Monday, June 22, 2009


How about 17 hours? Argh! Was a long, tiring haul, but there was an end in sight.

I was the navigator for most of the trip. Why? Well, probably two reasons. Number One would be it was Lynne's car and Lynne LOVES to drive (a control thing, lol? Nope, probably because I'm a more conservative driver. Read: Sticks to 10-15 km [or 5-7 miles] over the speed limit ); Number Two - I don't need glasses to read the map and I'm a pretty good map reader/navigator. The rub? I need the right map!

Yup, that helps . Lynne grabbed her "Yahoo" map that got us to the hotel (note the last three words "to the HOTEL" - very important). It was on the last page that got us there. Si
mple then, right? Just work backwards and change the W to E (east) the S to N (north). Yup, Lynne says, that'd work. Okay, so off we go, no problems... we had one issue up around the town of "Normal" (an oxymoron) 'cause we thought maybe we needed to turn off or... so we got off the ramp, realized we were indeed going the right direction, and did a circle and got back on the I-74. Problem solved. Time taken: maybe 5-10 minutes.

We're on our w
ay, smooth sailing 'til we get to I-94. Map says to merge onto I-69. Okay. We got here with these directions and our TripTik so why question success? Flip to next page (first page) and go to Provinicial Route 402... Nooooooooo, we don't wanna go to Sarnia! That's about 2 hours North that we don't need to go! That's the Sarnia crossing map, not the Detroit/Windsor one we came down on (much prettier crossing and scenery, but we just want to boogie, lol)! We used the "Sarnia" instructions for the last couple directions that took us RIGHT TO THE DOOR OF THE HOTEL!

Okay my driver says, get me back on route. Navigator (me) says take 127 S the second
you see it and that'll take us back to Jackson and the I-94 E which we will NOT get off of 'til Detroit and the border crossing. HeeHeeHee. Questions ensue and I say, just drive and do what I say, "I know how to read a map". What bravado, but whew, it worked, lol. Time taken messing around and going a bit out of our way - about 1/2 to 3/4's of an hour. No biggie. Ya, right says the driver. Next rest stop, I get the keys. And I'm not giving them up for 4 hours - that's about all I'm allowed with my conservative driving, lol.

The border. We've put our papers/receipts in order and got our passports ready. First stop the Duty Free shop for ciggies (for Lynne) and booze (for me - gotta mix some more White Russians when I get home - might need them, lol). Purchases made, we proceed through the labyrinth of pilons (geesh, what a mess) to the queue to "check out" of Michigan.

Our turn and I handover the two passports and we answer the standard questions: how long have you been gone? where do you live? how much did you spend? Okay, the customs officer says, that's it, have a nice day. Yahoo. "But WAIT", she says (oh, oh), "what's in that box?" What box? Oh that box (10" x 12" x 30" disreputable looking thing with strips of paper poking out of holes and top). Well, it's just a 29" metal Christmas Tree. A questioning stare, a pregnant pause and she says again, "Okay, have a nice day". Sue, you owe us, lol. Your dang tree just about did us in . Lynne says to me "for heavens sake, what were they thinking? That we would put bad stuff right out in the open?" Uh, Lynne, have you heard the expression "hide in plain sight?", lol.

So off we went, no more direction snafus or time wasters other than a couple more rest stops, gassing up of the car and construction/traffic slowdowns through Toronto. Lots of
deer sightings - safely in fields munching away.

We left Peoria about 6:30 am and arrived home at about 11:30 pm (12:30 pm Ottawa time). Total time for rest stops/gas stops, direction snafus and border... 17 hours. Unload stuff from car, drag to porch, hug my travelling companion and best friend and say good night. Drag my stuff into house as quietly as possible, drag my sorry, tired butt in, try to leave everything so as not to trip anybody in the morning, brush my teeth and crawl into bed. Didn't see daylight 'til about 11 am.

Couple days off before I do a 3 day seminar with Sharon McNamara Black this weekend. What was I thinking?!

~ Shelley

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where was I?

Oh ya, the convention. Well, I also forgot to mention that Marcia (Vanover) and Cheiko had popped by our Meet n' Greet on Wednesday night to say a quick hello and to apologize that they just couldn't stay as they were "bagged" from the first night of the Trade Show. Cheiko donated two of her books for our doorprizes. They were so sweet. I spoke with Marcia the next day (the Thursday) on the Trade floor, at length. What a doll. And Doris? I heard about some of your escapades .

So where was I? Hmmm, ohhhhh, the last day, lol. Woke up early but not very coherent, lol. OMGaaaawd, I said. What have I done? Last day and it's an 8 hour class! Argggh.

It was the best class ever. Yup. Huge 2ft by 2ft canvas Poppies with Shelley Hankins from England. We used large bristle brushes and tube acrylics (5 colours) and just had a ball putzing away and playing "blendy, blendy, blendy" on our pieces. There were 25 in the class and everyone of them looked great. Shelley (bless her heart she spells her name correctly ) was friendly, open, relaxed, funny (sometimes at her own expense, lol). The class was great. I've done blended acrylics before but usually with some extender or Brush n' Blend. Never with really large bristle brushes. This was a little different method and so much fun and a great last day wrap-up. I would definitely recommend her (I understand she submitted quite a few pieces for the next National so hopefully a couple will be chosen at least) and would take a class with her again.

Hit the Trade Show and visited again for a bit on my lunch hour. Saw Elaine Russell and Frances Baker; Donna Slutiak (my new BFF); Patsy Deal; Shirley Nan Ruchong (what a delightful lady); Lisa Curry; Nancy Genetti; Linda Biedermann; kept bumping into (sometimes literally, lol) more of our TF's like Carolyn Nelson (in my poppy class today), Linda Sprouse, Diane Hart, Cindi, Donna, Kathy Doto, Janet, Donna Wessel, Melinda, Kathy Bigham, Linda Hatfield and Linda Sofranko (think the others were avoiding me, lol) ... then it was time to go back to class and finish. Finished early about 3 pm. There were a few hangers-on in the Poppy class but they were 99% done.

Spoke with Lisa and congratulated her and any other SDP Board Member and staff member I could find on a good show.

So... it's now time for dinner then we'll hit the road REAL early tomorrow (probably 5 am for a 15+ hour drive home) and wrap up our awesome week.

For anybody interested, the election results are posted on the SDP site, as well as the certification board results.

~ Shelley

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday - Day 4 of the National Convention

Friday started far too early and far too rudely, lol. I don't think my head had hit the pillow before that alarm was screaming. Argh.

Ran to breakfast and the restaurant was jam-packed with others doing the same. I think everybody must've had 8 am classes today. Enjoyed fruit salad and eggs and a tea biscuit with jam and of course the requisite coffee. Don't know what it is about you Americans in this area , but no creamer or 1/2 and 1/2 to be found (and they just looked at me like I was crazy when I asked, lol), just the coffeemate. Argh. Sorry, just can't do it, so I've been using milk and while it is perfectly fine and the brewed coffee is delicious, it's just not the same for me.

Off to my class with Rebecca. Totally enjoyed it. She is a delight (as is her husband, Bobby). Class packets were organized and items ordered prior to convention arrived without a glitch.

When I was finished my class I checked in with Sharen, but she only had one class to do. As the dinner is later, and I have stuff I need to get done, I just couldn't commit to 5 pm; however I promised her I'd be back for 10 pm again. Oh, I am soooo nice, lol. Maybe I'm just a masochist, lol.

So, went back to hotel, put my stuff away, went to the corner store to get something to eat and then... hit the Trade Show again, lol. Wandered around and schmoozed and had a great relaxing time (oh, and spent more money, lol - well, not a lot, but ... for class tomorrow, the instructions call for very large bristle brushes which I don't have and have never had - 'cept a few small for drybrushing - as I'm here to learn, I felt I needed to breakdown and find some cheapies and make do. Well, I was in luck. Got a couple sets of them at the Royal booth - the Soft-grips - so now I feel prepared to learn and enjoy a new method of painting very large florals tomorrow). Talked with Rebecca, Heather Redick, Bobbie Takashima, Karen Hubbard's husband, some TF's, the ladies at Viking Woodcrafts and more that I just can't recall to note right now. Talk was going on throughout the floor about a huge storm watch and possible tornado coming in and s'posed to hit the area early evening. And while I was in the Civic Centre, there was some rain. Bobbie (Rebecca's husband) ran out to check on the thunder bashes he heard - a veritable storm chaser that one, lol.

Ran into (not literally) Debbie Slavin in the hotel elevator. She was just getting on with a beautiful piece and I looked at it and thought it looked like her hand/style, so of course, I had to ask her if she was "Debbie Slavin" and introduce myself and also thank her for the beautiful lesson she did for us last year (?).

Went back to our hotel and sat down for a breather and to "play" on the 'puter and the storm hit with lots of thunder and lightning and huge rains at about 5 pm. By 5:45 it seemed to have cleared - for now.

Dinner - well, thankfully the storm didn't return and we were able to walk over to the Civic Centre without getting wet (and got back to the hotel later without the promised storms too).

Another WOW! The tables were awesome. Those that had decorated tables had gone all out. Some tables had such "loot" it was almost obscene, lol (okay, that's the green-eyed monster talking ). Again, I took lots of photos and hope that they'll turn out. But nothing can beat the experience of actually being part of this event. Cindi Estes was so excited about her Chapter's entry (INDY Painters) that she just 'bout literally dragged me over to see. I got some great pics of it and will post them later today in my webshots folder. Understandably, they won first place for the Table Decorations. Congratulations.

My friend and awesome designer, Lydia, also decorated a table (which most of the Gateway Decorative Painters sat at - hiya, Gloria and Janie!). The theme? Cats of course. Lydia had just fostered a litter of kittens and of course, they were the models for the centrepiece. She painted on canvas and wrapped it around a beautiful glass vase.

The Gateway Decorative Artists' table was beautifully decorated as well. Another table I lusted after, lol. They had included little scrapbook albums at each placesetting for members to be able to embellish with their own photos and memories of the week (altho' if you didn't add anything more to the albums, they were still gorgeous with the decorating and thought that had gone into each one). Wow.

There were at least 500 for dinner. It was sold out. Most of us circulated and milled about ogling and drooling over the table decorations (and drooling and ooooohing and awwwwwwing). There was a cash bar which many took advantage of (ya, including yours truly - one glass of wine - I'm a cheap drunk, lol) and ice tea and water available at the tables and was refilled when needed. The cheesecake dessert (mocha?) was sitting on top of the coffee mug to the side of each place setting (don't ask me which side because our table didn't seem to follow any etiquette rules, lol). Salads were served and these were followed by a beautifully presented plate of fresh vegetables, twice baked potato (?) and stuffed chicken with a tomato sauce. It was delicious and filling. The wait staff was efficient and polite. Lots of time for chatting with our fellow table guests and enjoy the meal. Then coffee was served and speeches and introductions began. The Chapters that had brought their banners were introduced and made their way across the stage, new Board members introduced, departing Board members thanked and gifted. Jokes, fun, camaraderie. It was a grand evening and one I would definitely repeat at future events should I be lucky enough to attend.

The evening ended with the auctioning of the 4 painted pieces that had been donated to the SDP, I'm sorry I don't remember the 4th, but 3 of them were by Louise Jackson, Peggy Harris and Nancy Bateman. Linda Biedermann took home Peggy's gorgeous sled (that had graced the cover of one of the Decorative Painter issues) for $350.00 - a REAL bargain and a cherished treasure.

I also met our Debbie Doodle. What a sweetie. She'd met Donna Wessel while waiting to enter the ballroom and they got to talking. Donna found me and we chatted. Let me tell you, the lady lies. Yup. I said it, lol. She doesn't look like her crazy painting lady at all - well, maybe in another 30 years or so, but... lol. Just a diminutive little sweet blonde who... wait for it... fell asleep so missed our party! Guess you'll have to wait for another convention to meet her ladies or wait... I just may have a photo that I surrepticiously snapped. Heeheehee - hopefully the gremlins will be kind to me and the pics I took will be fine. I'll look thru them next week. Sorry, but you'll just have to wait.

Yes, it was a great evening and I would encourage any going to future National Conventions to take advantage and sign-up for the Dinner right away so as not to miss out.

~ Shelley

It was a dark and stormy night...

Well, not really, but storms hit at about 5:00 a.m. here (6 a.m. my time, lol) and as we heard later, 3 rooms in our hotel had their windows literally blow INto the room. Yup, mullions and shattered glass. Yikes. No one was hurt but gosh that must've been a good blow. It was sure cause for talk.

I had the morning off so spent a good portion of it relaxing and taking it slow (snail's pace). Wandered to breakfast and met a few people there. Then came back to the room for a bit and went through some of my emails and wrote a note for the blog. Then I wandered over to the Civic Centre.

First stop the Volunteer Booth to get my assignment. I'd promised so thought that I should follow through as I felt I had the night free and someone could probably use a helping hand. With assignment in hand, I headed to the Trade Show to spend my time leisurely going through each exhibit.

I had to see the Certification Boards. Wowsers... inCREDible! I took pics that I hope turn out (too tired right now to offload them from my camera - but I took pics of EVERY single entry). Those that didn't pass remained anonymous, as apparently, it's a way "not to embarass" the submitter. Okay. But honestly, for some (read MOST) of the ones that didn't pass, it must've been by a hair. They are fabulous. Again, I think everyone who submits is a winner. It's an incredible journey that these members go on. I really, really admire them (and their incredible pieces). To see these paintings in the flesh, well, it's almost the only way to really experience them. I was truly awed.

Then I sat in on Tracy Moreau's faux finish demo. Then I ... spent money. Well, what do you think I did? Went through my cash/mad money and had to put a couple things on charge. Well, you know how it is.

Then, it was time for my "job", lol. I went up to my assigned room, which was where the teachers come for their class supplies that have been sent to the site and got right to work, hauling, lugging, panting, walking, and walking, and walking, and... You get the picture. The lady in charge of this area, Sharen, at the Civic Centre was so happy to have me (Sharen is in Brenda's Chapter in Oklahoma - I think). I helped Connie Parkinson, Vicki Tatum, Sharon Hamilton, Diane Bunker and a couple others. After the classes started, I actually got a break. Ooooh, my aching, hot bones (I swear it's not air-conditioned in this building). Talked with Sharen and found out she'd be alone later for the end of the day clean-up. I said "uh-uh, no way, I'll come back to help at 10 pm". She seemed delighted as it is very lonely and very secluded in this building at that late hour. So... off I went for a bit of a rest and then to dinner. Met up with some friends and enjoyed a couple relaxing hours, then another couple friends popped in (hi, Linda Sofranko - waving at ya) and spent another hour chatting and enjoying. Then, ooops, time for my "shift", lol. Didn't get back to my room 'til about 11:30 am with an early morning class for Friday, but what the heck, I made Sharen a happy lady by keeping her company, cutting down the time it took and we accompanied each other safely back to the hotel. Promised her I'd help out Friday after my morning class. If I don't, she knows where to find me, lol - she knows what class.

Next stop Friday's happenings.

~ Shelley

Thursday, June 18, 2009

WHEW again!

My friends and I went to the AGM for the SDP and stayed 'til just past the voting. Then, apologetically, we left. There was just so very much on our plates for the day that we couldn't give everything justice. But the Parade of Flags to start the AGM, the pomp and ceremony, the speeches and introductions... were something that you've just got to experience for yourselves. The slate of members willing to commit their time to volunteer for a position was impressive, and the best part?, there were no "wrong" votes. Every person who willingly put their name forth was a winner in my mind and a devotee to our passion, Decorative Painting. I am sure those who did not "win" are still going to put the hours in for our society and we can count on seeing their names again in future. It was nice to see some new and "young" members come forth too, like Erika Frei. I think we can expect big things from members like her. Lots of enthusiasm and love for this industry. I suspect we will see Erika's name on the ballots again.

My class with Glenice Moore and Jillybean was great. Glenice had just had hand surgery on her right hand and was still smiling and capable through the obvious discomfort. She wanted to give us a good class and she did. The wolf eyes were spellbinding. It was a class of 73. Biggest class I've ever been in, although I know, in past, there have been classes of 100+. We had a large screen to view the piece as it unfolded and a good mic system that enabled us to clearly hear Glenice (and Jillybean later) and also enabled the teacher to walk around and check student pieces. Each student also left with 6 brushes donated by Dynasty and I learned I can create a furry critter with another brush! The possibilities are endless now, lol. Chatted with a few ToleFriends' and past ToleFriends' members (like B.J.) and hoping they'll rejoin our fun.

When Glenice was finished her project with us, it was Jillybean's turn and she was a delight as she kept up a constant conversation throughout her demoing the piece along with us. We learned more about the Traditions paints, Dynasty Wave Brushes and many other tips and tricks that we took away with us.

Then it was time for the Trade Show (Expo) Opening. This was a special "look see" for only registrants of the convention. What a variety. I understand that booth numbers may be down due to the economy, but it was still a sight-to-see all that is available and that you might only hear/see of through others and the internet. Made a quick, cursory run-through and picked up a couple of things (okaaaaay, more than a couple) and am looking forward to a leisurely stroll through there today. I will go and see Donna Talerico and Cindi Estes as well and see if they can't keep me busy filling a volunteer spot somewhere later.

ToleFriends' Meet n' Greet time. Was a little worrisome when I had to track down "someone" to approve and open the room for me, lol. Whew. Not too big a task but initially a bit of a scare. Brought over my huge suitcase full of goodies and with the help of my buddy Lynne (whom I drove down to convention with) we set all the prizes out for display and then proceeded to make the "grab" bags for our members. Gloria arrived with more goodies and our eyes rounded with the task and overwhelming generosity of our artists, designers and businesses. Wow.

We sold raffle tickets for the doorprizes and everyone was very generous. The money collected will be turned over to ToleFriends' to go towards our programs. Thank YOU.

Donna S, bless her heart, kept me on task, lol. So after a brief announcement to the group (altho' by that time, no announcements were really needed as we were all talking [at once, may I add] like old, long lost friends [not old as in OLD, old as in COMFORTABLE!] ), we went through introductions by each person. It was great to put faces to names. I also mentioned how sad we all were/are about losing our Sue M so suddenly and how she would just want us to continue on and be friends and paint, paint, PAINT!

Then the real fun began and we pulled tickets and read numbers. The doorprizes were endless and I think just 'bout everyone left with something, largely in part to the generosity of those with bushels of tickets who had already "won" one or two items. Most graciously declined to accept another doorprize if their number was called and it was given to the next number. Thank you so much. You guys are the ABSOLUTE greatest. Don't ever doubt that. My tickets didn't get called (I'm not really pouting - I got my reward just having the attendance we did and meeting everyone. Darn you guys were great!), but there were a LOT of very happy members (and guests) with the prizes they did win. When I get home, I will put the list together (I did keep track - there may be errors with spelling, lol - but not pronunciation of names - an "in" joke, you had to be there, lol) and we will bribe Annie to make us a special section to show what we did and what we won. 'Course, then I'll have to send instructions on how to find it [wink].

Gloria gifted me with one of her specially painted Rose T-shirts. I was overwhelmed. Gloria, thank you again. And thank you for being my "rock". You're a treasure.

Oh... and if y'all would like to know some of the things we talked about, you'll have to ask those involved, lol. Some of the discussions involved bucket lists, bedmates/strangers/new friends/headboards and engineers (from the SAME ROOM, lol), moose encounters, air-brushed photos, new Volunteer Co-ordinator for your next National...

And a special thank you to Linda Sofranko who jumped right in and lent a hand with photography duties and raffle tickets. My friend Lynne is also a photographer and was snapping away for me. When I get the photos, I will organize them and see if our web guru will make magic and put them up for us to see and share.

And oh ya! Thank you to my new bestest bud, Janet. Quick on her feet that one. I had created a large display board detailing all the things about ToleFriends' and including flyers and business cards. I wasn't able to display it in the exhibit hall as SDP really can't say yes to one group and not the others. Rules is rules,lol. But, my quick-thinking friend had an "aha" moment and buzzed off with my display board (which I'd put considerable work into) and placed it in the "public" area where the Civic Centre had a table for other Peoria events, coupons, sights to see, etc. Yippee! She's so smart! So... hopefully, it will get noticed and people will take our information and come see us [grin]. Thanks, Janet T (from London, Ont).

I love you guys! Thank you for making Wednesday night the BESTEST night!

Okay, that's it for now, stay posted for my excerpts about my Thursday.

~ Shelley


No rest for the wicked here. The National (SDP) Painting Convention is fun, but EXhausting. You walk EVERYwhere and not a short distance either. I would venture to guess that if we were to have worn pedometers this week that our daily average would be probably triple and quadruple the average. There will be a LOT of very tired, happy and ... poor (?) ladies by the end of the weekend.

I have met quite a few ToleFriend's and hope that maybe, just maybe, I've convinced a few others to join so far. Tuesday is but a blur now and Wednesday was my busiest day this week. The AGM for SDP in the morning, followed by my Special Event Class with Glenice Moore and Jillybean Fitzhenry in the afternoon, then the Expo (Trade Show) Opening then the ToleFriend's Meet n' Greet.

Tuesday morning started with the opening of the exhibits so after breakfast, my friend and I headed over to check those out. There were not many browsing the floor so it was a wonderful time to look and visit. First stop was the SDP "store" where I just had to buy some swag and support the SDP. Then checked out the class area and the actual pieces, the permanent exhibit (wowsers - photos do NOT do it justice) and then the DAC (Decorative Arts Collection Museum) Booth. Met the man himself, Andy Jones. OMGaaaawd, it was like meeting an old friend (no, not "OLD" as in age! Old as in comfortable, lol). What a warm, caring, dynamic man. I would love to be closer and lend a helping hand to him and his passion, the DAC. And just you wait... I have seen the pieces in the flesh. Touched them even, lol. The new book, the Painted Quilt will be ready for distribution very soon. Unfortunately it was not ready for the show . BUT I ordered it, no questions asked. Didn't really care what the cost was. WOW. Not just quilts, nope. Everything to go with them. And all the instructions included for EVERYthing. Not sure what the publication run will be, but I think if you might be interested, you should order it soon in order to be sure of a copy. You will NOT be disappointed. Chris Thornton-Deason, Peggy Harris (what a charmer she is - LOVE her), Andy Jones, Heather Redick, Sherry Nelson, Trudy Beard, Ronnie Bringle, Lynne Deptula/Judy Diephouse, Donna Dewberry, Jo Sonja, Jamie M-P, Peggy Stogdill, Bobbie Takashima and Mary Wiseman (think I got 'em all).

Hmmm, I love this show for the "firsts" that have come and will come. And yes, I did post a few more pics in my webshots. Just remember, I am NOT a photographer, lol - just a "picture-taker". Did head to the AGM Wednesday morning and stayed for more than 1/2 of it. Sorry, but I just couldn't stay for the announcements and the election results. My body was just a-burnin'. I did put my vote in for Board members tho', so feel I have done my part for now. I will try to find out the results for you and let you know later.

After I spent money Tuesday morning I went to Mabel's class, the Zebra. Oh, how I love that lady and would happily take from her again. It was a family affair with her husband (Eduardo?) and her daughter, Carolina (who translated the last 1/2 of the class when the other girl, Maria, needed to leave for other commitments). What a warm, happy, loving family and awesome, relaxed, calm teacher. Did paint hair in my sleep, tho' - line by line by line by... you get the picture. All with one teeny little liner - rake brushes of any kind (filbert, straight, comb, wisk, grainer - however you call them) were a no-no, lol. Yes, we did groan. But yes, it WAS enjoyable and did make the piece more realistic. I sat with a couple of ladies from the Gateway Chapter in Missouri (Jo-Lynne and Laurie). We were also signed up to take the specials class with Glenice and Jillybean. Fortunately we got separarated, lol, or else I would've been apologizing for our rowdiness. We had a "hoot". What wonderful ladies. Jo won Mabel's class piece in a drawing of names. Think I'm pretty envious. Ran over to the Chapters Marketplace on Tuesday night to check that out and spend more money. Wow. These groups really go all out and the time, effort and thought they go into... I'm amazed. It was well-worth the look-see and leaving class a tad early.

Stay tuned...

~ Shelley

Monday, June 15, 2009

Painting Convention

Well, this is the start of a great week that I've been looking forward to for awhile. Thanks to my wonderful hubby, I get to attend the National, the SDP (Society of Decorative Painters) National Painting Convention in Peoria, IL from June 15 through to June 20.

My friend, Lynne and I left Ottawa yesterday morning (Sunday) and drove about 10-11 hours 'til we got to Kalamazoo. We liked the name so thought it'd be a good place to stop, lol. When we got up this morning, we headed to Perkins for brekkie then hit the road and about 5 hours later we were in Peoria, IL ready to start our week.

I will try to update you throughout the week on the goings on:

Yup, I may be down but not out... yet, lol. Every joint in my body is screaming from yesterday and today in the car, but it was pretty clear sailing other than a few slow downs for... what would you think? Make work time... it's construction season! Seems I can't get away from it, lol.

We had dinner about 5 pm Peoria time as it was 6 pm our time and our tummy's were a-growlin'. Also figured we'd want to try for an early night and wind-down (and computer ) time. Then we (my friend Lynne and I) headed back over to the Civic Centre to register for the convention. We'd alreadywandered over earlier, and I delivered the sadnews to Gloria about Priscilla Hauser's husband. There will be shock on the floor I'm sure as the news spreads and many hearts and thoughts will be going out to Priscilla. She is very well-loved and known.

I have already run into many of our ToleFriends' list members. It's been SO fun as much as I have a pic of myself on my webshots, and we've said that I'm a redhead, I guess the "in flesh" version is way different (scarier, lol?). I've literally walked up to a few TF's and said hi "so and so" and they've been floored - 'course, I got the pics they sent and looked over them many times. HeeHee. I've already met Margaret Levy (a beacon with her arm in a sling, lol), but what a warm doll; met Gloria - yup, s'prised her too - myhair is lighter than beacon red, lol (no, I don't dye it, it just lightens with age and the sun); Janet Thompson drove down by herself and I literally stopped her as she exited the parking garage - hardly gave her time to accustom to the light change, lol; and Donna Slutiak. Yes, dear Donna. I am going to love that woman (yes, I am, Donna). What a gem. Crusty like a mouth-watering loaf of italian or french bread (which is my weakness, sigh), but soft and warm and... well, a delight. She's probably going to kick me over the next couple days - I've told her secret, lol. Wish she lived closer. I KNOW she and I could be firm friends. Of course, I'm in trouble before I even opened my mouth 'cause SDP, bless their hearts, lol, consider me, a Canuck, an "international" member. Well, that gave me special status to jump the humongous queue waiting in their appropriate, well-organized"alphabetic lines". HeeHee. All my considerable work spent promoting the fact that we are "all one" group here in North America and I get special status, lol. Mary McLean figured "us Canucks" didn't realize we were "special" and so was out on the floor amongst the throng of eager registrants trying to reel us in. Lynne and I were standing patiently in the L to Q line-up, but... eagerly left for the vacant International wicket. Yup, that's where Donna found me. Not sure if it was the big "Shelley" on my bag or my irreverant behaviour (probably both, lol). Had already been targeted by another registrant who'd decided that we were kindred spirits (no, I didn't know her, but we're ALL friends here) and was kibbitzing with me and teasing the heck out of me. Yup, going to be a fun week. There are no strangers here.

I will download the few pics of the "throng" in a few minutes and put them on my webshots in a special album that you can view. Maybe you can find someone you know. I just took the pics and don't know anyone. Think I caught Gloria in one of the pics (completely by accident) and took one of Donna.

As I and my friend are SDP National "virgins", lol, we got more special status and our pics snapped by the "official" photographer, lol. Gee, maybe we'll appear in a future issue.

Well, gonna close for now and hope to do more updates as I can through the busy week to come.

~ Shelley