October 7, 2002
Wow. Where do I start? I’m back from JournalCon, and it was big fun. There was so much to do and so many people to meet and so little time in which to do it all. I’m sitting here struggling with my jet lagged brain, trying to make sense of the notes I took and turn them into an entry which captures the experience without boring anyone who’s not me to tears with an overabundance of detail. (Except now that I think about it, if you’re still here after the practically stitch-by-stitch quilt entries, you’re obviously not put off by too much detail, so perhaps I worry too much. Perhaps? Ha! Definitely I worry too much. Anxiety seems hardwired into my brain along with my love of detail—thanks, Dad. Of course, I expect some of you just got here and haven’t been exposed to the “first I picked this fabric and then I picked that one” stuff. I welcome you and hope you like detail, too. If not, I fondly bid you farewell.)
The weekend started on Thursday, when I worked half a day from home and took the other half off to pack and get my swag to a state in which I could finish it without the need to use electric appliances or sharp objects. When I last talked about my swag here, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen due to the effective destruction of my sewing machine pedal by one guinea pig who would be in big trouble if he weren’t so cute. Fortunately, the replacement I bought worked even though it wasn’t a certified aftermarket part and I was able to go on my merry sewing way. An hour before we had to leave for the airport, I was ironing the last of the quilt sandwiches. I’d gotten realistic (well, as realistic as someone who decides to make a tens of tiny quilts in a week can get) and decided there was no way I could actually quilt the blocks, so fusible batting would have to do as a layer-holding together strategy. I packed the fused blocks, a bottle of Aleene’s tacky glue, and a big clump of magnets, figuring I would just finish as many as I could on the plane.
Swag materials packed, I still had forty-five minutes left before we had to leave for the airport. The fusible batting evidently gives off some mind-altering fumes when heated, because I decided the perfect thing to do at that point would be paint my fingernails. Yeah, fresh nail polish and schlepping luggage to the airport are a good combination. Earlier, I’d done my toenails in a deep purple, the first time they’d been colored since the whole “is it or is it not fungus” saga began. Why I felt that was a good use of time I cannot say, since I was not packing sandals and didn’t plan to stroll around the Con barefoot. Still, with fancy toes, fancy fingers seemed like the next logical step, so I broke out my new bottle of Sally Hansen Nail Prisms in Purple Diamond and quickly slicked on two coats over a base coat and under two coats of Orly Sec ‘n Dry. Very sparkly, but subtly so. Perfect. That left half an hour before departure. Time to relax, right? No, time to hard boil some eggs that were nearing the end of their useful life. Mr. Karen came home about the same time as I was pulling the pot off the stove, and shortly after that we headed off to Metro. Checking in went pretty smoothly, though I now know that packing a large clump of magnets in one’s bag is an excellent way to get it pulled off for extra inspection. Packing them underneath four still warm hard boiled eggs is a good way to get bonus quizzical looks from the security guy, too.
On the plane to San Francisco, I inserted the magnets into the little quilts and glued the tops shut. I needed almost every minute of the close to 4-hour flight time, but I got them all done (well, except the three I left at home—the one I sewed backwards and the two I was saving for people who wouldn’t be there but might want one anyway). I really need to stop making fun of Martha Stewart, because, despite the fact I am nowhere near her level of obsession and perfection, as evidenced by the skewed seams on some of my blocks, I am obviously her sister under the skin. Normal people read on airplanes, or sleep, or work on their laptops. Normal people do not spend their time doing elaborate craft projects and crawling around in the aisle looking for the top to the bottle of glue that rolled off the tray table. I was not normal, yet I felt a great sense of satisfaction as I put the stacks of swag, now complete, into my bag before we landed.
Friday morning we slept in before plunging off into the city to do some power sightseeing before JournalCon registration started at four that afternoon. We walked along Maiden Lane and across Union Square, rode a cable car, strolled next to the water and took pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, toured the Maritime Museum, ate chocolate in Ghirardelli Square and seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf, enjoyed some of the street performers near Pier 39, took the trolley back toward the hotel, tried to go to the observation deck at the Transamerica building but were told it was no longer open to the public, and finally walked through Chinatown before returning to the hotel. I am happy to report that should I ever find myself in San Francisco in need of a rhinestone tiara and scepter, postcards of oiled up pretty boys in Speedos and bleached blondes in bikinis, Winnie the Pooh pencils, and a cheongsam, I now know of more than one shop where I could go and buy everything on my list.
We picked up our JournalCon packets and nametags and met a few people. Because I wasn’t quite ready to plunge into the group dynamic, as evidenced by my behaving like a complete dork when introducing myself to Weetabix, and because we are nuts, Mr. Karen and I then raced off to Coit Tower to satisfy our previously thwarted need to see the city from up high. The view was great, and we got to meet a sailor who was up there taking pictures of a ship he had captained until just recently. Our looking down on things jones satisfied, we walked back to the hotel, and joined the rest of the Con attendees gathering for the opening remarks.
Coming up next: Part 2 – The Real Fun Begins.