Conference "Memories"


Saturday night, I finally took some time to relax and cut loose from the computer uploads to do some visiting. I joined the group (Jim and Tammy of course were there, along with Dotti, Robin, Elisabeth, Jim B., Marianne, and Kitty) in Jim’s and Tammy’s room. I brought along my guitar, and fortunately, Jim had brought his guitar too. We had a little music (oldies like Little Red Riding Hood, Louie Louie, and Hotel California) and some great company. I broke my last #4 (D) string on my guitar, but that was okay because I was already done with all my singing and strumming for the conference. We were above Donna's room (she was sweet and did not complain at all) and next to Dotti's and my room (obviously empty at the time) and so we had no complaints about the noise, even though we were running late. I especially enjoyed that evening.


As we were getting ready to leave the Seattle Space Needle after dinner, Elisabeth looked up at me (she is about 5 feet tall, and I am about 6’3”) with her very expressive eyes, and asked, “Would you be able to run me to the airport?” The taxi was outrageously priced, and much more than she had planned on, which had put her in a bind. So, naturally I agreed to take her. We also had a van load of others (Let’s see. There was Dotti of course, Donna, Ellen, along with Elisabeth. I think that Andrea was way in the back with Ellen.) who were happy to agree to go back to the hotel via the airport. Also, Jim was driving his van, following me, and he had another van load of people, including Tammy, Jim and Carol, Lissa, and I think Trudy. (If I goofed up on who was where, one of the participants can help me out.)Well, I don’t drive in downtown Seattle all that often and so I ended up taking a wrong turn and the next thing you know we are headed south on route 99. For any old time West Coasters, they know that I-5 was built as a replacement for the old highway 99 that ran from the Mexican to Canadian borders. Since I-5 was what I wanted to take to the airport, I just stayed on 99 South, thinking that because it paralleled I-5 there would be some way to cross over to I-5 on the way to the airport. If nothing else, 99 itself would probably take us all the way. I handed Dotti the map, and asked her if she could spot a road that made a connection from 99 to I-5. She looked at the map and it might as well have been written in Chinese. She passed it back to Donna, and she passed it on to Elisabeth. I was doomed. None of them could read the map to help me out. In the mean time, everyone was a little short on sleep, had just gone through a wonderful weekend with some really great people, and there a bit of a giddy party-like atmosphere. Dotti and the other ladies were laughing continuously and it was contagious. As we went south along the waterfront, we passed the new Seattle dome under construction and a few other waterfront sites, mostly covered in darkness. One thing we did not pass was a sign for I-5. And it was a road with not much of a shoulder to pull over on, to allow me to take a look at the map. Onward we continued. Finally we reached a point where I had to make a decision to stay with 99 or go off on a road heading to the left. I chose that leftward road because I was watching planes go by and I could see that they were landing in the same general direction as the left road was going. A couple of miles later we finally ran into signs for the Sea-Tac airport and I held up my fist, and Donna said, “You are the man!” And we all had a good laugh. We got Elisabeth to the airport, and all had a good time along the way. However, Dotti will not let me live it down that I was following the airplanes to the airport. Tammy, called up Dot as we were driving from the airport back to the hotel, with a message from Jim, “Are you following a helicopter to the hotel?” No slack at all.

Donna (dsjohnson)

I haven't laughed so hard in ages. And Dotti, with that infectious laugh of hers, made it worse!! Yes, it was a case of testosterone vs. estrogen, and I think the estrogen won. It was like Abbot & Costello meet the Marx brothers! And Al, when I made the suggestion "there's plane up there-why don't you follow it?" little did I know that you had already had the idea!! I now know that the estrogen had already won out.I got there Thursday afternoon. When I had finally had a bit of dinner (thin pizza/veggies/no cheese), had taken my face off and gotten into my old 2X pjs held together at the top with a safety pin, there was a knock on the door, and who was it but THE DOTTI and Lissa! We talked and laughed for over an hour and a half, and, as it always is with zonies, it was like meeting old friends. Dotti is as genuine, sweet, and unassuming as she seems, and Lissa is a hoot! So I had the two of them all to myself!I'm a bit on the shy side, so didn't get to know as many people as I wanted, but each person couldn't have been more lovely. I cherish the friendship of those I became close with. There was so much hugging and laughing, I'm sure we'll all each live two years longer. It was a treat, too, to watch Al and Dotti. They have a 25 year love affair going, and in this day and age, is wonderful to see. Meeting all of you was a precious gift, and wild horses wouldn't keep me from coming to the next one.


Donna, It was so crazy in that car, I couldn’t possibly remember how I came to see the planes coming in for a landing. If it was your suggestion, it was a great one!We enjoyed having you at the conference. It truly would not have been the same without your presence. Dot and I are looking forward to seeing you at DWLZ II -- in St. Lou!

Ellen (elliebear)

That was so funny when Al was following the airplane in hopes of getting to the airport!! A couple of us thought, it's a good thing he happened to follow one that was landing. What if it had just taken off?? We could have ended up in Canada!! LOL!!A memorable moment I had was on Sunday. The conference had just ended, and we had several hours before the Space Needle dinner. I had been told by someone back home that I shoud eat at Ivar's if at all possible. I had seen it the day before on the waterfront when Lynn was driving me Jim and Carol around. Donna, Trudy, Andrea and I took off on foot, to find the bus, to take us into Seattle. We found the bus, and while we were riding, we realized we didn't know where to get off the bus. With the bus schedule in hand, and the colorful picture map of downtown Seattle, we began plotting on where to get off the bus. Did we look like tourists??? We made it off the bus, then proceeded to follow the water that we saw! We made it to the waterfront. Of course, it's raining. But, we were having fun. Finally, we made it Ivars. I had dragged these ladies all the way down there, and I was so excited....they would just love this incredible seafood I"ve heard so much about. I walked up, and to my horror, it was a fast food situation, with nothing but fried fish and french fry dishes! Oh My God! How could I have brought them to a "Long John Silvers type place to eat!!" They were very nice, and we decided to turn around to find another restaurant, when Donna saw one right next door..... Saved! More than that, it had Ivar's on the door!!!!! This is where we were supposed to go!! Who would have thought there would have been a nice restaurant with a seafood McDonald's attached to it!! Alas, I was saved!! And, yes, the seafood was delicious, and we didn't have to eat french fries with it!

Robin (robin4040)

Yes, Al, Saturday night was very special for me too, getting to sing with you and Jim was great. And being on the inside looking out of the jabbering that was going on over on the other side of the room. Isn't it amazing that they were all talking at once, and yet answering each other, and that we could understand all that was going on?? I loved it!! I also really found special the relationship that you and your dear wife enjoy. It is so obviously a very tender and deep love that you two have for each other. It was terrific just witnessing the love and caring that goes on between the two of you. And your friends, Jim and Tammy, too. Of course, Jill kept us in stitches the entire weekend, what a bright, witty and sharp girl she is! And a radiant smile always coming from deep within. It is incredible to think that she started WW every January for 20 years, and never gave up. What tenacity. And her reward? It finally took. Boy did it ever!! And she is on the road to eternal health and well being. What a role model she is for others who struggle with weight loss.I will write about more of the conference goers later; all 43 of my new friends. . . all of whom I feel I have known for YEARS. I guess we are all soul mates. Just think what it will be like next year????

Marianne (mly)

The memory that sticks out the most is when the Non Fat Trapp Family singers were practicing late at night. I think it was around 10 or 11 pm (people can correct me). Well I guess that the people in the next room did not appreciate good singing when they heard it. We thought we heard a knock on the door and I believe Jill went to answer it but no one was there. The next thing we know the wall next to us started shaking and there was this loud banging. I believe that the people next door were slamming their side of the connecting doors to the room. I think I can safely say it scared the pee pee out of us. We waited awhile before we left the room because we were scared they might get violent with us. You should have seen us sneaking out of the room very quietly. I believe the whole conference was a huge success and will try to write up more tid bits.

Andrea (acox)

One of my favorite memories happened the night we all went to the space needle for dinner. We all rode together in a couple of vans and parked about a block away from the place. We came to a cross walk and had to wait for the light, but Dotti and Elizabeth (swtpie) decided to venture across the street because there was no traffic coming at the time. We were all standing there just watching them from the other side of the street. All of a sudden we noticed this "interesting" man who was quickly approaching them. He was dressed in all black, with chains and a grand red and black cape around his neck with hair standing straight up. All the while he was singing some little ditty about pulling someone's hair and throwing them off a cliff (very bizarre). He was heading straight towards Dotti and Elizabeth. When Dotti noticed the man she started laughing and crouching behind Elizabeth (who is shorter than Dotti) and we were all standing on the other side of the street just laughing at the two of them. It was so funny to watch their reactions from the other side of the street! I will never forget the look on Dotti's face!

Vicki (vicki ellen)

I can't really say any one thing was my favorite part. Ok, standing in the hotel hallway with 15 women partially dressed and waiting for a fashion show (my first) has me smiling here. Just feeling like I belonged was so special. I was frightened and feeling quite insecure after flying across the country and all of a sudden expecting strangers to embrace me. Barbara picked me up and it was a natural high from then on. We all embraced each other and never were strangers, ever. The natural bond and companionships made from the boards were to be expected. But to find new names, and new friends was quite special.

Dotti (Dotti)

Oh, the memories! I just love them....keep them coming!Andrea - that was too funny! Elisabeth said to me, "Do you know you are hiding behind a 5 foot woman!" He was one strange character!

Robin (robin4040)

A very poignant moment I recall was when Jill came up to the podium to tell everyone about her special delivery package from CT woman - her 23 star bracelet, that she had FedExed to conference for Jill, each star representing 5 pounds of weight lost for Jill and for her own journey. She bought two of the bracelets one for herself and one for Jill. That was certainly a wet moment in the room. Not a dry eye in the house. . .Did Barbara ever have a dry eye. . .? Hmmm......

Ellen (elliebear)

Long Lost Relatives Found!

I couldn't believe that I had to wait 37 years, and fly all the way across the country from Georgia to Seattle, to find out I had long lost relatives at the conference!! I had met Avril during our Atlanta Zonie lunch, and she lives in the city of Newnan, which is 45 minutes from Atlanta. My grandparents and some aunts and uncles live in Newnan, so we talked about how neat it was that I had some relatives living there. What a small world. Avril even thought that her son went to the same church as where my aunt goes. Well, that was the extent. At the conference, I was looking forward to seeing Avril again, and meeting her husband Terry. When Terry and I started talking, he asked me my grandparents names. I told him. I then told him my grandma's side of the family's name, Bryom, and he said, wow, I'm related to some Byrom's in Newnan. I said with excitement "You're kidding??!!" You see, there are no Byrom's in Newnan that I"m not related to! He told which one, and I said "Oh, my gosh, that's MY Uncle!!" Me, Terry and Avril were all excited! Terry is my cousin!! His mom's sister married my grandad's brother!! How about that!! And we never knew it! It took Dotti to bring us together!!!!!!!!!! So, thank you Dotti, for reuniting Cousin Avril, Cousin Terry and me!!!!!!!!

Dolly (Dolly03)

All my memories of the conference are so special and especially enjoyed meeting everyone and sharing such wonderful stories and experiences along this journey we all have as one. I can hardly wait till next year when I can see you all in person again.

Jackie (HillCountryGal)

Where do I start?....How much fun to be with "family"! I am so glad Rick & I got to be a part of this historic happening!!! I honestly felt like the week-end was spent with old friends. We all seemed to have a comfort level not present in most settings of this type. You all need to know Rick had a blast! He is still telling everyone about his "new girlfriends". You know who you are: tracylynn; swtpie; lalurker! Saturday night after that great pizza and ice cream (he never dreamed he would have such food with folks watching their weight), we went back to our room and he goes through bursts of laughter for no apparent reason. When I asked what he was laughing about, he said, "I'm having so much fun! I never dreamed the "Dotti thing" would be like this." Some special moments for me involved Becca telling her success story. Barbara wasn't the only one with tears! I could relate to so much of what Becca was sharing. And the style show on Saturday night. Again, beautiful Becca removing her size 24 wedding dress to reveal that georgeous dress and great figure, for their cruise! And the multi-talented Jill....what an awsome lady. Finding new friends to share this journey makes the road seem a bit smoother. Thank you, each and every one of you that made the first ever annual Dotti conference a special time I will always remember.

Ellen (elliebear)

First Class all the way home, thanks to Dolly!!

I want to share another memory! Dolly, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! Dolly found out I was flying United Airlines, and she happen to have a certificate to upgrade to first class. She didn't even know me, and so thoughtfully gave me the certificate! I was able to upgrade both flights home to first class! I was in HEAVEN!!! With the trouble I had with my planes and connections (having to get another flight, etc) I wasn't sure if they would honor, or if they would even have the space for first class, but they did!! I flew home in style! I've never flown first class before, so this was a treasure for me! Dolly, I cannot ever repay you!!! They gave out beverages before the flight even left the ground, they were constantly feeding me (I just had to indulge, just had to!), they put linen on the tray before they served my food, I had crab cakes, and a delicious salad, and then for dessert, a hot, soft cookie, with fresh milk in a glass. Not a plastick cup, but real glass! Oh boy! The seats were huge! The service was top notch, and well, I just had the most enjoyable trip on the plane! I will never want to fly regular again!! My hubby said too bad you got a taste of the good life, cause you'll be back in econonmy from now on!! That's what he thinks!! I"m saving up my money now for the flight St. Louis. First Class, here I come! THANK YOU DOLLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dolly (Dolly03)

Oh Ellen, I am so delighted you got to upgrade on the way home. What a treat, Huh! Just like Royalty. LOL about DH and economy from now on, mine says the same, but oh what a treat it is to fly 1st class. Wish my experience was the same flying home, I wound up practically being knocked unconscious by a passenger carrying a very large hard duffle bag from the back of the plane to the front where I was sitting and rammed it into the back of my head, neck and shoulders. The airlines wanted to have the paramedics waiting in San Francisco but I declined due to the fact I had to catch another flight back to San Luis Obispo. Needless to say, I was suffering pretty badly come Monday and Tuesday, spent the week between going to the Chiropractor and the MD who stated I had a concussion. The pains radiating up and down the neck, head and back were brutal but I am doing much better yesterday and today and plan on attending my step aerobics class this evening. Looking forward to seeing you in St. Louis! Love and hugs, Dolly

Becca (BeccaBell)

Some of my favorite conference no particular order!

* The sight of Dotti and Al waiting to meet us at SeaTac airport as we arrived late on Thursday night.
* Elizabeth (swtpie) painting my toenails and tweezing my eyebrows on Saturday afternoon...a mini-makeover!
* My first taste of Heaven's Bistro pizza.
* Hugging Jill and getting covered in glitter from her homemade t-shirt.
* The fun we had rehearsing and performing "The Sound of Losers".
* The group hug when we calculated that just between the six of us doing the musical, we had lost a staggering 468 lbs. WAY TO GO GIRLS!!!
* Being moved by my own speech! I'm not meaning to boast by this comment - just that I had written the words but had not fully realized the pain and truth of them until I spoke them aloud - and the emotional impact really hit home.
* Falling asleep on the bus into Seattle and in the IMAX film on Sunday afternoon - the emotion and events of the weekend finally caught up with me.
* Being able to visualize people's faces, accents and mannerisms every time I read one of their posts now.

Can't wait until St Louis - I'm counting the days!

Barbara (Librarylady)

I have so many wonderful memories - Becca getting ready for the fashion show in her size 24 wedding dress and a woman not attending the conference certain there was a real wedding! (Uh, the dress is a size 24 and Becca's an 8 - isn't there something wrong with this picture?) My first glimpse of Vicki standing at the curb with her suitcase - she had really made it to Seattle! Dotti tearing up as Al sang to her. (Heck, ME tearing up as Al sang to her!) And walking to the emergency room at first light Sunday morning with Jill to check out a bad ear and having her end up a cubicle away advertising Dotti's website to a prospective Zonie!

But at the Space Needle there was a golden moment. Our table of ten was talking a mile a minute and we were not quiet about it! Our sweet waitress was patient with our endless chatter and knew we were Weight Watchers and was very accomodating, but she couldn't get us to quiet down enough to ask us a question. Finally she loudly interrupted and said, "I just need to know if there is anyone here who DOESN'T want dessert!" That brought instant and complete silence, followed by laughter! Our entire table enjoyed every bite of their zero point (right, Dotti?) lemon cheesecake. It was a wonderful way to end a wonderful weekend.

Note from Dotti - YEP, the lemon cheesecake was 0 points!

Tracy (tracylynn)

I will remember everything about the weekend forever!! I loved meeting all of you!! And I can't wait till next year.

The 2 memories that stand out the most though:

1. During Friday night dinner our table (Table #3 -- the LOUD one!!) was getting to know each other! I asked Karen what her screen name was and she explained she was just a lurker! The next obvious question was how long had she been lurking??? Imagine my shock (and much, much laughter) when she replied she'd been lurking for a whole year!!! I just couldn't believe she had showed up to our Conference alone, after lurking for so long! But I'm so glad she did!!!

2. Saturday afternoon 6 of us went to the baseball game (Alistair, David, Sam, Betty, Karen and I). Karen and I decided to drive into Seattle while the rest rode the bus, so Alistair gave us our tickets, and we agreed to meet at the seats! Karen and I made good time getting into downtown and were going to just head straight for the stadium and our seats to meet the others. I went thru the gates first, but then they stopped her! It seems we had gotten one ticket and the receipt by accident! So, I told Karen to wait there, I would run to our seats and get the other ticket --- I ran half way around the stadium, up 3 decks worth of stairs....and they weren't there yet! So, I waited, and they still didn't come. So, I ran all the way back down and around ( I think I got my exercise points in!!) and Karen and I decided to be daring! I slipped my ticket thru the gate to her, and she got in on MY ticket!! The others were quite shocked when they got to the seats and saw BOTH of us there!!

Ohhh the happy, happy memories!!

Pat (ani49)

I giggle every time Skinny Cows are mentioned. I was looking so forward to tasting them and when they finally arrived, there was Jill taking pictures of them! But that was nothing compared her reaction as she bit into the peanut butter one. She gave Meg Ryan a run for her money. "When Jill met .."
And Jill is usually so shy!!!!!!