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I would like to start telling you about my birthday weekend, by letting you all know that I hate my husband’s truck. The grey, cumbersome tin can that I drove to Birmingham, Alabama in was, in short, a pain in my butt.
Me + crappy, stick shift truck + crappy GPS + city I’m not familiar with = me driving through Birmingham like a lunatic. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
So, I escaped my house Friday afternoon and drove to Birmingham, checked in to the beautiful Hotel Highland, parked the crappy tin can Toyota, and sat down to read the Pillow Menu. That’s right a whole menu, for pillows, and there were already 5 pillows on the bed anyway. I was definitely looking forward to a long, quite night’s sleep that was sure to come later.
The funny thing about finally finding yourself alone when you are so used to constantly having noise and activity around you, is that you get bored pretty quickly. Although I am not equipped with a smart phone, iPad, laptop, or any other device that can view my Twitter stream, I managed to text a desperate tweet from my archaic phone looking for anyone else that had already checked in. Luckily I was invited up for doughnuts and conversation by Emily of UltraFoodie and Val ( who’s blog name I have forgotten – sorry Val).
Anyway, Friday night was a night FULL of conversation with lots of great folks. One of my favorites being, Gwen from Bunky Cooks. She is the mastermind behind last year’s Food Blog Forum and such an interesting woman to know. I also got to hob-knob with Wade Kwon, Alison Lewis, Virginia Willis and a wonderful lady named Nicki Wood who writes for the Nashville Scene. She, oddly enough, wrote an article just a few weeks ago about my parents’ winery in Tennessee. How strange is that?
Long story short, I stayed out much later than I am used to, and I didn’t get to stay in that wonderful pillow-filled bad for as long as I had wanted to. And thank goodness I remembered to pack the aspirin.
Saturday started early and with 3 aspirin. I packed up everything, got idiotic truck out of parking ( after a trip back for parking fees), and headed toward the gorgeous Woodrow Hall. I got there just in time to get a cup of fantastic coffee and a croissant, but I was not in time to get a swag bag. I was a little disappointed, but realistically it was one less thing I had to carry around which was not so bad. The seminars were really great. Many of them had just the information I was looking for and gave me lots of ideas to think about.
Lunch was delicious ( shrimp and grits!), but the pie break was my favorite. The now-famous Pie Lab brought in a wide variety of their wonderful from-scratch pies. I had so many ( it was my birthday after all), but I think the Bourbon Pumpkin was my favorite. By the way, if you don’t know about the PieLab, you should really read their story. It’s such a wonderful project designed to help out impoverished communities.
I decided to leave the conference a little early. I had to. My sweet daughter called me, nearly in tears, because she wanted to see me on my birthday. Her and her brother had each made me a card and (secretly) a giant cookie cake too. How can you not come home for that?
I walked in the door and was greeted by two ecstatic four year olds, a clean kitchen, a giant cookie cake, and a husband who has never been so happy to see me. He said to me, ” I don’t know how you have done this everyday for the last 4 years. I would have quit by now“. That might have been the best birthday present of all.