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Got back Monday afternoon from Balticon (where I assisted Neil Gaiman throughout the con) and I was really glad to be back to quiet and stillness and sleep and especially back to my Bill. I just wanted to take a minute now to give a shout out to everyone who was really nice to me and to Neil and helped make Balticon an enjoyable exausting three days, inasmuch as they could have given how tired and busy Neil and I were.

On the Balticon staff, I appreciated the efforts of Perrianne in the green room; the supportiveness of [livejournal.com profile] elaine_brennan even though we didn't run into each other much; the terrific Tech Crew in the Valley Ballroom, especially Joel Lord; the Ops fellows who helped with Neil's two autographing sessions- James Basinger, Mike, and Paul, if memory serves; Kristina, who I think was Lisa's guest liaison and was a delight to work with; a volunteer named Sue who drove Neil and Lisa and Peter to dinner Sunday despite the confusion. I really enjoyed meeting Gene and Rosemary's liaison Rebecca Bushong-Taylor and her daughter Jordan and husband Joe and hope to see them again sometime. I owe a special thanks to Joe for driving me to the airport on Monday. Thanks go to Neil's liaison, [livejournal.com profile] vandaluna, for bringing him Sushi on Friday, setting him up with a tea kettle and various snacks in his room, and getting him to and from the airport as well as taking other on-call sorts of requests and questions.

As for people who were not on staff but were a great help/delight, thank you to Jody and Paul from Minneapolis for taking Neil to get Food Saturday afternoon; to Grace Monk for helping me fetch Neil back from that lunch, for making sure *I* ate, for getting us to dinner Saturday and just generally for being good company; to [livejournal.com profile] jonsinger for transitory moments of delight for Neil and to him and and Lisa Peebles ([livejournal.com profile] lisajulie) for the lovely dinner company for me on Sunday; to my friend Jennifer Page ([livejournal.com profile] freitagkitty) for good hang-out downtime on Sunday and taking me to lunch (and to Bob Greenberger for taking Neil to lunch so I had that downtime); and especially to Seth Breidbart for helping from time to time in making sure things worked smoothly, for getting Neil some more pens, and to him and Sharon generally for being themselves, and around.

Huge thanks also to Art & Becky Henderson in the Dealer's room for loaning Neil a copy of Legends II so we could check it for corrections on the American Gods Novella that he wanted to re-apply in Fragile Things, which he was copyediting over the weekend.

Tom Schaad of Fast Forward TV was also very solicitous all weekend, and pleasant to work with, as was his crew. Hopefully Neil doesn't look so shattered and exausted on tape that Tom can't use the footage. I was really pleased to hang out with Lorraine a Malena and get to listen to Adam Stemple on guitar in the concert, and to meet Betsy. I also got to meet Kitty, who does the PA thing for Neil sometimes in L.A. and was running Lorraine and Malena's tour - I look forward to hanging out with her more if I get the chance again.

I was disappointed that I didn't spend more time with Gene and Rosemary Wolfe, who are two of my favorite people, but I enjoyed a nice conversation with Joe on the ride to the airport about what a romantic and loving couple they are. Peter S. Beagle was a true delight to meet. Soft-spoken and full of interesting stories, with a fondness for history that I share. I felt very lucky to get to talk with him a fair bit over the weekend, and I also felt lucky to go along as artist guest Lisa Snellings gave Neil a personal tour of her art show exhibit. Lisa dancing in a rat suite to start off her GoH presentation is something that will stay with me for a long time, and she was a pleasure to talk with also. I'd love to see her Kama Sutra Hands done huge on a wall, and the green brain with the reptile tail and the hands over its face is so cute somehow that I might have to get one...

Neil can never do everything he wants or that other people want him to at an event like this, especially since he had just flown 30 hours from Australia on Friday and was exausted with his internal clock all messed up by jet lag (as Neil describes it, he thinks the human soul only travels at 60 miles per hour, so during that period when you're out of it after traveling that far, that fast, you're just waiting for your soul to catch back up to you). In some ways I feel like he might have been luckier without me there to keep scheduling things for him to do and field requests, because he might have ended up doing fewer things... but really, I felt like I was able to be helpful if not always on the ball, and all the people mentioned above helped very much, as well as others I just haven't brought up - please don't be offended if you aren't mentioned by name. There were a lot of very nice people around, and it was a good weekend.

I wish Matt Fanny had made it, as I could have used his calm and helpfulness, and I wish I had been able to sleep later than 4 or 5 each morning. With those two things it would have been easier. Or also if I had simply rented a car. But in any case, I lived through it, Neil lived through it, and on the whole I'm glad I went.

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