Monday, June 9, 2014

I'm Back and I'm Drowning

I'm back home again and happy for it. Vacation was absolutely WONDERFUL and I was buried in creative thoughts, projects and discussions for a week. Call me joyous. But ... my backlog on Emails and LJ Posts is huge, so it's going to take me a few days to truly catch up. If you need an immediate response to something you posted or whatever, Email me directly to let me know and I'll push you to the front of the line.

When I hit the road construction outside of Milwaukee, we slowed
down to a crawl. Argh! I really hate driving in on a weekday. 

I left to go to my conference on a Monday. I usually don't drive in on a weekday, often driving out on the Sunday. But my first class wasn't until Tuesday and I didn't want to spend an additional day of hotel fees, meal costs, etc. So Monday it was, resulting in ... traffic! OMG - construction road traffic everywhere, and as I was approaching downtown Milwaukee, we were crawling! I probably could have walked to my hotel faster in some sections. But I finally arrived, pulled my suitcases into the small elevator, tricked my door into opening up and got unpacked. I then wandered toward the other hotels and the Convention Center to say "Hi" to friends and check out what had changed since last year.

Amy K Sweet-McNamara was a really fun teacher and
I enjoyed the class a great deal, even though I am nowhere
close to her level of expertise. I liked it enough to buy a second
kit in a colorway that I really wanted to play with. 

Bright and early Tuesday I had my first class - an all day class of Beading with Soutache Cord taught by Amy K Sweet-MeNamara. Fabulous! It was an intermediate course, but even though I hadn't used the product before, I felt I had enough of a hand-sewing background to hold my own in the class, and indeed, I did. I really enjoyed the class and I look forward to working more with the technique.

Cedarburg has a really nice small-town feel but is still close enough
to the big city to not be isolated. 

Wednesday was an off day and I drove north to Cedarburg to buy rocks as a gift for my DH. This turned out to be more of an adventure than I had thought. Cedarburg is a lovely small town about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee - an easy drive. It's really a nice place with a great feel to it. If I was ever going to move to Wisconsin, I'd strongly consider moving to Cedarburg. I spent a few hours choosing rocks and ended up with some that I think he'll enjoy.

Herman's Tire Shop was a lifesaver for me and they were
VERY friendly and helpful. Great people!

On my way back, I remembered that my front tire had been leaking air so I pulled in to a small Mom and Pop tire shop called "Herman's Tire Shop". I asked if they could check my tire pressure for me and they had me move the car to the bay door. While he was going around checking my pressure and filling any low tires, I noticed a bulge on the driver's side rear tire wall. THIS WAS NOT GOOD. I asked him about safety and whether it was drive-able and he said it might get me back home, or not. I then said "So, if I buy one tire to replace it, I have to buy two. Right?" He said "No, if I have one in stock you only need the one". He had one in stock, so while I called DH to tell him about my latest adventure, he changed the tire. Twenty minutes later and $122 on my Discover card, I was back on the road feeling much happier.

Meet the Teachers is scheduled from 8pm until 11pm on Wednesday night. All of
the teachers are gathered together in one of the main ballrooms and each one has a
table at which they can display their work and sell kits if they desire. It's a zoo, but
a fun zoo. 

Wednesday night was a late night with the annual "Meet the Teachers" reception. It was wonderful to see so many old friends and fellow comrades in beading. I hugged and got hugged, and wandered the aisles until 10:00 pm. Even though the reception was scheduled until 11:00, I was exhausted and went back to my hotel after two hours.

In the left bottom is the Ramada. In the center top is the Hyatt. I was
walking this several times a day up and down different stairs and escalators,
across ramps and skyways, and through the convention center. 

As an aside here, I will point out that my hotel was at the far southern end of the B&B hotels. I stayed at the Ramada this year. As hotel fees go, it was very affordable and inexpensive running only a bit more than $100/day with the tax included. The nice thing about the Ramada is that parking is free and their Wi-Fi is also free (although it's not the greatest for speed). These are things that would cost me an additional $30/day or more in either of the two main hotels - the Hilton or the Hyatt. The Hyatt is the host hotel on the Northeast part of the Convention Center grid. The Hilton is a block north of the Ramada, and between the Hilton and the Hyatt is the Convention Center - a large, multi-block building where the sales floor is located and most of the classes are held.

AAACK! I'm out of time and can't add any more pics. I have to run or I'll be late.

I love staying in the Hilton. It's classic art deco decor is stunning and the staff are universally friendly and outgoing. Some smaller classes are held in their rooms and I usually eat my daily lunch in the Miller Time Pub on their lower level. The Hyatt is the host hotel. It's where most of the teachers stay. It's more modern but with a fabulous restaurant and my favorite bar. It's a one-mile walk from that bar to my hotel room. I walked the mile a lot. So even though I was in classes, I was also still wandering, catching up with friends and teachers, and generally diving back into the unique feel of the Bead & Button Show.

I'll continue my travel monologue tomorrow with Thursday through Sunday.

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