And I have to say, I have met so many nice people. I don't know if it's because I'm older, or if I feel like I know what I'm doing (more or less) at work, or what, but it's not as hard to talk to people about what I do and what they do. Almost everyone seems to do at least moderately interesting work, and, of course, they don't mind talking about themselves. That's a good thing to keep in mind in general - people do like to talk about themselves.
My advisor in school was the one to suggest this conference several years ago. I remember her saying that the presentations at this particular yearly conference were most in line with her own research interests, and that the people who attended were friendly. And so it is. The talks have been interesting (although there have been 4 full days of them - whew!), and I'm leaving with several new ideas for my stuff at work.
I think one of the best things has been to talk to other women who have kids and full time sciencey jobs. It's just cool to be able to talk about our kids as well as our research projects.
And I also realized, repeatedly, that my work situation is somewhat unique. I'm thankful for the degree of autonomy and flexibility I have. And while we don't seem to be rolling in the dough, none of my purchase requests have come back unsigned yet.
Looks like next year's meeting is in Portland, OR. I like the green of the PNW.