Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Preserving Energy

I'd hoped to be a better blogger on this trip than I've been. In the end, I needed all my energy for the jobs at hand and choose to preserve what I had left for myself. I think it was a good choice. I'm tired on my return home, but not exhausted and fairly ready to take up where I'd left off. I don't even think I'll get sick, like I sometimes am apt to do after a period of intense work and travel.

Near our hotel in Leesburg
The workshop in Leesburg was terrific. A great group of engaged students, many of whom are super active in the Pastel Society of Central Florida,(the society that hosted the workshop). It was great fun to get to work with them. It was also the first time that Mike and I have worked together for a entire workshop. Besides being quite the expert in drawing, painting and color, he took care of us, even ordering lunches and bringing in pizza one day. He's a peach. I think I'll keep him!

From Leesburg, we were off to Tampa for the Gasparilla Arts Festival. Tampa is a beautiful city and the site of the show was right in town near their art museum. Only thing was, high winds came in after the first day and took out about 20 or so booths that were located nearest the street. These booths were all on pavement, so they couldn't stake in. Not ever having done this show and not knowing any better, we were at the other end of the show on grass. We knew high winds were forecast, so Mike had staked in and cross tied the booth. Thank you Carla and Dave Fox!! Carla and Dave carefully researched methods of securing your booth, so we knew what to do. I think it made a difference, since our booth was on a corner and could have been vulnerable. It was only a two day show and one day lost out to weather. Sunny, but blustery. Despite some horror stories about load in and load out, we made quick work of our one booth, were scheduled as the first group to load out and sure enough, I think we may have been the first or second booth out of there! Of course not counting the poor folks who left early due to damaged booths. We got off the site and drove to a super little pizza place, grabbed a couple slices to go and headed south. Next stop New Orleans.

 After an interim stop in Tallahasse, we pulled our BDV, (now our acronym for BIG DAMN VAN), right into another perfect parking space in front of our hotel in New Orleans. Just like in Key West! Couldn't have been more perfect! We quickly headed to the French Quarter which is just a couple blocks up from the hotel, knowing we only had the one night. We check out the vibe with the intent of finding oysters. We've been told to go to ACME but the line is just too much, so we find a great spot off Decatur and sit in a quaint oyster bar as the sun sets. Then off to explore Bourbon Street. So interesting from a people watching, architectural and historical point of view. We danced, we ate, we drank and then we slept! Morning brought the obligatory trek to taste cafe ole and beignets. Then we hit the road to make the long slog through Texas.
In front of our hotel in New Orleans
Well, we thought we were doing great by getting all the way through West Texas by 2:00pm. Then wouldn't ya know we hit a big wind storm in Las Cruses New Mexico. Zero visibility on Hwy 10; closed until further notice and no easy work-around. So, we get on the internet with our handy-dandy ipad and look at road closures, weather forecasts and finally resolved to looking at hotels on our corporate lodging account. We settle on a Holiday Inn Express that is a bit pricey, but has a pool and secure parking for the van. Good choice once again. We did laundry, relaxed in their nice indoor pool and jacuzzi and ordered take out. Better than driving in the brown-out!

We leave Las Cruses early and in plenty of time to easily make set-up in Scottsdale around 2pm. When we hit Scottsdale around 1:00 we have time to unload our personal stuff and luggage at the hotel. They had our room ready and in a spot that we could keep track of the van and unload easily. Yippee!! We were happy to feel the sun on our shoulders in Scottsdale. It was familiar. The most familiar place we'd been, so to us we were close to being home. Funny how that works! Scottsdale was good to us. Set-up went smoothly, familiar faces came out to support us and take down was ererily easy. We were super efficient, knowing exactly how to stack things as we took things apart and how things would then get loaded into the van. As we were pulling the van off the site we kinda looked at each other both thinking that we have this down a little too well now. The shows gods were shining on us. A last dinner of sushi and brussel sprouts tops off Scottsdale. Sounds weird, but it was good!

Life has a way of putting you in your place. I flew home to Portland on Monday morning. By Tuesday morning, a little surprise snow! Gotta love it! I'm putting together a slide show of the trip, so look out for that. Thanks to everyone that helped us prepare, helped along the way, watched out for the home-front, purchased art, workshop participants or just kept us in your thoughts. We really appreciate it. Now, back to painting!
Tuesday Morning at home!


betsy bensen said...

glad you're back and all went well! How about that snow!!

Marla Baggetta said...

I know! I couldn't believe it!