Saturday, October 17, 2009

Life in the Not-So-Fast Lane

Just got back from a driving trip across the Midwest to Ohio and Pennsylvania for a couple of lectures and a workshop. For some, there's no choice--to get from one place to another the only sensible option is to hop on a plane. Me--I hate to fly and so I drive everywhere.

I love the not-so-fast pace, listening to books on CD or, if my husband comes along, reading while he drives, seeing the landscapes of a series of small towns and making stops at quilt shops across the country I would never have had a chance to visit otherwise. Can't do that on a plane.

If I reach a crucial moment and run out of Diet Dr Pepper or Strawberry Twizzlers, I can pull over at the next rest stop and replenish the provisions. Definitely can't do THAT on a plane. If my daughter calls with an urgent question or emergency I can usually put out the fire from my cell phone. ("Mom, the puppy threw up on the carpet and I used up all the paper towels, WHERE do we keep the extras?" Or, "Tell me again, HOW do you get Tie Dye off your hands and the sink??" This last one was a trick question--what she really meant to say was "How do you get tie dye off your hands after you've put green and blue streaks in your HAIR??" She put streaks in her gorgeous, long, thick, dark, shiny hair [underneath, so maybe there was a chance I wouldn't see it and scream] and it leaked through the vinyl gloves. At least she used good taste--blue and green are my favorite colors . . . .)

My husband recently completed a string of 15 weeks spent travelling for his job, something out of the ordinary--he rarely travels--and mildly stressful. Considering the time he spent getting to the airport, waiting in the airport, going through security at the airport, flying to his destination and then waiting before entering ANOTHER airport, he could have almost just gotten in his car and driven to wherever that other office is located. So even though I sometimes spend the better part of a day travelling to get to a lecture that's away from home, I'm fine with that.

The wonderful thing about travelling for MY job is meeting all of the simply lovely quilters that come out to see me. I can honestly say that I've never, ever met anyone who wasn't a pleasure to talk to or have in a class (well, there was that ONE lady that ONE time; just kidding . . .)

On this particular trip I met hundreds of women who were (or at least seemed) eager to listen to what I had to say and excited to see my quilts. And ask that question: What's the new book about? Can you give us a hint? Will there be a diary? Sorry, no diary next time.

(Chatting beforehand, warming up the crowd. If I look like I'm wringing my hands I probably was--I get awfully nervous before I speak in public. Don't be fooled by my calm demeanor.)

Classes are always fun and I get to talk about my quilts and sometimes see what others have made. Look at this mini nine-patch quilt someone in the workshop/class made and brought to show us. How tiny is that one?

Jill and Judith from Cambridge Springs, PA, said my visit was like a "dream come true." I think maybe they got me confused with someone else, some very famous quilter, perhaps, LOL. Or maybe the excitement was because they thought I was bringing Brad Pitt with me. (Nope, just my adorable husband).

Still, they seemed VERY happy to finally meet me after reading all of my books.

The drive home was rainy and I was pretty tired but not too tired to pass up lunch and a small shopping spree in Shipshewana, Indiana. I'd heard lots about it and since we were so close it seemed a shame not to at least spend a little time there. It's a quaint little town in the third largest Amish community in the US and is filled with dozens of arts-and-crafts shops and furniture stores. Apparently Shipshewana is the only Indiana site listed in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

We had to slow down for the buggies all over town. Wondered what it would be like to live here and use a buggy to get everywhere I needed to go. Could I slow down and live the simple life like the Amish?  Sometimes it has its appeal when life seems to be moving a little too fast and I want to scream. But I'd miss my cell phone. And my ipod. And my digital camera. And my laptop. And cable TV. And don't forget my computerized sewing machine . . .

Stopped for gas here. I guess the buggy did too?          


I knew there'd be quilts all over the place but I have to say I've never actually eaten at a restaurant that had quilts on the menu:

Great shops--and I actually got in some early Christmas shopping.

Lolly's, the quilt shop, has loads of great fabric, tons of books and notions galore. Bought some border fabric for a quilt in the new book and other assorted goodies. I looked for my book on the book rack several times (come on, all authors do this, right?) and was mildly disappointed not to find it anywhere. Oh well.
All the hoopla over Adelia back in Pennsylvania and Ohio must have gone to my head, I thought--why on earth did I expect Lolly's to bother carrying one of my books when they had so many other really, really good ones to display? Oh well. On my way back to the reproduction fabric section, I spotted it:

It wasn't on the book rack. They gave Remembering Adelia  it's own display! And not one, but TWO separate displays!! This is good. Glad I found it.


All in all, not a bad end to a trip that began pretty well. Even the rain couldn't dampen my spirits after that.



Happy Cottage Quilter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Happy Cottage Quilter said...

What a lovely trip. Thanks for taking me along. My friend who lives in Ohio has said the same thing. Sometimes it is easier and faster to drive then to fly somewhere. I love to take road trips, but it can get tiring if you have a certain destination by a certain time :-) We live in Florida, so it is a trip just to get out of the state :-D

busymom said...

What wonderful pictures! I hope you had a great trip. But, I bet it is nice to be back home. Thanks for coming this far East! I will be putting Shipshewana on my list of places to visit!

Jacque said...

Kathleen - If you were to come to my quilt shop here in San Antonio, you probably wouldn't find any copies of your book. And that's because it's sold out every time we've ordered it. We have a Ladies Vintage Society based on Remembering Adelia - with 38 members! We're not taking any more members (due to fabric limitations), but sure have sold the book based on the sample quilts we've displayed!! Really looking forward to the next book.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Jacque, I would love to come to your shop if it weren't so darn far away--that Ladies Vintage Society sounds like a good time! Thanks for working hard and selling my book for me.

Wendy said...

Traveling by car is the best way to see all the best shops. I love the pink and green quilt, makes me want to grab that kit.
Your daughters sounds like mine, you never stop being a Mom.


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