Since Ben turned two, I realized I no longer have claim to postpartum anything. I realized the same thing when Tess was two; I felt better, more myself, still connected to my child in that mysterious way (you're tired when they're tired, still...but now once you put them to bed, you get your second wind...things like that).
So before I go into how wonderful CE was (and it was...the energy is still vibrating around me a month later), I have to get something off my chest. For once, it's not about the kids. Sorry if I've been boring you silly with their antics in the past two years (mostly over at Flickr...my Project 365 seems to be mostly ProjectBen365).
I met so many spoiled women at Creative Escape that it started to piss me off (then I stopped paying attention to them). If I heard one. more. woman. tell me that "oh, my husband sent me off to my first CE, and he just keeps sending me!" or, "I just dropped $400 at the on-site store!" or, "They really should let CE alumni have first grab at registering, everyone else can wait!" I was going to bitch-slap someone.
Luckily the classes were all fast-paced, and I naturally gravitated towards more laid-back, sweet people, who -- like me -- knew how lucky they were to be there, had worked really hard in the past year saving up money for the event, knew they were getting tons of swag, and didn't have to hit every. scrap. store. in the greater Phoenix area.
Somehow I missed the worst of the bitchiness (yes, I've heard there was worse...but I didn't ask for details) and unfortunately, whenever you get a group of women together there is bound to be that cattiness out there in the open for the rest of us to gape at.
'Nuff said. On to the good stuff.
Wednesday, September 3rd
Tess started school Tuesday, so I barely had time to wave her off on the bus before I turned around and left for the airport (Ben was up north with my folks). This was my first time packing for a scrap event that required air travel, so I made sure to hop on my scale at home to double-check my Giant Bag Full of Really Heavy Tools (seriously, Crop-A-Dile? Ten pounds right there). "We" weighed in at 37.5 (well, my *bag* did, haha), so I knew I was safe to check it and not pay the extra fee (of course, the airline weighed it in at 38 pounds even, so I was glad I was not close to the 50 pound limit...two words: ball machine. We've been there).
On the plane, I managed a first even for klutzy me -- I spilled an entire can of tonic water in my lap. Luckily, it landed only on me, because the girl sitting next to me was watching Lost Season 1 on her pretty white Mac laptop -- thank God I didn't splash her. Also, mom was right...you should always have a complete change of clothes (and by complete I mean Including Clean Underwear) in your carry-on. Saved by a Momism!
On the shuttle to the resort, I met the most interesting person...an 85 year-old man, VERY talkative, who was heading back to his condo after ferrying an old 747 around the world...literally. He rattled off the places he had been in the last week of "work" (he's actually a volunteer) -- including Turkey and Singapore. He told us his life story, from when he first learned to fly at age 13, to his military training during WWII, to the fact that he could ferry planes now due to the fact that he was the "last of his line," thanks to all the radiation he was exposed to during his military career (a little TMI, but like I said, VERY talkative). I'm one of those strange people who could listen to stories like that all day; older people fascinate me. One of my roommates, Renee, told me later that there is a whole group of older retirees who ferry these hulking, ancient aircraft around; they're called the Confederate (or Commemorative) Air Force. I got goosebumps just talking to the guy. Made my day!
When I got to CE, I checked into my room and called Julie (my SIStv angel), who lives in Phoenix. We were hoping to meet up, but unfortunately we got the day we were to meet mixed up and she was without a ride, bummer. Later I sent her the Little Miss Chatterbox magnetic notepad I found for her at Target's dollar spot. Yup, I attract the talkers, hee.
As I walked around the resort, I kept *thinking* I recognized people from a tiny 100x100 pixel photo at the Yahoo group site, but alas, no one had name tags yet and I was too shy to approach anyone. I wandered around by the pool in that wonderful "dry heat" of Arizona, which I usually relish, but since it was the end of monsoon season there were mosquitoes bigger than crows out there, and they were going for jugulars.
There was a treasure/scavenger hunt going on, sponsored by Oriental Trading Company, but I didn't even have to get out my map -- I just followed the crowds of women gathering around styrofoam treasure chests. You had to sign the book inside to be entered for prize drawings on Saturday night, so I did my thing and went back inside before getting eaten alive.
I realized it was 5:30 p.m. local time, which meant 8:30 p.m. *my* time, and all I'd had to eat was a box "lunch" (Snacks of Doom) on the plane (I ate dried sausage...that's a first) almost 4 hours prior. I had dinner scheduled with my Circle Journal gals at 6:30 p.m., but knew I couldn't wait (until 9:30 p.m.) to eat dinner. I also realized some alcohol would loosen me up a bit; I was wound tight with anticipation and shyness. Sure enough, a beer and a chicken enchilada or two later, and Josiane (of the CJ group) came right up to me; I was able to smile, relax, say hello, and act like an adult, not a middle-schooler.
This also helped me keep my expenses down at dinner; we were given all meals with our registration for Friday and Saturday, but I was on my own the rest of the time. I split a salad with Susan ("in NY" -- there were no less than FIVE Susans on the Yahoo board...also a lot of Michelles...it was hard to keep everyone straight without a face for the name). The salad had an amazing creamy garlic dressing that I was hoping would keep the mosquitoes at bay, but alas...I did not venture outside again that evening to test my theory.
It was fantastic to meet IRL all of the ladies whose journals I had worked on in turn over the last year; I'm so glad I got in on the first round Circle Journal right after winning my "Golden Ticket" last October. I knew from CKU-Detroit to find & join the complimentary Yahoo group (I even joined the 2007 CE group, waiting for the 2008 group to form!).
The artwork that rolled by as each more complete album crossed my desk was increasingly inspiring and each journal really challenged me as a scrapbook "artist." I can only hope that my work was up to par!
picture courtesy of Shannon Coyne.
Back row: Susan (in NY), Elsa (Canada), Shermala (Kansas), Shannon the Great (organizer of all CE swaps, Arizona), Carolyn (my "mailer" from Maine), Keri (Texas); front row: me!, Josiane (Texas), and Shari (another Michigander!)
After dinner, I headed up to Shannon's welcome party...60 women, even in a suite, was too dang hot for me, so I ran downstairs with most of them to stalk Tim Holtz and see his reaction to Shari's T.I.T. (Totally Into Tim) buttons. Hee!
I will say this about Tim...I don't think that guy ever has a bad day. Here come 35 women charging at him and he stood up with a smile and had us all laughing about his fear of heights (discovered suddenly when he was taken to a hot air balloon ride...and couldn't get out of the car) in about five minutes. Must be all that grungeboard he sniffs, or perhaps his alcohol inks. Whatever, he is one cool dude. His project was the only one we finished in class. Okay, from now on I am dotting the "i" in Tim's name with a heart whenever I can.
Exhasuted, I finally retired to my room around 11 p.m. (still calculating the time change, that made it 2 a.m. for me...soon, I would have to stop doing that) and met Renee, with whom I shared a room for 4 nights, and we each settled into our full- (not queen, as touted) sized beds, after watching a bit of the (ugh) RNC and discovering Tina Fey's double running for VP with McCain. Spooky!
More on Days 2-5 as I have time...thanks for reading so far!