Going on a trip (TNNA) 2007
This is an old blog post from our visit to TNNA in San Diego, CA 2007. Donna will be attending the TNNA conference in Phoenix, AZ in early 2012.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Hi Everyone. Dom and I are going on a trip next week. We’re visiting San Diego, where we lived from 1989 to 1998. I’ll be teaching and doing a book singing at The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA), and we’ll be visiting some old friends and doing some tourist stuff we never got around to while we lived in California. We’re definitely planning a whale watching trip with Birch Aquarium at Scripps. We’ll be going to some museums, eating at some favorite restaurants, and just hanging out. Check back every day starting on January 10th for updates. We’ll leaving on Wednesday and trying to get to the other side of the mountains
Thursday, January 11, 2007
We’ve arrived at Carole’s B&B in North Park. The trip was uneventful. I’ll post more later, after we get some photos off of our cameras. We passed by Mira Mesa Boulevard on the way here, and had to take a detour to see our old condo. Damn, I wish we still lived here. But there’s no way we could afford it unless we both got full-time jobs. Not going to happen.
OK, got the cameras set up. Here is a picture of our old condo. I forgot how pretty it is here in winter. A few trees have leaves changing color and some have already gone into a winter dormant state, but most plants stay green and many flowering plants bloom in winter. I like snow in winter, but I like flowers in winter better. Click the pictures to see a bigger version.
Here’s a shot by the pool. Notice the two trees in the background with flowers. And the pool is open all year. I don’t remember if it’s heated. There’s a laundry room and exercise room by the pool, but all of the condos also had laundry room closets on the back porch. That was the first place Dom & I lived where we did not have to go to the laundromat or laundry room to wash our clothes. We’ll never go back. Alas, I will never go back to working a full-time job in a cubicle ever again, so it looks like we’ll have to stay in Colorado where we can afford to live and to have a life at the same time. (No offense to our friends in Colorado. You are great. But I just don’t love CO the way I love CA.)
As I said, the trip was uneventful. We made it all the way here with clear blue skies, although it’s cloudy and a little drizzly here in San Diego tonight. At least we did not see any falling snow or icy roads en route. We brought our Sony PSP so we could watch recorded TV and movies in the car, and Dom got some great photos of scenery on the way and he’ll be posting a complete photo album. When he gets that done, I’ll post a link.
We’re both beat, even though Dom does most of the driving because he drives faster than me (which, not incidentally is probably why he gets tickets all the time and I never do). More tomorrow. I teach a knitting class tomorrow afternoon but the morning is free. We might meet with a friend or go to Balboa Park, which is right around the corner from the B&B.
Day 1 Friday, January 12, 2007
Day 1 in San Diego is over. We spent the morning walking around at Sea Port Village. In this picture, you see me pouting because we don’t live here any more. We had Greek gyros for lunch, looking out over the San Diego Bay, and we behaved ourselves and did not feed the pigeons or seagulls.
After lunch, I taught a class this afternoon on designing your own knitted lace. I had about 16 students who were all yarn shop owners, and I think everyone had a great time and the students were all on their way to knitting a swatch of their unique lace chart before the class ended. My feet are tired though. I have to work all day tomorrow, too. Actually, I only have a book signing for 1 hour, but I also have a bunch of meetings with editors I already work with and a couple I’d like to work with. Then we are on our own for tourism and relaxation.
Oh yeah, maybe we could afford to live here if this was our house. Not!
Day 2, Museums and TNNA
Hey all, sorry this trip is not as exciting sounding as my past trips to Alaska. But it is quite exciting from this end. Yesterday I spent the day at TNNA, and Dom went to the “guy museums” at Balboa Park. I didn’t want him to be bored while I was working, and we won’t have time to go to all of the museums together during our remaining days here, so after dropping me off at the convention center, Dom headed over to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum and the San Diego Automotive Museum.
He said he took pictures and put them on this computer, but I can’t find them. But you can check out our full trip photo album here (click on this photo to go to the album):
NO LINK AVAILABLE
I didn’t teach anything at TNNA on Saturday, so I had time to walk around the show floor and have meetings. I am SO glad this is not a show that sells to customers on the showfloor, because I’d have broken my “knit from my stash” vow 100 times already. What an amazing experience though, and shop owners must have the worst time figuring out what to put on their shelves. It’s really important though, because the choices of the shop owner are what make each shop unique and their personality shows through clearly as soon as you enter a shop.
In the morning, I first went to the Designer and Teacher meeting to find out what kinds of things TNNA is planning to help designers and teachers. I never joined in the past because it seemed like the organization’s focus was so much on wholesaler and retailer members. But they recently started a designer teacher section, and had some pre-show online marketing along with a group blog, that seemed to get a lot of attention over the last couple of weeks. Everyone at the meeting had great ideas for getting designers and teachers more involved in TNNA and in finding ways that TNNA can help promote designers and teachers, so I think it’s going to be an exciting year from that standpoint. I’ll be signing up for the TNNA Designer yahoo group as soon as I get home and can use my real computer again.
I also met with editors from a couple of different publishers yesterday morning, and have some new project ideas that you’ll be hearing about on my main blog over the next few months. I also got word that my Kitty Knits book was accepted by a publisher, so WOOHOOO! I’ll be getting the details of that worked out over the next few weeks, and it will be coming out in January of 2008.
It is alway fun to meet my email colleagues and friends face to face, and that was my main adventure yesterday. I met at least 20 people that I’ve been talking to in email, and now we actually have met. I love email and hate the phone, but face to face meetings are by far the best, fastest, and easiest way to get things done. I got more accomplished in 5 hours yesterday than I could in a month of emails.
After lunch (and the convention center, amazingly, had a terrific pear salad with dried cranberries and nuts in it available at the cafe!), I had a book signing for Arctic Lace in the Unicorn booth. They had two book signings going on at the same time, and I was scheduled across from Lilly Chin. And, another WOOHOOO!, my line seemed to be as long as hers. Granted, it was hard to tell who was in what line, because it was so mobbed and some people were getting both books signed, but I signed all of the books they had arranged for my signing in a flash. I couldn’t believe it, actually. Because I’d never been to TNNA before, I had no idea what to expect from firsthand experience. Everyone had told me that there were huge lines for the book signings, but I wasn’t sure I believed them. As it turns out, they were not exaggerating.
After the book signing, I met with Joanne Turcotte, the design director from Plymouth Yarn and Cheryl Potter, owner of Cherry Tree Hill Yarn. I design for both of these yarn companies on a regular basis, and I was thrilled to see so many of my designs hanging up in Cheryl’s booth.
Well, I hope that gives you some idea of the excitement I’m feeling here. I couldn’t write last night because I fell asleep. This morning I have a couple of last meetings, one with an editor and two with authors whose work I’m editing, and then I’m done with work for this trip. This afternoon, we’re heading up to Escondido for a party with some old friends.
Day 3 Monday, January 15, 2007
Not much time to write about day 3 this morning. I went to TNNA in the morning for a couple of meetings, we stopped at Balboa Park for a quick look at a couple of museums, and then we headed up to Escondido for a party with some old friends. It was terrific, and I’ll write more about it tomorrow. I didn’t bring my camera, but my friend Rich brought his and took tons of pictures, so I’ll post more after I have some photos to add.
A year or so ago, I read the book Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks. I loved this book for two reasons. One, it made me want to get off my lazy ass and do some interesting things with interesting people. Don’t get me wrong, I totally love my life and friends in Colorado, but with Dom’s very very early hours at work and my work-at-home job, we don’t get out much. And Sacks gave me the bug to get out again. The second reason I loved this book is that it sounded like something I would/could write. I tend to hate everything I write, and generally feel like I’ll never be a very good writer. I also tend to love everything Oliver Sacks writes, and generally feel like he is a great writer. So to read a journal that he wrote and realize that it sounds incredibly similar to my own journal writing was a punch in the arm. (Is that the right figure of speech? One thing we were talking about last night is how we rarely use the figures of speech that our parents and grandparents used any more.) So, if Oliver Sacks writes journals that sound like my journals, maybe I can write books that are as good as his books.
And I said all that to say this, the only way Oliver Sacks could write a journal that was meaty enough to turn into a book after a 10 day trip is because he is single. He must spend all of his free time writing. I, on the other hand, spend my free time with Dom, talking, and doing, well, other stuff besides writing.
That’s it for now. More about our actual trip later. Today we are going to the zoo.
P.S. Please disregard the preponderance of typos on this travel blog. We brought our tiny 1-1/2 lb Sony Vaio Picture book instead of our full sized laptops and I am SO not used to this mini keyboard any more. I don’t spend time proofing or correcting spelling on blogs when I travel, either!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Fiber & Personal Musings
For those fiber enthusiasts amongst my readers, there is fiber related content below.
For friends and voyeurs, here’s some personal content. You’ll have no doubt by now notice that I have not gotten around to posting much about what we’ve been doing here since TNNA ended. Mostly hanging out with friends and doing touristy things, but also checking out the real estate and job markets.
Last time I visited San Diego, I stayed for 10 years. I’d do the same today, and not even go back to Colorado to get my stuff, if I could. But at this point in my life, I am not mentally ready to start over at ground zero again. I’ve been in a funk all week, at the same time as being thrilled to be here, and I’ve been awake every night trying to figure out what I think about all of this. So what I’m writing now is an attempt to figure out what I think by putting it into words.
After I moved to San Diego from Tennessee in the late 1980s, I had recurring nightmares that I somehow left California and got stuck somewhere else in the country and could not afford to get back to the West Coast. When we moved here, I thought I would stay here forever, because it is my favorite place of anywhere I have ever lived (and, incidentally, since I’ve left, it is the only place I have left behind that I’ve ever missed). So here I am living my nightmare, except that I also love my life in Colorado. I just don’t, I have come to realize, actually love Colorado. In fact two of my friends in Longmont are also from San Diego, which is undoubtedly just a coincidence, but I am going to pretend I think it’s some kind of a sign.
So, anyway, today Dom and I sort of decided to start looking for a condo here. A small palce that we can buy as a second home and maybe retire to when our CO house is paid off and we are sick of gardening and yard work. Dom said, “I knew this would happen if we came here. That’s why I never suggested coming here for a vacation before.” He jumped at the chance to leave when I said I wanted to go to Colorado, because he always wanted to own a house and we were never in the right place at the right time to be able to afford on in California.
So, I’m still not sure what I think. I don’t see how I could ever have quit my day job and written two books and supported myself as a freelancer without moving to Colorado and drastically cutting my expenses. And I didn’t start missing San Diego until last year, after visiting Vegas and getting a whiff of nearby California on the breeze. So, as usual, I have no regrets about the decisions I’ve made that led to my current situation, but, DAMN, I miss this place and the people here. If I left Colorado, I don’t think I’d miss it at all (although I would miss some new friends, that’s not the same as missing the place).
OK, enough whining and thinking aloud. If it works out, we’ll buy a condo as a second home here and on the jacket copy for future books, I’ll say, “Donna Druchunas lives in Colorado and California.” Now Dom just has to find a job that is as portable as mine, so we can come here for a month as a time!
Now here’s the promised fiber content. I have not searched out any yarn shops here, because I’m on the “knitting from your stash” bandwagon until September (with an allowance to buy yarn when I am in England and Lithuania). I haven’t knitted all week, either. I did bring a sweater with me to work on, but during the trip here I sat or stepped on my bamboo needles and broke one, so I’ve been resting my hands.
One day during our trip (I’ve totally lost track), we went to the Mingei International Museum at Balboa Park. They have an exhibit called OF GOLD AND GRASS — Nomads of Kazakhstan, which opened October 21 and continues through April 15, 2007. This exhibit included some wonderful felted rugs. The signs near the rugs said they were woven felt, but they were obviously not woven. I am always amazed at the errors in museum descriptions of textiles. (When I was researching The Knitted Rug, I could never trust museum descriptions of crocheted and knitted rugs without examining the stitches myself.) These rugs were, on close inspection, made directly of matted wool fibers that were felted without being woven or knitted into a fabric beforehand. I have seen this process demonstrated at the Estes Park Wool Market in the past, but I have not yet tried it myself. I enjoyed this exhibit, especially because it showed the rich history of the people of Kazakhstan, in contrast to the ridiculous depiction in the film Borat. I also learned from an article in the San Diego Downtown News that Kazakhstan is actually a very progressive country for the region, and women there work, drive, and are able to recieve an education. Sort of like Iraq was before we “liberated” the people there. (One thing I don’t like about my Colorado self is the negativity that has largely consumed my outlook. I don’t blame Colorado or myself for that, however, but the state of the world since 2000.)
The second fiber tidbit is from theSan Diego Zoo. While we were there (walking, incidentally, up and down steep hills with no problem breathing, something that does not happen in Colorado!), we saw Takins. Granted, these are not the most exciting residents of this zoo, but they are most likely the closest relative to the musk ox that is alive today. In fact, the sign at the animals’ enclosure, said they are sometimes considered a type of “forest musk ox”. Just like the musk oxen in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, these animals have evolved a double-layer coat of fur that protects them from extreme cold. They have an outer coat of guard hair and an inner coat of down, although I have never heard of their fur being used for creating yarn. They are hunted for meat, however, and have been losing habitat quickly from development in China.
In the wild, Takins live in the same areas as the Giant Pandas, who are probably the most popular resident of the San Diego Zoo. The Pandas (like Koalas) looked fake to me, even when I saw them up close and in person. They are just so cute and cuddly looking that it’s hard to believe they are real, wild animals and not animatronics. Good thing I’m not a conspiracy theorist, huh?
Whew! Wednesday, January 17, 2007
More visits with friends, more museums at Balboa Park, more sight seeing at favorite places…. I am ready to go home though. I miss my kitty cats and my house (especially my own bed). My mother emailed Dom, all excited when she read that we might buy a condo here. She said, “You can’t move back to San Diego without me,” and mentioned that she’d even maybe be willing to get a full time job here. But, no, we will not be moving back here. Mom is partially retired and she’s worked her butt off for enough years. She should enjoy taking some time off.
Mom, if you’re reading this, we won’t have bad winters every year! Most of the time Colorado is beautiful and I am not willing to get a full time job in order to move back to San Diego.
Wherever Dom and I go, we always fantasize about buying a second home there. Soon, we’ll actually buy one. The way I feel today, it will probably be a small condo in San Diego but we could change our minds. Only time (and a budget evaluation!) will tell. A lot of people we talked to here are actually jealous of our new lifestyle, because we don’t have to work so much and we can work on personally fulfilling projects. There’s no perfect place and finding your best niche is all about priorities and compromise.
Tomorrow after breakfast, we head off to Las Vegas where we’ll be spending one night on the way home. We’ll get home Friday, catch up on things over the weekend, and get back to the regular routine on Monday.
We’re home! Sunday, January 21, 2007
We’re home. I drove from San Diego to Las Vegas on Thursday, and Dom drove the rest of the way on Friday. It’s not a fair division of mileage, but I hate driving and I get really sore and cranky after 3 or 4 hours and Dom can drive 12 hours without feeling fatigued (or so he says, anyway). I was totally exhausted on Friday, too. I was going to drive for a few hours in the middle of the trip, but I got a really bad headache and I fell asleep, so Dom just kept driving.
We didn’t do anything in Vegas either, no connecting with friends, no gambling, not stopping in to see what was happening at TAM5. We got there, ate dinner, and went to bed. I fell asleep at 8:30 and slept for 11 hours. We stayed in the AmeriSuites hotel off the strip. It’s a business hotel with the only free wi-fi in Vegas, and it has no casino. Our original trip plans included staying in Vegas for the weekend to do all of the aforementioned things, but I’m glad we shortened the trip. Not just to save a few bucks toward our trip to Europe this summer, but because we were too tired and we would not have enjoyed ourselves. As it is, we get to do nothing for most of this weekend.
The funny thing about this trip is that I felt like I was coming home going in both directions. The feeling was a little stronger driving into San Diego, but the same sense of belonging hit me as we drove into Colorado and after we came over the mountains and started down into the populated Front Range area. I still would have stayed in SD for 10 years again on this visit if there were any financial possibility of doing so. Not at this time, not if I want to maintain the lifestyle I’ve created, not if I want to continue to pursue a career as a writer without getting a full-time day job. I do love my house, too. It’s not so fancy, but it suits my needs just fine and I still couldn’t afford anything bigger than a condo in California.
We had a great trip, both the TNNA part and the vacation part, but it was more exhausting than our typical travels. Dom and I usually veg out in the evenings when we travel, and I do the same when I travel to teach. But on this trip, I worked or we did tourist stuff all day, and then we got together with friends at night. So it was a double shot and a double drain of energy!
I can’t believe we haven’t really been in touch with our friends from San Diego for almost 9 years. If there’s one thing I regret in my life it’s that I don’t keep in touch with my friends enough. Because I’ve lived in several places instead of staying put, it seems like I keep leaving friends behind (of course some move away from me and some die, but that’s another topic entirely). I guess there’s no excuse since it’s so easy to keep in touch by email, but somehow weeks, months, and years slip away and I hardly notice. And here we all are with grey hair (although some of us hide it under other colors!). How depressing.
I want to write more about this, but it just makes me feel bad, so I’m going to close out this trip blog and go back to posting about fiber and knitting on my main blog. But one thing’s for sure, I won’t wait another 9 years to visit San Diego again. TNNA is a fine excuse to make the trip every year.