I woke up at 8am this morning and traveled to Birmingham International Airport. Why? So I could fly to Tampa and attend the 45th annual NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts)!!!
I flew Southwest and had a whole row to myself. It was a super short flight though. For the last half hour it felt like my left ear was going to explode. The honey roasted peanuts and diet coke were delicious, though.
My friend Mrs. Teresa picked me up at the airport and we ate PF Chang's (lunch) and Cheddars (dinner) and lollygagged. I had missed her so much and she is always such a joy to be around. I'm staying at the Howard Johnson. This hotel is pretty old school. Especially the gym, where I got in my workout (yay me!). The elliptical looks like its straight out of some 80s work out DVD. Also, when the air conditioner is on it looks like a scared, shaky person is standing behind the curtain. Cre-e-py. I have no fridge or microwave, so it looks like I'm going to be doing a lot of eating out. My diet is screwed. ONLY for this week though. I'll be back with a vengeance when I get home. It's not like I'm going to go eat a Thickburger or anything, I just won't be able to monitor my eating as well.
I think I'm really starting to feel like a grown-up. I know that sounds silly, but it really hit me in the shower. I got on a plane by myself and flew to a strange city alone. I checked into a hotel and unloaded my things and have been maneuvering this city like a real-life-adult. I got a cab by myself (scary story, more later). I'm not saying I'm ready to conquer the world as an adult or anything, but I feel more self-reliant. I've always been able to depend on a parent or boyfriend or teacher or friend to help me do things; but here, today...there was just me. It's unnerving and freeing all at once.
So...cab story. I walked out of the convention center after the exhibition reception was over and I couldn't find the Howard Johnson shuttle. I had Geoffrey on the phone (it makes me feel safer for some reason) and decided I should try to call the hotel. I hung up and while I was searching for the number an guy in a sketchy looking (Hybrid Courtesy Cab) stopped in the middle of the road and rolled down his window and said "Hey, Miss, do you need a ride?" I said no because my first thought was that he was a fake cabbie and was luring me into a trap (there's that small town mindset for you). I said "No thanks!" very shakily and uncertainly. He didn't give up. He told me the shuttles were probably late because of the hockey game and I should ride with him because he's take me to my hotel for free. Now, let me stop here to tell you that I'm the person who screams at people in horror movies and ridicules them for falling into such obvious traps. When it came my time to choose, however, I threw caution to the wind when I heard the word "free." I got in. The cab had all the mileage equipment and looked pretty legit, and the driver seemed nice enough, but I was still on edge. He was driving like a maniac and cursing the shuttle drivers for being late blah blah hockey blah. I was just thinking about how dumb I was and about which one of my keys would make the best defensive weapon. I then realized I didn't have my seatbelt on, so I started fiddling with it. I was shaking really bad and I couldn't figure out where it went, and I think he could tell I was nervous. Just when I started to relax, he asked "Do you have a cell phone?" "AHHHHH!!! He's going to rob me! This is a scam! A trap! What should I say? Can I jump out at the next light?" was what I was thinking. "Yes..." was what I said. He then gve me his cell phone number, told me his name was Harry, and said I should call him if I needed another ride. I looked out the window and we were in the circular drive of the Howard Johnson. I tipped him five bucks.
I googled it when I got to my room. Turns out Courtesy Cabs is a service of University of Tampa intended to promote student safety. Of course it is. I've never felt more naive.
Anyway, here are some of the pictures I've taken so far. Many more to come, hopefully!
This person's work was so clean. Excellent craftsmanship and form.
One of the display walls in the gallery space. Sorry for the blur, I was making an attempt at covertness.
Tom Coleman, Elaine Coleman's husband's work.
Cute cups with nice glazes. Yellow?!?
ELAINE COLEMAN?!? I touched this...
Lovely work. Some of it looked screen printed.
Really yummy glaze.
Above the clouds.