2nd Annual Dotti's Weight Loss Zone Conference
Conference Memories - Page 2
St. Louis, MO - April 19th-21st, 2002

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Kristen (meqtpie)

Ok, Ok..... maybe more than one!!

I think this is memorable....

My seeing Tracylynn at the airport, I knew that pretty lady with the georgeous redhair was her!! I am not the shy one, for those of you who do not know me! I walked up to her, mentioned I believe... "What hotel are you staying at?" She answered the same as mine, I think I was up in the air 5 feet!

Then came the hotel lobby, when I spotted Flo. OMG!!!
I picked her up, ( by the way, she is as tiny as a minute)!!!
After that event, I had to go change clothes.......think hard everyone, not hard to figure out why..... !!!!

Then.................meeting Dotti, we were like 2 kids at some great event, this event, was great, it was meeting the woman who is our dear heart and my sister, yea, I too have adopted her as family.........TEARS!! I still keep thinking about us hugging, will touch me forever. We during this weekend gang, used the table cloth as a kleenex, remember??? Dotti gave us the means to talk and find one another, a gift we all cherish. The site is like a journal, her way of giving us the tips that make our lives so much easier, what on earth would we do with out our family member Dottie, and her loving husband Al.

And our loving Becca who we all fell in love with, and her darling hubby. She is the inspiration of us all, along with 89 other wonderful stories that we all shared with each other.

Every one of the hugs I collected from you all, make up who I am. I think I am a close 2nd for Becca's wardrobe change, thingie. In one day, I changed my clothes 3 times......!! Gotta love us. Hey, we all have spent so many years wearing things we did not like that when we find things we do love, gotta wear em!!

PS... Gotta laugh at this...Wendi did!!

On the flight home, the flight attendent, had a white garbage sack asking for things to throw away, mentioned that where the magazines and headphones go is not a garbage can.... I was at the time , eating a "apple cinnamon quakes rice cake"...and had half a bag left, which was 3 points left. I said, I am not givnng up my last 3 points to the garbage can........ she looked, smiled, as I mentioned being on WW. she turned around to the isle and said...." Look out gang...WW member in isle 15" .......!!!!

"Keep a smile on your face, and love in
your heart, and you will have a better day!"

Jackie (HillCountryGal)

Made it back home LATE Monday night. Literally...the first thing I did was turn this computer on to check on my DWLZ Family! The van still isn't unpacked. I do have my priorities

Apologies for not saying good-bye Tracy. I'm not good at those things...get all weepy and such. HA, like we all didn't spill a few tears these past few days. Besides, I feel like we will all see each other soon.

Some of the things I enjoyed:
The L&Mer's before pictures and style show. Inspiration at it's finest.
Appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the "panel" and share my experiences of this journey.
Seeing everyone from last years reunion and meeting new friends.
Just being able to sit back and watch everyone visit; hug; smile and share their hearts. There was enough positive energy in that building to power it for a year!!!

On our drive home, I asked Rick what was his favorite part of the DWLZ Family Reunion. He said it wasn't ONE thing, it was the WHOLE thing!

What amazes me is the unconditional love and support within this family. Al & Dotti have created a safe place for us all and "thank you" just doesn't seem adequate.

I loved getting to finally meet those I had been "talking" to for a year or more. Truly this is the most beautiful group of people you will ever get to know. Interesting that we share matters of the heart and maybe don't even know where some of us work! Wish we could have brought y'all home with us, so the party could continue The muscles in my face have almost quit hurting from all the smiles and laughing. There's got to be some activity points there!!!

Thanks for the memories.
Looking forward to the next reunion.
You are loved!!

Shelly (shelly31)

Gosh, where do you start??

First off, the trip to conference, traveling with one of my best pals Susan was a hoot, I dearly love her and don't know how I would go on with out her in my life.

Getting my first of many hugs at the conference from Flo, she saw me and pointed at me with her mouth open and came running with a hug, from that point on I knew I was with family. Walking into a situation where everyone is basically a stranger can be a bit scary, I didn't know what to expect, but as soon as Flo embraced me, I told myself,this is going to be one Kick Ass Weekend!

Next was the mug exchange, I just happend to set at the table with on of my fellow US posters Emily, and lo and behold I also had her mug, that will provide me a link to her in 2 ways now and I am so glad it worked out that way! Love ya Em!

The runway show, what fun, I can't believe I was so nervous, but that soon passed, of course I did turn the wrong way and not walk past the rest of you, but just to walk in was a big deal for me.

The before and after pictures floating around was also such and inspiration!

Barb, All I can say is "I want to be like you when I grow up"!! I watched you all weekend and you really touched a special place in my heart! Sometimes you meet someone and from the first time you see them, you know they are a very special person, and that is how I felt when I saw you for the first time. Love Ya!

Dotti, There are no words that can even come close to how I feel about you. You are the Greatest! (you too Al!)

DonnaJ- You are a Hoot! and you make a great Hoochie Mama!! I am so glad I got to meet you!

Elliebear, I am so glad I got the meet you. You are just one of the happiest and sweetest people I know. Let me know when you run out of cats!

To everyone else, I will hold this weekend in my heart for many, many years and just hope that I will be able to attend next year. as long as I can drive there I will be fine!

The trip home, I can't even put into words. Susan and I talked the entire way home, well I talked I guess I should say, the weekend was really a life changing weekend for me. It made me think about my life and where I have been and where I want to be. I want to help people, but I have such low self confidence in myself and we really discussed things that are going on in my life that I need to deal with and I started making some of the changes first thing Monday morning.

I am starting to get weepy just typing this, so I am going to have to stop and come back and add to it later.

~Love you all~
Shelly31 ~~The body is a sacred garment. It's your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor!~~ 223/174/157.8

Becca (BeccaBell)

Alistair has missed his true vocation - as a tour guide! We kept joking that he should have had a yellow flag and made us all hold hands and walk in a crocodile formation behind him.

Ellie, thanks for not farting in the space capsule! Sorry we made you red in the face with our aiport sprint! Glad you got a decent photo of us EVENTUALLY!!!!!

It was good to meet those without pics already on the boards, so I could finally have a visual image to put with their names (like Linguini and Mya); and also great to meet those who do have pics but don't look anything like them anymore (like Bernadette!)

My favorite song was D.W.L.Z. sung to the tune of Surfing USA. It's a keeper, Al! Thanks for sharing your musical talent with all of us.

Danielle, I have never been described as a leggy, elegant brunette before - I will love you forever just for that comment!

In the words of Arnie...I'LL BE BACK next year! Just you try and stop me!!!

Bye for now
Rebecca <(((><
234.5/138.8/144 - more than 95 lbs gone for ever!!! Made goal 4/16/01 and Lifetime 6/4/01

Anne (AuntaAnne)

I'm sitting here all teary eyed thinking of all my special moments:
Dotti just kept on kissing me and hugging me.
Getting a big bear hug from Al.
The amazement that everyone knew me.
Flo telling me she was thrilled to meet me-- I am so thrilled to meet her.
All the stories.

I'm pasting my journal here that I put on the 50's forum. This was the best time I have had in a long, long while. Thanks everyone.

Marilyn got into the Martinez Amtrak station right on time to begin our weekend trek to St. Louis to meet all of our Zonie friends. We drove straight home and had some very good Taco Soup and berries for dessert. After we watched Survivor I came up to get packed. We slept a bit fitfully in anticipation of the trip and meeting everyone.

4/19/2002 - We awoke very early on Friday morning. It was 4 AM and still quite dark outside. Steve drove us to catch the bus that took us to San Francisco Airport. Everything from there to St. Louis went smoothly. We arrived at our hotel and room about 5:30 PM and called Gin right away. She soon returned my call and we were on our way to dinner by 6:30. Marilyn and I got to the elevator and when it opened who is standing there but Jeanette and Asher and Mare. What a surprise. We were just a yelling and screaming. Could you hear us in your little corners of the world? We made our way downstairs to the room where dinner was being held. Gin was there and so much more hugs and kisses. She is much thinner than when I was with her in November and looks terrific. Everyone does by the way.
We met Barb (librarylady) and she had us place our gift mug at a table with the instructions that we are not to sit at that space. We also had a table with lots of fun things that were brought by zonies from all over the country. When I got to my table I looked up and there was Al getting ready to sing. I ran over to him and he gave me one big bear hug. That man looks super. He’s very tall and thin. No sign of Dotti yet though. I am nervous with anticipation. Soon we are told to take our seats and I spot Dot across the room. She looks just like her picture and is every bit as sweet as you would think. A kindness exudes from her. She never stopped smiling and neither did Al. He sang the song from last year “Look at Dot Now”. She appeared to be embarrassed, but I’m sure it was the words because Al sings very good. Dinner was served buffet style and was very good. We had salad and fixings, non-fat dressing, carrots, green beans, potatoes, chicken with a chutney and roast beef. For dessert there were sugar free pie, carrot cake cut in small pieces and fresh fruit.
After dinner we had a mug exchange and met each other. The way it worked was one person opened the gift with the mug and read the motivational saying. They told us who brought it and then that person opened theirs. We went around the room until we all got up and it was a good way to meet everyone there. My mug was from Sharon (harmony). It’s very pretty with roses in a maze and a nice saying inside. I also got Craisins and some cranberry tea and soap. Her husband works for the Craisin company. I got lucky because I love them. I will let everyone else tell about their mugs. It was raining very hard and Bernadette had not arrived as yet. Gin was very worried about her. We didn’t find out until the next day that her plane didn’t leave NY until 7:30 PM because of bad weather. We were releived to know she was fine. We played a DWLZ trivia game with Tracylynn asking the questions. Even with cheating we couldn’t get too many right. Flo (WebbMom) got the most 23 out of 25. With all of her posts she should have. She said she doesn’t have a life outside of DWLZ. We all went to bed with dreams of the next day.

4/20/2002 - The Zonies were to meet in the lobby to walk to Starbuck’s coffee. The only ones that showed up were Mare, Marilyn and me. We ran into Karen M, but she didn’t have the right shoes on to walk. We waited around and then went on out. We bumped into Evie (BocaEvie) and she joined us for a cup of coffee and then we walked back in the rain to the hotel. Okay, I forgot (CRS) to call Jeanette and she was waiting for my call. Sorry Jen. Went up to get showered and dressed and get to breakfast by 8 AM. Breakfast was very good and totally OP. All of these meals were the best worked out by the catering staff. We sat with some people we didn’t know. Kathy (baggybritches) and her DH, Betty (BettyBoop2u) and her DH. Of course, the 50’s sisters couldn’t not sit with each other. We let Gin off the hook so she could sit with the 100 Plus gals. Al sang a new song he wrote for this year called D. W. L. Z. Listen to it on the link. It’s great. We had a raffle with some neat prizes. The printer was won by Sue and a handmade quilt by Robin. Next we had a very inspiring talk by Flo. She wore the shirt she used to wear before her weight loss and a pair of size 14 jeans she was thrilled to get into. She stripped those off to reveal her weigh in outfit and her lucky socks. They are very colorful. We played a human crossword game with Robin and that was very cut throat. If you made the word first you got a prize. The trick was that more than one person had the letter. After break Al spoke to us about his journey to goal and his approach. He has kept an excellent journal and I encourage you all to read it. Dotti recognized the goals we had set for ourselves before conference. We had our newest zonie get to goal just four days before. That was SwtMary and she really fits that name. I got a prize from the table for making it to wonderland. We had another DWLZ trivia game. This was a bit easier than last nights but still no prizes for the 50’s. Lunch was served and we were off for some sightseeing. We took the Metro downtown to the Arch. It was a fun trip for us and we took lots of photos. We were unable to go to the top because we were out of time and had to get back for the evening. We all wanted to get dressed up a bit for dinner. Dinner was in a different room with tables set with candles. It was very beautiful. We had a pasta buffet. This night was very special as everyone brought pictures to share. That was a lot of fun. We sat with Danielle (VivaLasVegas) and two new gals who I will have to look up on the Yearbook. Another Senior moment. After dinner we sang our song with the 100 Plus forum and wore our necklaces of paperclips representing the number of pounds lost. There were some very long chains there. After that we had the Lifetimers runway show. There were before pics up and then we guessed who it was and they paraded in with short skirts and boots. It was a hoot and such a change. You have to see those pics to believe they are the same person. Next Al took the Yearbook photos and then we had an hour long question and answer session with folks all in different places on the journey. The meeting was adjourned but we went to Mare’s room to open our gifts and talked till 12:30 AM

4/22/2002 - Sunday came too quickly. We awoke after a short night but with a sense of doom at having to say goodbye so soon. All of us 50’s sat together again. We never seem to tire of one another. After breakfast Becca Bell sang a wonderful song to us accompanied by Al. Be sure to listen to her lovely voice. Dotti spoke to us about her journey and why she started the Webpage. We are still amazed by her energy. I don’t think she gets much sleep. It now costs her $350.00 per month to have the Web pages so please help her by becoming a supporter. She told us we are her family as she only has Al and LeRoy. There were a lot of tissues being passed around by then. Next, we had Dotti and Al play the Newlywed game. That was fun and it sort of came out as a tie. Joan then gave them some gifts—thongs, sun screen and a beach bag each. When they opened the bags it was full of money that was collected so they could go on a vacation to the beach. They were very surprised and pleased. Al took group photos of all of the forums represented. When it came time for the Men’s forum there was Al surrounded by women. We are thinking of renaming it Al’s harem. It was getting time for us to leave for the airport but the Lifetimers wanted to sing us a song first. That was written by Barb and another inspiration for us to continue our journey and get to goal. We said our tearful goodbye and went to catch the bus to the airport. Mare waited with us and we were off. It was by far the best way anyone could spend a weekend. I am indeed looking forward to the next DWLZ Conference 3.

Behave your way to success - Phil McGraw

Lauren (Twitchly)

Just meeting everyone and finally putting a "real person" behind the posts made all the difference. I marvel at what Dotti and Al have created (and I'll bet they do, too). What an amazing force for change DWLZ is!

A few snapshot memories ...

-- Singing "I'll have thin thighs!" at the top of my lungs in front of a roomful of people without the benefit of alcohol! And Brenda's underwear! What a fantastic bunch of people the 100+ers are.

-- Meeting Emily and Shelly from Unhurried Success and taking home beautiful clothes from Emily. And then when it came time for us to have our picture taken together, Dotti and Al had to keep putting it off to take someone else's picture. We didn't mind, because we're UNHURRIED, of course.

-- Donna asking me how old I was, and when I told her, watching her jaw drop -- and then her telling me "If I'd known you were that old, I'd never have asked you!" She thought I was 28. God bless you, Donna. You made my day.

-- Flo waving me over in the bathroom to show me the label on her size 1/2 skirt. Flo, you are such an inspiration and a true lady. I think you should find a way to wear that label on the outisde!

-- The Q&A session on Saturday night, where Zonies shared some fantastic ideas -- I wish someone had taped it all. Did anyone write those ideas down? The only one I can remember was the Zonie who said she had named her disposal and her kitchen wastebasket Jim and Jack, and how she'd be sure to save some portion of her meals to "feed" them. Love that image!

-- Finding out Al can maintain on more than 60 points a day, and Linguini on 39 points.

-- All the incredible work that Dotti, Al, Tracy, Barb, and everyone else put into the conference. I'd like to see a list of each of your names, so you get the recognition you deserve. I was SO impressed!

-- Watching all the smiles, the hugs, the faces.

-- Being able to sit down next to anyone and feel welcomed.

-- Listening to the heartfelt statements from Zonies on Saturday night. Kelly and Tracy particularly touched me. The people who are doing great, losing great guns, we all admire them (and rightly so). But the people who came to this conference feeling like hypocrites, the ones who were struggling BUT CAME ANYWAY -- these are the ones who *really* look like heroes to me. I can't express what that kind of bravery does for me. I was so inspired by you.

-- Seeing the before and after pictures of the Lifetimers crowd -- how inspirational was that?? Wow!

Too many other memories to relate. You are all such dear people and a constant source of inspiration to me. Thank you!

Onward and downward,

274/189.5/174 by Labor Day
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Bernadette (BMWgardenergal)

I arrived very late on Friday night (after flight delays and thunderstorms in both NY and St Louis), so I missed all the Friday evening activities. However, as soon as I walked into the hotel I spotted Tracylynn, and then my poor roomie Gin505, who was waiting anxiously for me in the lobby... I felt bad that they were all worried because of the delays and bad weather (the worst I got from it all was a rather queasy stomach as we landed in St Louis). Funny, even though I was late and tired, I quickly got a "second wind" as soon as I was in the hotel and started bumping into familiar faces from the boards! The overwhelming feeling I came away with from the conference is that everyone was even nicer and friendlier than I had imagined, and it was truly like reuniting with old friends or relatives, not meeting people face-to-face for the first time. Gin and I were up chatting for a good hour after we turned in, too, just like good roomies should!

It was especially fun meeting the people who don’t have pictures on their DWLZ posts, as well as a whole group of lurkers (there was a surprising number who came), because it was such fun to see what everyone looked like and finally put faces with the familiar names. (By the way, because of the great lurker turnout, I think it was Al or Dotti who first suggested that we really need a Lurker Forum… and that it would be very easy to moderate, too – because there would be NO POSTS! )

Saturday afternoon we had free time, but the weather was rainy and overcast… I chose to go to the nearby Galleria Mall with a group of 17 Zonies (the hotel provided a shuttle for us at a very reasonable $3 per person round trip). Brenda (BZrenew)and I mostly walked and talked… We found that the majority of the stores were the same ones as those back home in NY and CA, and we didn’t feel there was anything we really needed to get at the time. Kelly (aurora22) found some great bargains in Dillard’s, and got some really nice clothes at great prices. One confession, Brenda and I did split a yummy espresso brownie at Starbucks! We also considered buying hair dye (like bright green or red) to spike our hair for our 100 Plus performance, but we chickened out ( I was afraid it might not really wash out in one shampoo!)

I don’t know which was more fun, practicing our 100 Plus song as a group before dinner, or the actual performance itself, but I WILL say we were asked for an immediate encore performance – everyone loved it! All the performers wore colorful paperclip chains around their necks, one clip for each pound lost. John’s was so long, it was dragging all over the floor, so he was swinging it in the air while we sang. Lauren (Twitchly) was our song leader, getting us all in step and on cue. A BIG thanks goes to Lamerat for giving us the terrific lyrics, even though she didn’t go to the conference. Another BIG thanks, too, goes to Colleen (SRQ Flygirl) and her husband Gary, for the computer sound system that provided the music, and Gary’s excellent DJ abilities!

I only wish that there had been more time, as there were so many people I did not get a chance to speak to for very long between activities, and some I barely even had the chance to say hello to... It just made me determined to go again next year, and maybe add on a day as some of the other attendees did (arriving on Thursday and/or staying until Monday). It's an experience I won't ever forget!

Wishing you continued success...

My Webpage
July 4th Challenge: Start Weight: 174.4; down 4 pounds

Kate (NebrKate)

I have so many wonderful memories that like many of us, I don't know how to pick. I'll try.

I arrived on Thursday, late afternoon, carrying my SISTERFACE sign through the airport, headed to the luggage pickup to meet Anny. I told her she'd know me when she saw me and she did!

We walked into the hotel to an improptu welcoming committee. Anny and I abandoned our luggage right in the doorway! What a rush to finally meet friends you already had!

Heading to Harrah's with Deva (Miss Moneybags) on Thursday night. The cab driver won't forget The Smith Sisters.

Late nights with friends. Laughing until we cried.

Meeting Dotti and Al.

Meeting and talking to people who inspire me daily.

Seeing and hearing the support of loving spouses and SO's.

Jackie and Rick offering to drive me home from St. Louis. You can't imagine what that meant to me.

Friday, Fleesh, Deva, Anny and I headed to the grocery store for Anny's Skinny Cow breakfast. Like a true Zonie, Anny ate her first Skinny Cow in the parking lot! What a memory!

One of my favorite parts was the clothing exchange. To see the generousity of fellow Zonies to each other touched me. What a great thing to do.

The Runway Show. Amazing.

Hearing everyone's story and seeing the 'befores', the 'afters' and the 'on my ways'. Every single person there was an inspiration!

The weekend couldn't have gotten any better. There were flashbulbs going off all the time. Chatter was constant with the exchange of information in the form of point counts and favorite food finds all sprinkled with lots of laughter.

This weekend was more than I ever imagined it would be. The love and caring of fellow Zonies was unbelievable.

This web community is a unique and amazing group of people, who all share something very personal. Every person there touched me in some way, whether I got to speak to them personally or not.

It never ceases to amaze me, how life can throw us all together and we end up connecting with the people we're supposed to connect with.

Remember: WE ARE WORTH IT!
"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise."
- Robert Fritz

Danielle (HarleyDG)

Where to begin???

- Having the best roomie KarenM -- could it be because we're both Virgos? Behave!
- Susan for 'giving me and Karen the finger' (not what you think ) when Karen misbehaved.
- Playing beauty shop with Jackie!
- Meeting Fireball and Brenda and Mya and Lauren!
- Donna and the entertainment she provided on our riverboat cruise! 'Eh???
- Hugs from Flo and Don's never ending grin -- and YES, I am going to get a new pic!
- Seeing Marianne again
- Meeting Wendy and seeing her smiling face
- Meeting the other Brenda (bzrenew)
- Karen's cartwheels!
- Meeting Dotti & Al
- Meeting the DWLZ 'Staff'
- Becca and Alistar (thanks for being our tour guide!)
- Kathy & Rick (I 'see' you've come out of lurkdom!)
- The other Rick's women!
- Walking out of the airport on Friday, running into, seeing the smiles on Ellie, Mare, & Nanner's faces!
- Wanting to win Joan's quilt
- Kristen....you're just too sweet! Same goes for the other Danielle!!
- Deborah (Linguini) and her wonderful encouragement and words of wisdom.
- Meeting SwtMary and Emily, DiverLori, Tareesa & Vaneesa, and everybody else I haven't mentioned!
- And last, but certainly not least, THE LURKERS!! Where are you???

Thanks to the 'staff' who did an excellent job and for all your hard work! I truly appreciate it, and have come away from this conference with a renewed enthusiasm. DH and I already talked about me being at goal before next year's conference! I certainly have been pushed in the right direction.....thanks to all of you! {{{HUGS}}}

In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest! --Henry Miller


Well, this is from a lurker who went to St. Louis. And I took my husband. I've gotta' tell you, we both enjoyed ourselves tremendously and Dotti is just as nice as I had pictured her to be, and as genuinely caring. We met some really neat people - and I came home sooo motivated, which was why I went. Thanks to you, too, Al, you motivated my husband also. He was supportive before, but now he has a better understanding of what I'm trying to do. I appreciate all you guys.

Melinda (demomo)

There are so many great memories, and an overwhelming feeling of welcoming, and acceptance. That's something that just can't be faked!

But my best memory is going to have to be of me and Kelly (Aurora) running out into the rain and lightning, just because we were dared by a member of the waitstaff! Of course, his dare came in the form of "I wouldn't go out there, it looks very dangerous." But it was close enough for us! It was great to know that there is someone else as crazy as me in this world!

- Melinda.
The shortest distance between two points isn't necessarily a straight line!

Dawn (shyann0902)

I would be the shy one and one of the lurkers at the conference.

The discussion panel was very informative - on the way home to Cincinnati my sister and I stopped at Friday's to have dinner. We asked the server if he would just bring out one potato skin for each of us even if we had to pay for the half order just as long as the other four potato skins did not reach our table. The waiter was very kind and managed to charge us only 99 cents for each potato skin.

To hear Flo's speech and see her strip off layers of clothing was motivational enough.

Linguini's heart-felt speech in guiding us that we don't always get enough of the right mix from our points. That meals should be more protein based. You have made me re-look at what I should be eating even though I am a picky eater.

Thanks to all who have shared your stories!

180-before WW/162.4 WW/136 goal/133 current

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