I've been in Reno for 6 days, and I'm finally on my way home. The mountains were beautiful, though I only saw them from afar, and they were hazily hidden too often by the smoke from the California wildfires. What an amazing sight, seeing mountains and then seeing them disappear.
The hotel was meh. I found the cheapest eats, and I'm leaving with a full belly but an empty pocketbook, unsure how much work will actually pay for. I did save my receipts.
I did 5 full days of conference and a 90 minute workshop this morning. The first 2 days of workshop were a pre-conference institute on electronic text for students with disabilities. The possibilities are awe-inspiring. My ideas were plentiful, but my mind was spinning by the end of Day 2. On the third day, everyone else arrived for the start of the actual conference--Association on Higher Ed and Disability. No workshop comes to mind as a dud, some come to mind as awesome. That's about the most you can ask for of a conference.
I didn't make any real, meaningful connections till Wednesday, when I had both lunch and dinner with other folks who work at "independent colleges and universities"--a special interest groups for us folks working at small colleges. Good people. I met some of them last year, and I had a nice time with them.
I kept my eyes peeled on the message board for notice of the Big Gay Outing. I didn't go last year because I was picking up my copy of Deathly Hallows instead. The notice finally went up on Thursday, the same day as a focus group on the organization's diversity initiative, where I spoke my mind about the lack of gay in our talk of diversity. After that, I met K, who was one of the two organizers of the upcoming gathering. We spent the rest of the night chatting. Friday, he introduced me to J, the other organizer, and after a well-attended, supported, and positive meeting of queer professionals at the conference, K, J, and I had delicious Thai food. We headed out to a gay bar in the hills, which turned out to be a country-western dyke bar. We danced our hearts out (J joining in the line-dancing) to "Let's Get Loud," which was fun. We abandoned the alternate-universe that was Reflections (the name of the bar) and headed back to the hotel/casino, where we stayed up laughing later into the night than I'd expected. We parted with hugs, a sure sign we made friends at this year's conference (both of them first-timers and me there for my second). I'm already looking forward to seeing them at next year's conference.
As for now, I'm most looking forward to just going home. I miss my bed, my cats, my girl, my city (not necessarily in that order). In ten minutes, I board the plane to San Fransisco, where I'll connect to O'Hare. Chicago's on my horizon, and all-in-all, I've had a good time in Reno.