First, let me explain that our Saturday morning meetings at EX Get-Togethers are referred to as "Brunch". Sometimes, the venue won't allow us to serve food, so it's really more of a "Non-Brunch". But it's always Saturday morning and there is always an agenda that includes "The Reading of the Blogs and Comments". First time attendees read one of their first ever blogs out loud to the group. It's usually an epiphany for the reader of how far they've come and often ends in tears of emotion. (That's why the Brunch was originally called "The Tear Fest"! Previous attendees read one or more of the comments they've made on other people's blogs that have really made a difference to that blogger. Not so many tears, but lots of wisdom, gratitude, knowing nodding of heads and even some laughter. It's a wonderful tradition we have established. And every single attendee gets a Paper Plate Award. They are meant to be sometimes meaningful, sometimes teasing, always fun and given in a spirit of the loving EX bonds between us. I wish I'd taken pictures of everyone's Paper Plate Award, so if you have pictures of anyone's Paper Plate Award, please post it in the comments below.
Thank you to Kathy (Strudel) for her hard work and her wonderful "Story of the Starfish"-themed Brunch. She worked so hard and is so creative! Here is her agenda for this year's Brunch.
Jojo, at her first-ever EX Get-Together. Her Paper Plate Award was the "It's About Darn Time You Came" Award. Behind jojo (from left) is Jennifer, Shawn and Rick (notice Rick on the phone; it's a recurring theme. Love you, Rick!)
Jim was happier than he looks in this pic. Needed more coffee, I guess. In the background (from left) Mark Admin, Brenda M, Ellen (Elvan) and Pops at the far right.
The hard-working IT team of (from left) Laura (Michwoman) and Pattycake and Tommy (Pir8fan). I think we called these folks the Audio Visual Geeks back in the 60's/70's, didn't we? Laura and Patty made sure that the Skyping with Giulia and Dale went smoothly. Tommy gave moral support!
Our Skype Celebrities! Giulia on the left and Dale on the right. At one point, Dale's eyes were closed and he wasn't answering us when we spoke to him...we thought we'd bored him to sleep! Turns out the screen was just frozen. It's my dream to get Dale to one of our EX Get-Togethers. And to get Giulia back again to another one (she was at EX3 in Nashville).
Laura (Michwoman) reading her comments during "The Reading of the Blogs and Comments". Others in the picture (from left) Jackie, Megan Admin, Pat, Nancy (wearing Tommy's hat), Tommy. That's the back of Jim's (Freeneasy) head.
(From left) Ellen (elvan), Donna (DJ), Jackie, Nancy (wearing Pops' hat this time; she's a hat-stealer!), and Pat at the far right. I can't fathom why no one was smiling. I suspect it was because I took the photo during a first-time attendee tearfully reading their first blog out loud. I guarantee you it sure wasn't because we weren't having a great time!
Pop's getting his Paper Plate Award. He was still a few days out, but I gave him his key to The 6% Club anyway. (Over Pop's shoulder: Megan Admin and Pat)
Sharon (Shashort) receiving her Paper Plate Award for entering the The 6% Club a few days earlier. Her key was not attached to the paper plate like Pops' key was; Sharon's key came on a string of pearls to wear around her neck! I LOVE this picture of Sharon! (New avatar, Sharon??)
And here's Pat receiving her 6% Club Paper Plate Award. She had, like Sharon, attained the one-year status that gets you into The 6% Club just a few days prior to EX5. It's hard to see in this picture, but Pat's key came on a gold braid keychain with a glittery lime green and aqua keytag that said "6%" (except that we didn't notice the wrong side was turned to the camera when we took the pic. Oops). Again, I'm thinking this should be Pat's new avatar, maybe? (A smiling Megan Admin in the back).
Jim's (Freeneasy) Paper Plate Award was the "You Light Up Our Lives" Award. Those are strings of tiny colored lights on his plate. Just look at his grin! Jim, you are so adorable! See you next year, for sure, right?
(From left) Jennifer with her "925 Miles" Paper Plate Award, given because she came the furthest to attend EX5. I think she'd say it was definitely worth the trip. Shawn with her "What a Soft Heart" Paper Plate Award. There is a small, very soft, furry kitty glued to her plate. Maybe if you zoom in, you can make it out. Rick with his Paper Plate Award. I had to admit to the group, when giving out this last paper plate, I had run out of stickers, gimmicks and clever ideas...but one sticker that said "CRAZY!" caught my eye. Somehow it seemed appropriate for dear Rick. So I gave him the "You Are Crazy & We All Love You" Paper Plate Award, loaded with all the leftover stickers and plastic stuff I had left. Forgive me, Rick. I promise you a better Paper Plate Award next year, ok?
Here's the aftermath of creating the Paper Plate Awards. The hotel housekeeper was truly confused. I sent her away.
Because the hotel wouldn't allow us to serve food at the Brunch, everyone received two sparkly starfish sugar cookies on their way out the door. I broke mine, but took a picture anyway.
Here are some better pictures of the starfish cookies.
Lastly, this is the logo on this year's t-shirts. This is the proof sent by the embroiderer, but the actual shirts were a dark beige and the final thread color was a little less aqua, more blue. Sand and Ocean Water color-theme, get it?
These Brunches are my favorite part of EX Get-Togethers. I can't wait for EX6. xxxooo, Sky