And much as I enjoy our online exchanges, what I really love is when I get to meet some of you in person. Granted my first blogger meetup was a bit of a wank-up, but I am really glad that I didn't let an encounter with a deranged person stop me from agreeing to meet more bloggers, because it's all been gravy since then.
2009 was a boffo year for meetups. My most bountiful year ever. Not to rub it in or anything, but I put ten notches on my blogger meetup belt this year. (disclaimer: although I technically have two belts - blogger and BLIP - for the purposes of this braggy post, my scores will be tallied on a single belt.)
My bloggies, let me show you them, in chronological fashion:
Allison - We've been close friends for a couple of years, we even staged a coup and quit a blog together, which was awesome fun and very empowering, but until February had never met in person. To have Al and her gentleman friend stay with me for a couple of days on their cross-country odyssey was a dream come true. To get together again in November, was aces.
Mel - Just as vivacious and bubbly in person as she is online. Since we had three trips to the west coast this year, this meant an unprecedented three Mel meetings. And there is no such thing as too much Mel. It sure would be nice if she still blogged, but I guess Facebook counts too.
668 the Neighbour of the Beast - I didn't even know we were going to have the chance to meet, until Mel managed to wrangle her into joining us for a massive meat feed at the barbeque restaurant that seems to have become one of our destinations in Vancouver. There is no bullshit about this lady and she's got a wicked sense of humour to boot.
Toccata - Not only did we bunk in at her place in Victoria, she even gave us her room. Her cat was a little freaked out by our presence, as was evidenced by the little clue she left on the living room floor, but other than that the hospitality was above and beyond. I wish she would start blogging again though.
Jen - We go back a long way in the blogosphere. Jen was the first blogger that I ever put on my blogroll and yet she has never even shown me her dill pickle ornaments. She makes up for that oversight with a delightfully filthy mouth though. And she picks good Japanese restaurants too.
Susan / Jeff - They are actually BLIP friends of mine, who are married to each other. They both have incredible taste in music and when we met briefly at the Calgary Folk Festival this summer, they absolutely enchanted me with their charm and cuteness. Since then we've been concerting with Susan and dined with both Jeff and Susan and their charming brood. I love when people live in the same city as me. You should all move here.
John - The whole Mutford clan, actually. And all the way from Yellowknife too. Quite possibly the cutest family who ever sat in our backyard and swapped lies with us. And discussed books, of course. Canada Reads really dropped the ball by not getting John on the panel, is all I am saying.
Sean - We quickly became close friends when we found we were constantly admiring each other's musical choices. Sean has demonstrated his generosity time and again, but when we were called out to London for a funeral this fall, he truly went beyond the call of duty, to the point where we no longer tied our own shoelaces without first phoning Sean to see if he wouldn't mind coming over to do it for us. And naturally, he didn't mind. To discover that his family is just as warm-hearted and hospitable as Sean was a bonus, especially since they appear to be a doppelganger of our family unit. Only nice.
Matthew - It's always great to meet someone whose musical tastes I admire, and to be able to attend a concert with them is the tops. A very thoughtful and open person, who also appreciates a good bowl of Irish stew.
That was my year measured in blogger meetups. There are far worse ways to measure the quality of a year, I think. I find it validating and life-affirming to know that very few bloggers (or BLIPpers) are ax-murderers in real life.
But if this keeps up, I am going to have to invest in a new blogger meetup belt. I would hate to turn down the chance to meet someone because there's no more room for notches.
So, tell me, do you have a blogger belt?