What a bummer! I woke up at 3:45 am Friday so that I could bathe and catch my ride at 4:30 to the Melbourne airport in time for my 6:20 am flight. EXCEPT we sat and waited in the gate and then on the plane because the oxygen bottle in the cockpit was depleted. The technicians worked on it, but the ultimate solution was that a team had brought a bottle from Orlando and installed it. The suspicious part of my nature says that they knew it would be a 2-hour delay, but they cozied us along in 15-minute increments. That's when I was grateful that I had an unusually long layover in Atlanta so I didn't have a problem with my connection to Phoenix. My flight onward was uneventful.
After checking into my hotel room, I unpacked my belongings and then headed to the convention center. Phoenix has a light rail system which happened to run next to my hotel. To encourage guests to utilize the light rail, the hotel provided 2 free daily passes. As a life-long small town resident with no public transit systems experience (except for the bus system in Madison, WI), I am always curious about trying them. I arrived in the area of the convention center. There were these massive, block-long edifices with negligible signage. Duh! How can I tell if you are the North building if you don't have a sign on this side of the building? And where is the entrance to your building? Even after 3 days, I still had trouble finding where the entrance was. Think about it--it's easy when there are hordes going in, but if no one is in sight, now we have a problem. I eventually located the entrance, went inside, and of course the show registration was on the 3rd floor. But people were already lining up for entrance into Sample It! (where some vendors sell pre-packaged items, like a dozen magnets or 3 canvases) which was on the first floor.
On the 3rd floor, I picked up my preregistration packet and name tag. Upon consideration, I decided that Needle Nicely didn't need anything so instantly that I should sit in line for another 45 minutes and then endure the hordes in Sample It! I don't like crowds or rude people (and last year's experience was still a painful memory) so I decided I would take the light rail back to my hotel where I could study the show book in the quiet of my room. And I did. I ordered a Caesar salad from room service which I enjoyed in quiet solitude.
I overslept the next morning, but moved quickly so I managed a bit of breakfast before joining some other shopowners on the hotel shuttle. (You understand that classes Saturday and Sunday mornings were at 7:45-9:45). Made the convention center in plenty of time to locate my classroom ahead of the crowd. I wanted to sit on an end so I could access the plugs in case the lighting was bad. I did get an end near a wall plug, but the lights were quite bright and my lamp wasn't necessary. The class was a Susan Roberts design and was taught by Sandra Arthur.
I had signed up for the class because it promised instructions on felting on needlepoint canvas. Also, I had heard that Sandra Arthur was a personable teacher. And she is. As it turned out, Susan and her friend (and mine) Nancy Jefferson were the class "angels", who assist the teacher by checking off names, collecting money, class registration cards, etc., etc. I took the opportunity before class started to present Susan with my gift tote bag with her needlepoint logo. She was pleasantly surprised by the gift.
Sandra wisely started out the class by demonstrating how to needle felt the hind leg of the reindeer. I had tried it on my own and feel more confident to do it better after her instructions. Those needles are brutal!!
On to the opening of the market. TNNA always has an opening ceremony and I managed a rather weak photograph of the Native Americans performing the opening blessing.
I apologize for the poor photograph so you can't see the Indian maiden doing hand movements to the blessing. She's on the left in the white suede.
I've been in the needlepoint industry for almost 40 years, so when I come to market I encounter many friends. I try to control myself. I'm allowed to chat, but the first day I must cover the entire market and pick up current price lists. My ordering will come the next two days or, since I have the price lists, I can even order from home. Thank goodness TNNA provides a "package drop" so you can leave items throughout the day for pick-up at the end of the day. It was especially helpful this first day since all those pricelists are heavy.
I'm sorry, Phoenix, but the lunch vendors on the show floor offer terrible selections. Somehow I remembered the food court on the first floor. So down I went and found a great pizza and pasta place where I had a slice every day thereafter. But, I'm a coca-cola fan and the entire convention center has only Pepsi. Sigh. Water will do, barely. While there, I caught halftime of the Green Bay/Dallas game and Green Bay was really behind.
After a long day walking on carpeted concrete, I took the light rail back to my hotel where I conned a young man at the front desk to let me into the gift shop (which never was open while I was in residence). I could see bottles of coca-cola on the back wall. I bought 2. Then I went to my room where I watched some NFL football and had another room-service dinner. I heard to my surprise that Green Bay had come back to win the earlier game. Thank goodness for being in Phoenix, I actually managed to see the end of the game before I fell asleep.
To be continued----