the eighth of december, barely a wednesday

I have so much to say about this weekend, but I just don't know how to do it! I've been mulling over it the entire day, but no smart and creative way is coming to me. I suppose that I should just write about the moments that stood out for me, and then, by reading it along with everyone else's version of events, you'll hopefully get an idea of just how fucking cool it was.

But before I go into any of it, I just have to say how fucking cool Melissa is for agreeing to host this confab despite the fact that the only other thing she had going on this weekend was a show that she both acted in and directed. I think the last thing I would want would be the stress of having two or three or twelve other people milling around my house, but it didn't faze her one bit (or if it did, it didn't show!).

She even baked muffins for us on Saturday morning. (And they turned out great. Don't let anyone tell you any different.)

Of course, I was so nervous the entire day on Friday. Excited but anxious about meeting these people who I already considered my friends, hopeful that I wouldn't make an fool out of myself or be such a geek that they wouldn't let me join their reindeer games anymore. When I pulled into the theatre parking lot, I took a deep breath (okay, I don't mean to be so melodramatic, but it's the truth) and walked in, right when this girl went flying past the entryway. She backed up.



Hugs. I made some dorky remark about her hair (which was darker than the picture I saw of her before) but she invited me into the theatre anyway, where I met Colleen (more hugs) and Steve, Mel's roommate. (No hugs there... maybe next time!)

Melissa flew off (because, you know, she had this show going up in like ten minutes) and Colleen and I picked our seats and started chatting away like we've known each other for years, which, in a way, we have.

And that was it. I caught my first glimpse of Kate in character as Antigone. The play was marvelous, as I knew it would be. I'm just amazed at how talented people can be, particularly when it's in their spare time. I mean, all these people have regular lives, bills to pay, classes to attend, and yet somewhere find the time and energy to make theatre happen.

Colleen and I tagged along to the cast party, had some very nice cosmopolitans and great spinach dip. I also had my first experience in trying to explain to someone exactly how we all knew each other, and I realized that it really is a very strange thing, this online journaling deal. This was the first weekend I've ever discussed it out loud. It was weird, but so great.

Saturday morning was full of muffiny goodness, but we had slept in, so Melissa and Kate had to dash off to make their call time. Colleen and I had decided right after the show on Friday night that there would be no need for us to amuse ourselves during the Saturday matinee, because we definitely wanted to see it again. Besides, Patrick and Kymm were coming to that show, and I didn't want to wait around to meet them.

I was so glad I had Colleen with me and had already bonded with her, because I think meeting all of these journalers at one time would have been way too much. Kymm is, of course, every bit as smart, funny, and down-to-earth as she is reputed to be. And Patrick, my dear sweet Patrick. I very nearly pounced on him and got the warmest hug in return.

Following that show (just as good the second time!), the four of us journaling audience members headed to the grocery store while Melissa and Kate wrapped up things at the theatre. Colleen took charge of the shopping while Kymm and Patrick and I just followed her around like a peanut gallery, commenting on the odd displays and marveling at the carpet. (Never actually been in a carpeted grocery store before, it was very weird.)

Later on in the evening, we were joined by Amanda and her husband Jeff, and Corina and her husband Wes. Four more warm, personable, and funny people you could not ever hope to meet. Once again, as though she didn't have enough to do, Melissa whipped up some fabu baked ziti, which was somehow previously established as her signature dish even though she hadn't made it before.

It's her signature dish now. Delish.

As for the rest of the evening, I can't remember when I've laughed so much. At some point we discussed the idea of starting a fake flame war, with all of us rushing home on Sunday to update our journals about how bitchy and mean everyone was. Amanda taught us all the dirty words in Australia (like why everyone was howling with hysterics when the Pope visited and people kissed his ring). Colleen provided delicious Ass Cookies (see Kymm's entry for the explanation) and the margabucket. We were greatly disturbed by the number of men popping through Harry Connick Jr's legs during his Christmas special. Somehow I began turning everything into the name of a porn movie, but we won't go into that. We were psyched to play Cranium, but it perplexed us because we didn't really find it all that challenging. (Sample question: "Complete this phrase: One fish, two fish..." Who would get that wrong? "Uh, three fish four fish?") It was worth it, though, to see Colleen act out the assassination of JFK, and I feel compelled to announce that the team made up of Amanda, Jeff and myself were the victors. (Although given the difficulty level of this game, that's not really saying much. Just that I can hum "Auld Lang Syne" and Jeff can draw Bob Marley and Amanda knows what "flout" means, except that Jeff and I didn't believe her and we got that one wrong.)

I had to get back for my Messiah concert on Sunday, so I was up at 8:30. I threw my stuff together, hugged all the still-sleeping people, and came home, thinking only that the trip was much, much too short.

I've been musing all day about why this weekend was such a big deal to me. I've read recaps of other journaler meetings, and I never thought it would mean all that much to me, but it did.

It's a given that these people know more about me than most of my "real life" family and friends. The fact that they knew so much about me and invited me anyway, I felt anxious about not disappointing them, about convincing them they hadn't made a mistake. All my life, I've struggled with whether I fit in, whether I deserved to be a part of the company I'm with. I was afraid that some random fault, some flaw that I've become skilled at hiding in words, would come out in person. I very much wanted to exude the cheerfulness I saw in Colleen, the confidence I saw in Melissa, Kate's sense of humor, Patrick's affability, Corina's quick wit, Amanda's poise, Kymm's gregariousness.

I don't know that I did, but I don't know that it matters. We're all sort of in this together, and we're proud of what we do, and maybe that's all it takes. I didn't make friends this weekend, because they were friends already, that I am sure of. And that is what matters.

Sheesh, such drivel I write. Can anyone tell I'm in therapy? What the fuck is all that introspection about? Frankly, we had a blast, and that is what matters.

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