(Being a series of entries written almost entirely from The Met Hotel in Troy, Michigan.)
Thursday, February 18th, 2010
At home now, waiting for a ride from Rod and Liz. Nancy was kind enough to come over last night and get the hospitality bin and t-shirts, so I should be able to fit in Rod and Liz’s car. Everything is packed and ready to go!
The suite is smaller than I expected, but does have a TV and fridge and microwave at least. Awaiting delivery of the chair and tables here so I can finish setup, then I can go actually register for the convention.
Still waiting on the tables and chairs to show up after two phone calls to the front desk. Grr. At least I got signed in to the convention without any problems.
Back from opening ritual. Not bad for a generic pagan rite, but I’m so not into energy raising as a ritual invocation technique any more. They brought in an eight foot tall tower (in keeping with this year’s convention theme) and people wrote things on it to show what they felt oppressed them. Nice idea, would have worked better if the tower wasn’t dark brown and we could have seen what was written! Tables arrived at about 6:15, nearly done setting everything up here.
Friday, February 19th
And tonight was supposed to be the night people cleared out early. Ha! Eight people here sand they show no signs of slowing, fortunately I was going to stay up for a while playing Facebook games anyway. >8) Only a few new folks stopped by, including an odder-than-usual appearance from Jeana Jordan, who gave us roses and chocolate-covered ginger Altoids. Mostly it’s been Grove members using the room as a safe haven from the insanity of the convention atmosphere. Between 8 and 9 it was just me, Paul, Val, and Janek, most other folks were at classes, and I kinda wanted to visit the Northern Grove ritual just to see what they’re like, I only know them from their e-mail announcements, but someone had to watch the room. The perils of being both a pagan leader and a responsible person! After classes let out, we had quite the crowd here. And still do! Lots of talking, lots of watching Janek not quite stand up by himself, and of courser we watched the men’s figure skating finals.
Folks finally left around 2 AM, got to bed 45 minutes later. Now playing Dr. Horrible on the telly while I clean up last night’s mess. Gods I hope the housekeeping staff can give us more trash cans, there seems to be a desperate shortage. Anyone who thinks that having “more power in ADF” is desirable probably doesn’t realize that playing housemaid before and after events is the most noticeable change when you do!
A quiet morning in the suite, a few folks stopped by. Not being a coffee drinker, I always underestimate the effect that that has to attract people to the room! After folks were back from classes, I went to the Merchant Room, and I definitely need to go back to pick up gemstones and other supplies before I go. The Art Room was okay, nothing I fell in love with. The one nude print had Post-It notes over the naughty bits. No, really.
Nobody showed up for our schedule Run Valdr class here in the room. We all went to the “what do we know about the Druids” class at 2, which was actually quite good. Other than his claim that there were probably no female druids, I didn’t disagree with any of it. Bursts of loud laughter from the room next door did make for some odd commentary, though! Back at the room now, and several people are finding that their room keys don’t work any more. The hotel is definitely having issues this weekend.
And the room party is in full swing, or as full a swing as we ever manage. People are slowly arriving, the folks from Cedarsong Grove got here a few hours ago as well. Nobody came by for my talk on chthonic deities, I guess that no topic can outdraw dinner! Noal and I stopped by the “meet your local group” event in the meetup room, which was a dozen group leaders and one new person, which was about what I expected.
Saturday, February 20th
The room party is now at its most crowded, which I guess shouldn’t surprise me. Good thing I can sleep in on Monday! We’ve been watching Olympic coverage on TV, including the skeleton runs, and also playing “the twelve point zero zero zeroes”, the Vulcan version of the dozens. “Your mama is so dumb, when the engineer told her to put fuel in the antimatter drive, she threw her daddy’s sister in there!” No, I’m not drunk. The drunk people are behaving even more weirdly than I am.
Folks did indeed stay chatting until 2 AM again, I got to bed right after that. Room cleaning didn’t take too long, we’re apparently a neat and tidy bunch this year. Left the room a bit after 9 (after extensive Mouse Hunt discussion with Dylan) for the Odin ritual being done by Twilight Flame. This being Kalvin’s first ritual ever at the convention, Rod and I went over stuff with him to make sure it would be understandable to the ConVo crowd. The rite started on time (one advantage of having the earliest time slot of the day) and went very well, I think the non-ADF folk “got” what was happening. Simple openings and offerings, then sacrifices to Odin, the omen was good (Nauthiz- Fehu – Ingwaz, need is addressed by resources and leads to harmony) and nobody died! Best part for me was seeing Kalvin walk around the circle wile doing invocations, since I’m the only one in SLG who does that, I really had no clue what it looked like from an observer’s perspective, it looked very cool! Attendance was 29 including Kestrel who arrived late. Very good to see our Regional Druid there (who had to leave for work right after the rite ended), Barbara Wright, and the folks from up north, who I’ve never gotten to do ritual with before. We’re back in the room now, relaxing.
Val and I went to the merchant area and I picked up some supplies: soaps, incense, gemstones, and rooibos tea. The woman with peppermint lip balm was out, someone bought her whole stock yesterday (there must have been at least two dozen just in the basket) but she may have more tomorrow. Back in the room, three different people have napped on the other bed (besides the one I’ve been using) just this afternoon. Combined with nobody coming for my planned talk on ADF cosmology, it’s clear that the suite is far more useful to our members as a sanctuary than to outré org as a teaching tool, which is fine. I guess people are actually eating and shopping during the eating-and-shopping breaks. Kim and Gen have arrived as well, we’ll see who else is still coming!
Nobody showed up specifically for the Study Program discussion at 5:30, completing the sweep of zero attendance for any of our in-suite workshops, yay! Melissa and Amy did discuss SP issues with me briefly, though, so that sort of counts. I went to dinner at Desoto’s in the hotel and paid way too much for what barely counted as a salad bar and taco bar, but the steak pieces were marinated and very yummy, and despite what people assume about me, I really do enjoy eating salad. Crowding forced me to share a table, but Bona Dea was a very pleasant dining companion. It’s a pity the place seemed so desperately understaffed, I wonder if they underestimated how many people would be here this weekend, or if they just plain don’t have enough staff in general. Back in the room at 7, people have been milling in and out all evening, then Cedarsong folks who are rooming in the other hotel used the suite to change for the masquerade ball, another useful thing for which to have a suite at the convention. Game Night started early, with Paul and I deducing the rules of Druidenwalzer (Waltz of the Druids) from the well-written German manual and the inadequate English translation the importer supplied, and we now have our third game of Carcassonne going. The Wicker Man is now playing on the TV. I’ll try to head down to the ballroom at some point.
Sunday, February 21st
An earlier wrap-up to the evening than I had expected. >8) More games were played, including some folks attempting to start a game of Pillars of the Earth after 11 PM, which was doomed to failure. We watched Olympic curling on the TV, and I did journey down to the ballroom area to see the drumming (ah, energy raising, you’re good for fun, but I just can’t get into using you as a ritual technique any more), and I did dance the Time Warp at midnight, and looked around at the forty-somethings dancing to 80’s Retro music and was sad to realize that this was not an ironic statement of some sort. Back in the room, most folks went home or back to their rooms, I’m just keeping the room open because a few people have left their belongings here, and also Amy and Melissa from Cedarsong will be using the other bed in the main room tonight.
I’d been hoping to do a morning report at the hotel, but the Kellers and Liz both took ill so we decided to pack everything up as quickly as possible and get going. I’m very glad we didn’t schedule any open room hours for today! Kalvin, Amy, Melissa and Joel stopped by to help us, and we posed for the official ADF picture, or as close to one as we were going to get. I stopped by the merchant room but they still didn’t have the peppermint lip balm, I’ll have to catch her at Michigan Mayfest and hope that she doesn’t get bought out early again. And now I’m home again and unpacking.
So all in all, was an enjoyable and strange experience, meeting people I haven’t seen in (literally) years, not attending many classes or rituals (but I really only missed one or two that I had any inclination to see, this year’s lineup just did not appeal to me personally, how many different forms of energy work do I need to hear about?), and while the suite didn’t fulfill its mission of providing education and information to the convention attendees, it certainly did fulfill its role as a sanctuary and staging area for the many ADF members who attended. Hopefully we can once again pull off the minor miracle of getting enough money to do this again next year, and maybe entice more ADF members from further afield to attend as well.
(The question now is, will I be able to attend Wellspring this year?)
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF