Bucketlist — Dining with Diana – CHECK…holy snapping turtles…that’s a CHECK!

How? How does something like THAT happen to normal people?

*Blink* *Blink* We must be dreaming!

*Blink* *Blink*
We must be dreaming!

Ok…first. We perhaps aren’t normal.  However the perfect storm WAS brewing.

An event- When Worlds Collide Diana Gabaldon will attend said event. The ABOotlanders find out about said event and decide there is NO OTHER CHOICE. This is the perfect storm. The positive intent, good will, good people & love we have following us around – we knew this event was going to be one we would cherish no matter what.

stormwwc

I am sure you are curious as to how WE…the lowly AB-Ootlanders could have gotten Diana to dine with us.  I assure you there were no Diana’s hurt in the making of this experience.  No duct tape, or chloroform used, no draw of puppies/hedgehogs or Toger’s at the table (O.K. there was a Toger but we didn’t take that out til later) or trickery of any kind. However, I believe the story starts the night before. I think I will start there. This is called suspense.

Stories need that – or so I learned at this writers conference.

Did you seriously just groan?  Rude…that’s just rude.

You are such a kidder! Big kidder mckidderson!

You are such a kidder! Big kidder mckidderson!

These are random details of what happened at this years When World Collide event in Calgary. From how I remember it.  That mean’s artistic license or something to that effect *snort*.

 The ABOotlanders came out in droves. WHY? Because SHE, would be there. Diana.  With our crowd…she needs no last name.  Diana, not only would be here but she would be ALL over here. 

Our first opportunity to see her…maybe walk by her…or make eye contact with her and get a little Diana nod (Someone should make a Diana bobble head…it needs to be very lil, sweet and not wobbly but a stiff wobbler because she has the perfect way of acknowledging you without seeming dismissive like some, hers said “I know you are here & happy to see me” and THAT’S COOL.) was at the Fish Creek Library.  Event starting at 7:00 pm.  Kim & I decided we MUST get there early. 5:00 pm will be early enough right?  Maybe 4:30…there are SOOOO many people who love Diana…its going to be crazy.  Ok…we will go at 5:00. Fine!

Are we early? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Are we early? Huh? Huh? Huh?

We race up the elevator at mach speeds. I lie. SLOWEST. ELEVATOR. EVER. Maybe its super fast but seriously we felt like we were getting sucked into another dimension this thing was so slow. FINALLY the door open and there are a few people standing there. 2 ladies & a gentleman. Staring at us very questionably. “Oh…hello” the gentleman at Fish Creek Library says “Who are you with?” I realize because we are SO early, he thinks we are with one of the authors to help set up books to be sold. Ummmmmm a little embarrassing but Kim…her enthusiastic and wonderful self pipes up “THE ABOOTLANDERS!”  The 3 people stare at her blankly. “The…Ab-whowhat?” – “You’re a bookseller?” he says look down at Kim’s shirt, which is silkscreened with the words  ‘A. MALCOLM  BookSeller & Printer’ (Which btw – Diana told Kim she liked – cuz…well…it’s an awesome shirt)

“Oh no” Kim replies “I don’t sell books, I’m a fan!”  Realization dawns on their faces and they look at each others faces.  These are fans. Oh boy!peasant1

Yep! That’s us! Keeners!  Are arms are full!  We have gifts for Diana, we have a HUGE flat cardboard box which houses our Giant Jamie & Semi Giant Claire (poor girl came out smaller than we hoped).  They were very gracious and offered to let us store our goodies while we were banished to the downstairs library to wait…one WHOLE HOUR! UGH! Longest. Hour. Ever.  We were labeled as super fans…which I will wear happily as it’s kinda true.

6 pm rolls around and we ixnay the elevator and boogie up the stairs to claim our front row seats! We set up Giant Jamie & Semi-Giant Claire in the back of the library.  I really ought to bring a donation box for those who take photos with them. The ABOotlanders could make a mint! It was so great to make so many Outlander fans happy though. We ended up recruiting so many wonderful friends to our group that evening.  Diana came up on the elevator & I watched he make her way in the room…I am sure she has feet but she almost seems to glide…yeah…ok…shhh. I saw her catch a glimpse of Jamie & Claire and her face was one of “Oh…look isn’t that odd- those two just standing there like that.”  Make me giggle inside.No…I giggled out loud and babbled to everyone around me to as what I had just witnessed.

The Fish Creek Library did a great job of hosting the readings. We were gifted with readings by not only  Diana Gabaldon but Daniel Abraham (M.L.N. Hanover), David B. Coe (D.B. Jackson), CJ Carmichael, Faith Hunter (Gwen Hunter) and the amazingly witty and wonderful Brandon Mull.  Brandon won the hearts of all of the ABOotlanders, as well as Diana.

brandonmull diana

I bought his BEYONDERS series for my 16 yr old man child but I plan on reading it as well.  Seriously, this guy IS personality.  The other authors all have something wonderful to offer, don’t get me wrong.  David was another one of my favourites.  He truly is a wonderful human being with a contagion of spirit & I will be picking up his Thieftaker Chronicles very soon!

The readings were wonderful, Diana went last and she read from book 9. *sigh* I am not in a huge rush for this book to come out, even though I will be first in line when it does. I understand her standing in front of me for 4 days means there is no way she is going to be able to write…so…I take this.

She reads so beautifully, I get transported into her story…she says something about Jamie being naked and boom…you can hear the audible sigh of the room, its almost like the collective intake of breath pulls the walls of the library in around us…I sag in my seat. I don’t really mean to but her imagery is just too good. It’s really her own fault isn’t it? Yeah. That’s what I think too.  As she continues to read…the scene is intense, poignant and ends with a universal “oh” around the room. Leaving us wanting more…but that is the magic of Diana is it not?

There was a Q&A with the authors & then the signing.  Since there were only 200 people at this event, it didn’t take long and the ABOotlanders had a plan.  We planned to hang back.  Wait till the last to try and score a bit more time with her because we brought some very special gifts with us.  One of our admins, Cheryl came up with the brilliant idea to have a set of 5 whiskey glasses hand painted by the talented Nikki Galenza, who is our resident ABOotlander artist.

whisky

You can commision Nikki to do these for you.  They are themed to each of the first 5 books in the series and they are stunning!  We wanted to be able to show Diana & explain where we had them done.  Plus taking time to have our books & other bits of nostalgia signed by her. Sweet Kim also  gave her a box of Canadian chocolates, one in the box was whisky infused to go with our theme.  Diana loved the glasses & the chocolates, as per usual was extremely gracious.  I made sure they were packed up good and solid & mentioned I hoped she had room. She said she would make room.

Hanging out at the Library :)

Hanging out at the Library 🙂

We had such a fabulous time. Meeting so many new members for our group & having extra moments with Diana. We were leaving the library all together when I thought to myself “LIFE MADE” because I made her laugh. Lil ole me…might not seem like such a big deal but I do love to make people giggle and making Diana laugh was a special thing for me. We were all tromping down the stairs (Diana doesn’t tromp – no…she was gliding.heehee) and Kim mentioned she would like to hit the swimming pool at the hotel for a dip. In which I had to remind her I forgot my swimsuit so “Ummmm yeah Kim, I’d have to go naked and girlfrien’ ain’t NO ONE wanna see THAT!” in which Diana looked over her should with a laugh. In that moment my heart skipped a beat and yes…I thought “Life made.” However…Friday hadn’t happened yet…That was premature speculation.

See what she did there?

See what she did there?

I am heading straight for the BIG MOMENT on Friday. Of course we would like to think Diana knows who the ABOotlanders are 🙂 She has shared our Blog in the past, she tweets with us

tweet

I don’t make this up…

We aren’t delusional we know we aren’t the only ones, however, we still love our happy lil bubble!

Friday afternoon, a group of the ABOotlanders decide to head to the pub that is attached to the hotel to get a bite to eat & talk about all the awesomeness we have experienced so far.  We are talking about Diana’s readings…when Sam (our Sam…not THE Sam…well she is our THE Sam..not the HE THE Sam…ugh..

I want me to shut up now

I want me to shut up now

you understand right?) whispers to us “Diana just walked in…she’s alone.”  Huh? What? Now? Here? What? Then Sam looks at me and says “SherryLynn you are the only one with balls big enough to go and talk to her!”  I puff up a bit at the compliment but in my head I am thinking “NO I’m not…I left my balls under the sink at home…and that’s 3 hours away!”  However, I squared my shoulders, got up from the table & filled with 9 other women who are relying on me and follow Diana around the pub. “Hello Diana”  “Oh, Hello

Are you here alone (DUH of course she is here alone you bonehead…there is NO ONE with her..save yourself!) or are you expecting someone to join you (good save idjit!)?  “No no, I’m here alone.”  “I’m here with a few (ok…maybe not a few – more like 9 but who’s counting…hell…I can barely form a thought…math can’t happen) friends and we’d  be honoured if you would join us for a bite & a drink if you have the time.”  “That would be lovely if you wouldn’t mind.”  (Wouldn’t mind…wouldn’t mind….oh my gosh…I am doing everything in my power to keep from grasping your hand and running up those 3 little steps to the table with you and yelling “LOOK WHO I BROUGHT FOR DINNER!“) But I don’t…I take a deep breathe and say “Mind? Diana…I can’t tell you what a thrill it would be!” or something like that…I am sure I gushed but I don’t think I got any on her.

We walk up the tiny steps to the table and the looks on the ladies faces were priceless. They looked like little children seeing Santa on Christmas morning, and Diana graciously smiled to them and THANKED US for letting HER join US. I mean come on…Best Moment.  I think I said something to this effect and she made a comment along the lines of her hoping my life was more exciting than that. *snicker* I quite like that about her too. She is “just Diana”. I admire that. But to me…well you all know.  Serious lady admiration right there!

woman-crush-wednesday-shailene-woodley

The pub was understaffed…oh darn. That gave us lots of time to chat. I certainly didn’t want to sound like I was interviewing her but I had SO many questions to ask. So many things I had always wondered. This was the only opportunity I would ever get. She was sitting right beside me. I could touch her.  I tried not to…I think I did once…just to make sure she was real. She was.

I have always suspected & I truly don’t think anyone would be surprised by this however it is something I always wanted to know from her. If she was an introvert.  That is a 100% yes.  Of course introverts aren’t always what people believe but Diana is one & I respect her greatly for how she carries herself, especially in crowds & with people (like us) vying for her attention.

Second up – I have always watched videos of interviews, read about Diana, & viewed media clips of her (not because I am a creepy freaky stalker…AM NOT!) but because of my draw to her personality.  It started for her writing, but her demeanor, introverted nature, say it like it isness, direct style & analytical mind intrigues me.

Way before Outlander became a TV series, her answers to questions or outlook has simply fascinated me. Where I have heard others complain the same answers come again and again…I admire that.  It means she is nothing else but 100% authentic. Same question? Same answer. Why in heavens SHOULD it change? To entertain the masses? Hell no. If we want a different answer then someone ought to ask another question right?  ANYWAY…when you have listened to her speak for a good long time, you tend to get an idea of how this lady thinks. What her opinions might be on different subjects.  So I find myself…while reading certain parts of her books my mind drifting out of the characters I am reading. Such as when Lawrence Stern & Claire are having such conversations about Faith vs Science. Or Claire is struggling with the idea of tying the tubes of a slave being impregnated by her master…my mind drifts from the voice of the character to the voice of Diana and I feel I am listening to her. Her opinions, her voice and her commentary. I wanted desperately to know if I was crazy or if it was a way she was simply slipping “a random” social commentary into the dialogue.

It turns out I am not crazy at all and Diana is IN her books. Not just in her main characters but in her stories, scattered throughout.  I love her & her books all the more to hear that sweet detail.

Since I read the books to my husband with our BedTimeStories, I used this to bring up the topic of relationships.  Her relationship with Doug is admirable. We spoke about how she usually travels on her own but she made sure to take him when she visited the set – knowing he would in fact have a delightful time before he did.  That’s the thing about many relationships, we know. It was lovely to see her face light up as she spoke of him having fun with the crew of the show.

Ain't LOVE Grand?

Ain’t LOVE Grand?

Diana is writing episode 2-11 & will be traveling to Scotland again when they film it.  It is definitely a different process but one you can tell has challenged her in a good way. It certainly seems she had fun with it. I tried to dig more out of her but she won’t budge & may I say it? I respect the hell out of her for it.

She speaks highly of Sam Heughan…interestingly enough, we spoke of him when we spoke of introverts. I said I had an inkling he shared that same trait with her. She said she thought so too however being an actor he certainly knew how to deal with the public and was a very secure & good natured young man.  As we can plainly see in the way she corresponds with him in the public eye on social media, she likes the guy.  Letting us know he has a generous & kind guy.  It is of course one thing to see this kind of thing in play online…it is quite another to hear it spoken.

You know, having a meal with Diana wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be. I do NOT remember what I ate. No idea. I am drawing a total blank.  I do know I didn’t have the calamari. *snort*

Yeah Sam...how could YOU?

Yeah Samantha…how could YOU?*snicker*

Conversation was natural with the all the ladies, talking about places to visit. Characters, the books & most of the time “I can’t believe this is happening.” was floating around in my brain. Eventually it turned to “I am so grateful this is happening.”

The ABOotlanders always come prepared. (In fact we were planning on giving this to Diana the next night but Bobbi Jo is awesome and HAPPENED to have it with her and when opportunity knocks – we answer that damn door)

Ok...we answer no matter WHO is at the door.

Ok…we answer no matter WHO is at the door. We are a trusting bunch.

We like to get those we admire shirts with our mascot on them. Toger.  He’s an adorable beaver. Now…we thought Diana might like a cowl neck, 3/4 cut sleeve, beautiful blue shirt instead of a T-shirt, so AB-Ootlander Bobbi Jo had one made. She had Toger put on Diana’s shirt- on her shoulder…I mean how PERFECT !  Who doesn’t imagine looking over her shoulder while she writes? Maybe Diana will wear this shirt one day while writing & wee Toger will have that gift. I was honoured to present her with the shirt, explaining to her Toger & how he came to be.  Telling her how Graham McTavishes reacted to his shirt at Calgary Expo.  It was entertaining…and she was, once again…gracious & lovely.

Togershirtpre

Eventually, Diana finished her meal & it was time to leave – getting her wallet out I assured her that wasn’t necessary. I wanted to take care of that. I couldn’t fathom having shared a meal with her & having her pay for it. THAT just wouldn’t be right on any level. Plus, I am pretty sure simply for the fact I talked  and watched her the whole time…I owed it to her.

Here take it...take it all...I owe you so much more than lunch!

Here take it…take it all…I owe you so much more than lunch!

We had 2 more days of Diana readings, visits & banquets. I also asked her permission to talk about our “date” here – which I received.

The ABOotlanders who attended pose with Diana at the Western Themed Banquet

The ABOotlanders pose with Diana at the Western Themed Banquet

Our Giant Jamie & Semi Giant Claire - Hmmmm- Petite Claire...Hanging out with their favourite person!

Our Giant Jamie & Semi Giant Claire – Hmmmm- Petite Claire…Hanging out with their favourite person!

Gracious…you would think that would be the one word I would use to describe this woman if I had to.  I have thought about that a lot this week…what word would I use?

I have chosen one. Dynamism.  It means a great energy, force, or power.  That’s what Diana has. A great energy. A force that draws you in.  New word!  Dianamism. There you go.

force

 I can’t hold off sharing this with you any longer! Naughtlander has taken a lot out of us but this was the restorative we needed…granted…whisky or your bevvie of choice will help, as per, it is always the best cure for Droughtlander!

droughtlander

Click to see the 1st of our blogs Diana shared on her FB page

KINDNESS & LOTS OF LOVE coming your way!

                               SherryLynn- ABOotlander in Chief

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13 thoughts on “Bucketlist — Dining with Diana – CHECK…holy snapping turtles…that’s a CHECK!

  1. Reblogged this on Shawn L. Bird and commented:
    I was there (exc for lunch)! 🙂 (You may find me “Hanging out at the Library” if you look). How lovely to meet these whacky ladies and spend time with them this weekend. Diana is right about her fans when she says they’re delightful, intelligent people! 🙂

    Like

  2. Wow that was such a great blog entry! You gals were really lucky, but I think so was Diana 🙂 Sounds like you all had a super time together; wish I was amongst you that evening.

    Like

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