I have been looking forward to GA on my home turf (the PNWD) for the three or four years since it was announced that GA 07 would be in Portland, Oregon. No way was I going to miss this one! I hadn't been able to attend since Boston in 03 and the only reason I made it to that one was that I was going to be able to march in the SLT because I'd reached Final Fellowship status.
What I didn't count on were the barriers that would crop up, limiting my involvement: my son's wedding on the 17th, the parttime work which doesn't exactly cover lots of professional expenses, my friend Sue's sudden need for hip surgery throwing into question my being able to sleep on her couch, an impending death in the congregation, and the peroneal tendinitis which has made walking painful for several weeks.
Whew! When I look at the list of barriers, I wonder that I even decided to go! But after arriving home from the wedding on Monday, I did a quick turnaround that included laundry, a visit to the dying member's family, a visit to the hospital to see another parishioner, packing the car and gassing up, and I left for Ministry Days at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. Rush hour in Seattle was impossible to avoid, but I made it to Portland by noon, just in time to pick up registration materials for Ministry Days but having missed most of the excitement. As it happened, I didn't even get to the Berry Street lecture because I got caught up with freshly-arriving friends from Colorado and Portland whom I hadn't seen for years.
By that time, most of the barriers to my GA experience had shrunk; Sue was home from the hospital and appreciated my help with her limited mobility, I had amassed sufficient funds from extra gigs to be able to eat and pay parking, gas, registration, meals, and the tendinitis responded to ibuprofen as necessary. But all the walking at a huge place like the Oregon Convention Center meant lots of time on my feet, and eventually I developed blisters! Blisters! I haven't had blisters like these for years! But I coped and bandaged myself up and managed not to drag one foot too badly as I limped from MAX to Alexis Greek Restaurant, to Lloyd Center, to the Convention Center, to Saturday Market, etc.
One highlight for me was meeting the UU bloggers, particularly Chalice Chick and Linguist Friend with whom I had time to really hang out. On Sunday night the three of us had dinner at Old Wives Tales in Portland and then I took them on a short tour of a few of my favorite parts of Portland---Rocky Butte, the house I lived in when serving Wy'east UUC, mostly. CC made sure we hunted down Voodoo Donuts, which was an experience of note, and then I dropped them off at their lodgings near PSU.
The blogger dinner was a hoot, complete with belly dancer! Nearly every person who signed up made it to Alexis, where we enjoyed a sumptuous meal of lots of stuff I can taste but can't pronounce or spell. We even paid the bill handily with a couple of bucks to spare----$705.00! All of it was delicious, especially the crispy little calamari.
I took pictures and will get them up soon. Gotta go plan a memorial service right now.
UPDATE: I meant to add that I met UU Momma at GA as well. She didn't want to be outed, so I'm not using her name, but I'll betcha a lot of people saw her and didn't know her! I was disappointed that UU Enforcer and Post Modern Preacher didn't make it to the dinner after making a reservation, but it's hard to cram everything into GA!