Friday, November 02, 2007

The Top 20 Things I Learned at the Retreat

Traveling is always a learning experience for me. It doesn't matter if you're going a few miles, a few hours, or a few flights from home. You always encounter something new. You always try something different. You always meet someone that adds value to your life or learn more about old friends. This latest retreat was awesome. We had a great time, as always. Of course, there's the disappointment that we won't be able to do it again for another whole year, but I guess that's what makes it special.

Here's a few things to help summarize our latest trip...

  1. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend getaway, a week long conference or a trek to a foreign country, the Playfriends will have the same amount of luggage. We are limited only by my puzzle-like packing abilities and Angel’s need to see out the rear view window.

  2. The infamous “Death Stare” is even more frightening when accompanied by a goatee, a gun and a fedora. I was very seriously concerned about getting my kneecaps popped if I didn’t behave.

  3. Plotting a book in a room of over 20 people can be enlightening and inspiring at best, discouraging and confusing at worst. Either way it’s exhausting but you’ll get more out of it than you ever anticipated.

  4. Even in a room full of women, if you wear fishnets and act flirty, you’ll get your butt pinched.

  5. The term “fuzz” will never have the same meaning for me ever again.

  6. There is no point in thinking even for a moment, that I will get any sleep while on a Playfriend trip, even if it is called a “retreat.” Sleep requires you to stop talking. We find that difficult.

  7. Writers, when in the safety of the company of other writers, make excellent actors. They also make nasty, murdering, scheming extortionists.

  8. There are a great many flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans. A group of grown women can be occupied for almost an hour tasting and deciphering the color and speckle code. For the record, sometimes the yellow splotches on the buttered popcorn ones are not that visible and you may believe you’re eating a coconut one until it’s too late. (As an aside, if you try to give away a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans on the blog, the winner will not email you to claim it!)

  9. Men’s suits are very hot. No wonder they hate to wear them and are always taking their jackets off.

  10. Even the teeny-tiniest of women can give one heck of a massage. I wish I could keep that masseuse in my pocket and take her with me everywhere I go.

  11. When given advanced notice to come up with some facts and lies about themselves, people can come up with some crazy stuff. Stuff that can even stump your best friends.

  12. If you tell a group of women to bring snacks, be prepared. You will be inundated with fudge, cookies, crackers, nuts, chips, dip and giant bags of chocolate candies. Do not think for a moment that you will eat the low carb snack bars and cheese sticks you packed.

  13. If you pack up all your makeup and cute clothes, load them into the back of the truck and resign yourself to sweats and a pony tail, everyone will decide it’s a good day to take pictures.

  14. Not even romantic suspense writers will not take the time from their scheming ways to examine the evidence in a murder party game. Not even when you flat out tell them to.

  15. It will take 2-3 good washings to get Dippity Do out of your hair. It takes even longer if you add fake blood.

  16. Apparently, it is not normal for someone to know all of the lyrics to "Ice, Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. Or at the very least, to still remember them after memorizing them in 6th grade. I think I frightened PC, although she should know better – she mentioned us going on those lyric game shows together for a reason. (As a follow on, if you bust out a funky Roger Rabbit dance move, people will stare.)

  17. Even in the sanctity of a beautiful and historical church, some writers will feel the need to plot a murder there.

  18. You can have top shelf tequila, a fierce dance cd playing, snacks, a karaoke machine, you name it – and some people will still sit around and talk business. (They will also give you dirty stares every time you start bellowing “We Are Family” and disrupt them.

  19. Some clocks are smart. So smart, they reset themselves for daylight savings time. Unfortunately, they aren’t smart enough to read the paper and know the government changed it to a week later. I almost missed breakfast.

  20. My RWA chapter has some of the coolest people ever. I "heart" you guys. :) (fans face, world peace, world peace!)
So...learned any life lessons lately? Share them!

(PS. The winner of last week's mystery blog prize is: Carol. Email me at to claim your giftie!)

(PS. The winner of Angel's blog post on Monday is crystalgb. Email her at to claim your prize!)


Problem Child said...

Number 1 is not entirely correct--

WE will always fill the available cargo space. The Playmobile is slightly smaller than the Suburban, so while it was packed, we had less luggage over all...

Rhonda Nelson said...

Sadly, sobriety and dancing don't go hand in hand with me. And since I have to choose my sugar wisely, we all know I'd rather have some of Instigator's peanut butter fudge than drink. :-) But ya'll were great. I was almost inspired to break out my MC Hammer move, but for the sake of all around me, abstained.

(And for the record, I don't know what other people were doing while ya'll were dancing, but me and Beverly weren't talking business. We were catching up. :-)

Smarty Pants said...

You should've asked, Rhonda - LJ and I had sugar free cocktails - diet 7 up with SF raspberry syrup and your choice of tequila or citrus vodka. Would've loved to see the MC Hammer move...

Rhonda Nelson said...

SP, I will remember that for next year. And I will do the move, but only for the Playfriends. After all, ya'll have seen me at my worst. :-)

Instigator said...

I heart you guys too! We have such an amazing and talented chapter.

It's a rare moment in my life when I get to drink, dance and sing. How come when those three things come together I always seem to be with the playfriends? :-)


Barbara Vey said...

I want to be an author so I can come next year. :) Maybe I could just blog about it...hmmmm.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time and for some reason my eyes kept going back to the fuzz reference. You don't want to know the visual I was getting.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Uh, Barbara, your visual might be closer than you think. ;)

Hey, it was a blast, y'all! And I was so comfy sitting on the floor the night of the dancing that I just never got around to the dancing part of the program (though I was drinking margaritas and sangria). I can't even remember what they were talking about where I was sitting! I think I was in my happy place. :)

Next time, however, I'll bust a move. Or two. So long as you promise not to take a picture. :)

I love the list, SP! The Death Stare is indeed terrifying. I wasn't aware it was an actual thing that existed pre-party or that it was to be avoided like the plague. Thank God this was a game! I'd hate the DS for real.

And amen to the men's suits! I have new sympathy. That dang jacket was HOT.

Maven LJ said...

There's no other place on earth I can feel totally comfortable with a sugar free cocktail in one hand and a big honkin' piece of fudge in the other. Life is good. :-)


Kathy said...

Loved watching the show, the singing, dancing, especially the Roger Rabbit move. I wanted to get up and dance really bad but the knee forbid it. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Oh my gosh, the chocolate fudge Kelley made was fabulous!! The margaritas too.

Those who weren't at the retreat missed SP dressed up in her fish net stockings, pouting like Betty Boop. (Which reminds me. Rhonda, hope the DH got to see those fishnets when you got home!) Maven Linda channels a great Don Wannabe and she and Lynn really seemed to enjoy the puff cigarettes. LOL. Cool look.

Yes, indeedie. Good times.