Friday, June 26, 2015

ALA Annual - San Francisco

Well. I'm here. I arrived yesterday. My plane landed fifteen minutes early but sat on the tarmac for almost forty-five minutes because the gate wasn't ready. The plane that was there was having mechanical difficulties. I chose to grab a cab into the city because I was meeting my husband's uncle for lunch and didn't know how long the shuttle wait would be. The cab ride in was a bit pricey and we stopped dead in traffic for the ball game that was starting. Oh well.

My room happened to be ready, so I checked in and that was good. It's in the "historic" section of the hotel and is quite nice but that the single window looks out into a shaft of some sort and I look directly into another hotel room. It's only for one night though. I have to move today to the "premier" section, at $30 more per night. It's right downtown though and a longish walk to the convention center. It'll do - especially since it was just about the only thing left by the time I booked this trip.

Honestly. While there's something to be said for "going with the flow," I am a hopeless planner. I always seem to be a day late and a dollar short and usually lost. I don't mind wandering but there's something to be said for joining a tour and listening to someone who knows the area. Last night, I had dinner with a vivacious librarian and her husband. She is the opposite of me in that she researches everything about where she's going and makes the most of every minute. Of course, she has energy to spare. 

After a delicious dinner at a small Indonesian place I never would've found on my own, I decided to wander around the neighborhood a bit. As I trekked up a hill near Union Square, I realized that, one, I am woefully out of shape as I got short of breath within a block, and two, I had no idea where I was headed as the darkness (and chill) fell. I had this sudden memory of a trip to Europe I took in my senior year of high school. My advance placement history teacher always took a group of seniors some place in Europe for the February break. We went to Saltzburg, Austria and Munich, Germany. The first night in Saltzburg, we were free to wander the downtown area with instructions to meet back at the hotel at a certain time. My best friend and I happily walked and talked and walked and talked until we realized that we were lost. Boy, did we get in trouble upon return to the hotel.

Then, there was the time, twenty-five years ago, when I thought that Colonial Williamsburg was a walk from the train station. Our train arrived at night. I was traveling with my husband, and three sons, ages 14, 4 and 1. We walked and walked and walked and there were no signs or anything. How my husband didn't divorce me is testament to his patience.

I had a lovely lunch with Uncle Howard. He took me to the Oak Room and we caught up on family matters. He is a vibrant almost 92 year old who just gave up his apartment and moved to a retirement/ assisted living situation. The last time I visited, he took me around SF, and I had trouble keeping up with him. This time around, he seemed to tire after a short walk around Union Square and fretted a bit about not having the energy to attend a six-hour opera that night, so I said that I needed to nap and sent him on his way to take one himself. I did end up napping, but I should have roused myself and scoped out the convention center and registered so that I could read the manual. I honestly can't handle the online scheduler. But I didn't. And so.

Of course, the Alcatraz and Angel Island tours are all booked up. I thought I would trek around town today but there's an interesting diversity panel this afternoon and the exhibits are open, so... I will go with the flow and make the most of it.

Sometimes too much choice is paralyzing. Then, there's the matter of energy. I've been ailing most of June with a combination of some sort of bug/ allergy thing and dealing with side effects from a new medication my oncologist put me on. Add to that the fact that school ended two days ago, with all the craziness that that brings, and... You know what? I'm going to shut up now. 

I'm here. The weather's supposed to be great. I have appointments to keep, friends to meet and workshops to attend. I will not dwell on what I missed and will make the most of what I am doing. I will be present.

Onward and upward. 

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