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May 4th, 2006

I’ve been on the road for a good portion of the last week.

Friday was a day long professional researcher’s conference in Madison, which got me out from behind my desk for a day. I ‘networked’ with other professionals.

Which in my case meant: ‘grabbed a seat in the back, and loaded up on flavored tea and freebees.’

I now have a cliched rubber bracelet that says I’ HEART research’.

Hmmm. I don’t HEART it, so much as I’m using it for cheap thrills and refusing to talk about commitment. But perhaps the orange bracelet hanging in my beige cube will give me that sense of whimsy that the other workers notice I’m missing.

I went straight from the researcher’s conference to a writer’s conference in Chicago.

Straight as I define it, anyway. I did fine until I was within a couple of miles of the hotel and then got completely lost. You’d think, if you were dealing with a street number of 1700, that it would be between 800 and 23000.

You’d be wrong.

Eventually, I pulled into a strip mall parking lot, where everyone was driving like they were from Illinois (and probably noticing that I drove ‘like I was from Wisconsin’) and called my husband on the cell phone, demanding to know what the hell was wrong with the Deerfield Hyatt and its counter-intuitive numbering system, and why did I have to leave Deerfield and go to Buffalo Grove to get there?

He kept trying to give me directions as they related to O’Hare, since that was where the hotel was. Or perhaps 294.

Thank you, Mapquest, for finding a way to take me to the hotel that avoided all major landmarks. I was near Old Navy and William Sonoma. This was not helping.

I made it to the hotel with a few minutes to spare and found no spaces in the lot, hauled my bags from the employee parking lot all the way around the building to the front, showered, changed.

And proceeded to forget the name of my book, my editor, and my release date, while talking to an editor from Mira. I also looked straight at my friend ‘Angie’, and introduced her to everyone as ‘Amy’, even though she was wearing her name on a tag around her neck.

Then I hit the cash bar. I ordered my usual, a brandy and sour. The bartender said, sure, he could do that, as long as I didn’t mind having it without brandy, because they didn’t have it. And I must be from Wisconsin, right, because we were the only ones that drank brandy.

Yeah. When we can get it.

So, two brandy-sours-made-with-whiskey later, I was making more sense than I had when sober.

And this was why I spent most of the next two days locked in my hotel room writing. It was safer to stay where I didn’t have to talk.

To be continued…