddenly, there's Jimmy again. "I notice you have tea. Can I bring you a pot of water? What tea are you drinking?"

Okay, this is to use a trite trite word, awesome. Can I keep Jimmy? I accept. We get settled in the room, I have my pot of water and tea. And I'm not seeing Stu (he does not always attend programs I am on but hoped to see him as it would be a sign he was okay). We begin and...I realize that um, well, the panel will end on time. And Andi will zoom back to the room. I am not feeling spiffy. I'm okay, I think. I begin the panel, explaining who I am, doing the intros. Just as I start the first question, I was hit with SUCH an attack of dizziness I thought I'd fall over. Wow. Weird. I slow down, still trying to talk, thinking "oh crap I SO do not want to get all dramatic and ask if there's a doctor in the room". I get the first question lobbed to Naomi and sit back. The vertigo eases. And the panel proceeds - phew - as do I. It worked well, I felt okay, but didn't dare even risk the tea, talked to a couple folks and zoomed back to the room.

Stu was still in bed and told me he had been pretty sick but was much better. I proceeded to have a relapse. I mean DAMMIT. Not fair. NOT not not fair. But it was much milder and controllable and things really did pass quickly. We both felt far better. Enough that showered and changed, we were able to face the world within a couple of hours. There was still convention left. There were still people to see, dammit.

I'm going to take a break now. Stay tuned - I'll be back real soon with the rest of the day. It got better really. Much of the rest of Saturday was about long time friends, old friendships, old memories. Alas, I did not make it to any of the night festivities. We didn't get banquet tickets and I simply needed to sleep, so my "day" stopped early. But stick around please?



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