For once, I’ve had a great week. I spent most of it in Orlando at Ektron‘s Synergy ’09 Conference at the Disney Grand Floridian. I spent five days and four nights learning more about CMS 400 version 8.0 (the content management software I wish I could afford to power literatehousewife.com), networking with consultants and meeting new people.
Ektron really knows how to put on a conference! We registered on the beach at dinner the first night, which was fun and relaxing. Tuesday night was Customer Appreciation Night and they scheduled a special event at the Indiana Jones attraction at Hollywood Studios. We watched the show and got to eat dinner on the sound stage. It was a great time. The conference closed with raffling off a lot of wonderful prizes.
I didn’t win a prize at the conference, but I was extremely lucky nonetheless. I knew heading down that Sandy from You’ve GOTTA Read This! lived in Orlando and I hoped to get a chance to meet her in person while I was there. What I didn’t know was that Elle from Blithely Babbling was down there with her family. Elle was one of my first non-friends to consistently leave comments on my blog when it was “52 Books or Bust.” Most importantly, she has stuck with me after the disastrous books I selected for my first foray into the online book club world. She lives in Canada and I never thought we would ever meet. Imagine my surprise when I got an email from her after she saw me tweeting about the conference! We were able to meet up at Downtown Disney on Wednesday after Synergy ended and while her beautiful daughter took her nap. We got frozen lemonade and sat down on a bench to talk. We first discussed our children, but our conversation turned to books and blogging before long. Elle is considering creating a new blog just for her book reviews and she has got me prepped for reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon in January. She’s a huge fan and I cannot wait to see what has her all fired up. Most importantly, I’m so happy that I can now call her my friend without having to mention “online.” That was a touch of Disney magic for me.
After my visit with Elle, I went back to my hotel room and packed while waiting for Sandy to arrive for our dinner. I was so excited and that helped me not mourn over the beautiful place I would be leaving very early the next morning (the Magical Express loses a lot of magic when you have to be up and ready to check out by 5:30AM). I was packed and ready to go just as she was calling me and we met in the lobby. We ate at Citricos and had a wonderfully funny waiter named Joe. From the very first moment, Sandy felt like an old friend to me. We had such a great time talking about family, blogging, and reading. I got to hear all about her wonderful cruise and how she grew up in Indiana. It was just a great time in a really nice atmosphere. The nearly three hours we were together flew by. Just like with Elle, I’m so happy to have met Sandy in person. She is every bit as funny and delightful IRL as she is online.
I hope to post more pictures during the week. My co-worker Lauren attended Synergy with me and she has some fun pictures on her camera that I’m hoping to snag from her when she gets back on Monday.
I hope you all had a wonderful week, too!