Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Out of My Element

I spent a few days in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, earlier this week, presenting 2 lectures and a workshop to the Eastern Iowa Heirloom Quilters Guild. Iowa looks a lot like Illinois right now - icy remnants of winter everywhere.


It's a busy travel week and I always feel out of my element when I travel. Three presentations in one week is a bit much for me because I find I get exhausted easily, LOL. (Surely it can't be because I'm getting old??)  Lately, I haven't felt like pushing myself with the travel stuff because I notice I also get really cranky when I'm out of my element. I miss my necessities from home. Hey, where can I get a good cup of tea made with HOT water (instead of lukewarm) when my throat hurts and I feel the sniffles coming on? All hotels should have boiling water available at ALL times, don't you think? And regular tea, not that herbal stuff. Also, where's the nearest CVS or Walgreens so I can pick up some Tylenol or cough drops that I forgot to bring with me because I didn't know I was going to get sick? Or where can I find a decaf diet Coke at 10:00 at night . . . . or maybe just some cookies before I go to bed . . . . When I'm at home, these are always readily available and I get annoyed when I can't find them while I'm out of my element. (Just like a cranky old lady - is this what it's finally come to??) I get lost easily driving around strange cities at night. My GPS couldn't even find the hotel and we drove around and around the same area for half an hour. "It says it should be RIGHT here! Right here! All is see is a Pet Smart . . . I can't sleep in a Pet Smart . . ."

This trip had a little minor catastrophe as well. Just as I was getting ready to leave for my first presentation in the morning, I lost my left contact lens. Not much of a catastrophe most of you are probably saying - what a big baby! - but it gets me off to a bad start if I can't see very well from the get-go. I thought it was still in my eye and kept poking around to see if it had lodged up inside my upper lid, but then I started smearing my makeup and I was afraid I was running late and didn't have time to redo it so I left it in and figured I'd get it out later. I reluctantly trudged off to meet everyone with an extrememly red and irritated, not to mention smudged, eye wearing my old glasses. I really need new glasses. I bought some cool ones a little while ago but it turns out I can't see well enough with them (Oh, the price we pay for trying to be fashionable) and didn't bring them along, just my old standby glasses I've been wearing for years. So yes,  I was a tad cranky.


Arriving at the lecture and seeing a good-sized crowd and meeting all the wonderful, nice quilters always perks me up and calms me down at the same time, however, and SO WHAT if I'm wearing my ugly glasses?? Everyone was thrilled to see me (even if I couldn't see them very well). No one noticed or at least they were kind enough not to mention that they were perhaps expecting a non-squinting speaker wearing cooler glasses . . . Who was this cranky woman masquerading as the usually delightful Kathy Tracy??

So many smiling faces .  . .

Everywhere I go I enjoy seeing everyone's Show & Tell projects. Some of the quilts are amazing and the talent evident. I wish I had thought to take more pictures. But look at this quilt made with over 500 three-inch scrappy blocks that Sharon (I think) made. Gorgeous, isn't it? I'm going to have to make one like it.


So scrappy! Reminds me of the Calico Comfort quilt from Remembering Adelia.


Mary  made this for me! I am going to use it as a mug mat  as soon as I can find some hot water to put in a mug . . . . The old buttons were a bonus!


We came home yesterday and today I am off to Peoria, IL, for another lecture. And I'll probably be wearing my contact lenses (yes!) because guess what? While I was giving my Iowa presentation, my husband (who needed a break from work and came with to help carry books and stuff) went back to the hotel and spotted my contact lens sitting precariously on the edge of the bathroon sink faucet, grinning at him.

14 comments:

Susan said...

Oh, Kathy, it sounds like you had quite an adventure but quilters are renowned for taking it all in stride. I hope you are feeling better now and have a wonderful time in Peoria.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Yes they do, thank goodness. I have to remember to be more like that.

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to your story about tea and hot water! My husband and I have the same trouble traveling. We now travel with our own
"real tea" and an electric tea pot (for HOT water)and of course some cookies to go with it.
And yes we are slowing down too and traveling isn't as much fun as it used to be, it is so easy to get cranky. Quilters do take it all in stride. Wish you well in your travels.

Merilyn said...

Kathy, didn't you know that quilters are allowed to wear their 'cranky pants' sometimes too!!! Looks like you managed pretty well despite the hiccups, and I'm glad your contact lens was found, such a pain to have to replace!
You certainly pulled a nice crowd, hopefully your next lecture won't have so many unwelcome surprises!!! Take care!

Sharon said...

Kathy...that is one of my biggest pet peeves...no real tea or hot water available, not everyone drinks coffee! I usually have tea bags in my travel case and a cup so I can at least heat up a cup of water...hope you are feeling better!

Rori said...

Oh Kathy, you crack me up! I am so glad it all worked out in the end and I'm sure the gals were thrilled to have you around...even if you had a rough start. Do you ever make your way out to California?

Dora, the Quilter said...

Thank you so much for sharing your awful day--really. I appreciate it because I've had days like that--different events, but identical feelings! It should make the rest of the week even better. Hope you had a wonderful time in Peoria. (I grew up in ElPaso, 30 mi east of there, and taught for 8 years in Peoria--and had a heck of a time finding other quilters until I decided to teach quilting classes for the Peoria Park District--so in a way, I created my own quilting buddies!)

marian said...

Good for you Kathy, you certainly did pull it all together!! i know exactly what you mean by being out of your element/comfort zone, but it does us good to step out of it from time to time doesn't it LOL!!
btw i couldn't help but notice that gorgeous scrappy quilt is identical to our siggy blocks, just a tad smaller..LOVE it!!

Ann said...

I really felt for you, being away from home and your comforts. I'm one of those annoying people who are NEVER ill, but last year I was while staying at a hotel miles from anywhere. I asked at reception if they had any painkillers, but was told they weren't allowed to give them to guests. Luckily a young man was passing and heard, he kindly gave me some of his. And I always take my own tea bags and snacks!

Kathleen Tracy said...

Good idea! I usually do but forgot to bring my own tea this time and they still had no hot water . . .

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy, I am one of the Cedar Rapids quilters who was lucky enough to see your presentation AND take your workshop. I have to say I don't think you were crabby at all! We were VERY glad to have you at our guild and you inspired my friends to go home and make a doll quilt :) Kim

Beth said...

You really had some challenges. I know you got their attention with all your lovely quilts and your books! Bet no one noticed your glasses.

Teresa said...

Pei pa koa is pretty decent cough medicine (from herbal as I remembered), great non alcoholic medicine, some western cough medicine are more effective, but this is non drowsy.

You can access info online @
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nin_Jiom_Pei_Pa_Koa
ninjiom.50webs.com

sissyjane said...

I've been buying "cute" cheater glasses, just to have in places like my purse, kitchen, etc. I don't wear contacts because of Major dry-eye issues.

Travelling while sick is not fun! Way not fun! Hope you are feeling better.

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