WELL!!!!!! When last we met, dear readers, I was in high gear for show preparation for the Arts Alive! festival at the Art Center of Corpus Christi, and Septemberfest at the Museum of the Southwest in Midlant, Texas. Before I get any further, I'm going to warn you: this is a LOT of ground to cover, so go and grab a beverage and a snack, settle down on the couch, and get comfortable. Also, there is minimal photography this go around because I was just so dang busy!
First, I had to drive to Corpus Christi, and since I prefer to avoid the orange barrel post-apocalyptic hellscape that is I-35, I chose to get on to Hwy 77 at Waco and take that way down to Corpus. Everything went according to plan, although it was slow going. It was a beautiful day, with big fluffy clouds billowing up on the horizon (this is called FORESHADOWING). I stopped in La Grange to sing the obligatory ZZ Top song and have a maple walnut scone at Big State Coffee Roasters and also to stretch my legs. The staff was lovely, as usual. I eavesdropped on some of the old timers telling hurricane stories. It was a nice respite from the road.
Once I got down to I-10 and Schulenberg, my GPS staged a mutiny, and I ended up heading towards Shiner YET AGAIN. I resisted the temptation to hit up the brewery and instead made my way back to Hwy 77 and continued on to Victoria, then cruised through Refugio, then on to Hwy 35 and down through Portland to Corpus Christi. I stopped at Whataburger-by-the-Bay, because of COURSE, and I was glad to be back. I have to say, whether I'm coming from the north over the bridge on Hwy 35, or coming from the west on I-37, when I see the bay and the Corpus Christi skyline, it feels like I'm coming home. I also noticed with a bit of trepidation that those fluffy billowy clouds were a LOT bigger.
From Whataburger, I headed to my Airbnb. This was the very first time I ever stayed at an Airbnb, and I must say it was a marvelous experience! My hosts, Rob and Tammy, were gracious, and the room was perfect. Here is a link to their Airbnb if you want to check it out:
It was in a quiet neighborhood near an HEB (score!!!), and the room was comfy and there was a fridge, a microwave, and some very tasty granola that Tammy made, adn snacks of all kinds, so I felt really well-taken care of. They were also kind enough to offer me some wine on the back patio, and we had a lovely visit on Sunday night after the show was over.
You remember those big fluffy clouds I mentioned earlier? Yeah. Well. Those friendly fluffy clouds turned into big ol' rain clouds. Set up started at 6am, and I figured I would get it out of the way, then head on over to Port Aransas for my beach/Winton's Island Candy/The Connoisseur pilgrimage. I got up at 6, and by the time I had gotten myself out the door, the heavens had opened up. It absolutely POURED, and those poor volunteers at the art center were running around trying to get things done in the deluge. I was pretty much the first artist there, so I found my spot and got my tent up. Thank heavens it wasn't windy, because that would have been some high-level entertainment value. My shoes were soaked, my shirt was soaked, my pants were soaked, but I did manage to get the tent up, and the rest of the load-in went pretty quickly. And wouldn't you know it! As soon as I zipped up my tent, the rain STOPPED, AND THE SUN CAME OUT!!!!! Sigh. Isn't it always the way.
After I set up, I debated on whether or not to go back to my room to dry off and plan to go to Hester's (another Corpus Christi favorite of mine), but just decided to go for it and head to the island in all my soaking wet glory. I went to Coffee Waves instead, and chowed down on a muffin and cappuccino while checking my e-mail and marveling at how much Port Aransas has bounced back from Hurricane Harvey. From there, I headed to the beach. I have to say that I prefer the beach in winter, mostly because the water doesn't feel like I'm stepping into the bath. It was also humid as all-get-out, and then it started raining, so I decided to go get candy and call it a day. I paid my respects at The Connoisseur, said hello to the kitty, bought a Chinese silk fan (which came very much in handy, i can tell you), then went on to Winton's Island Candies, then went back to my room to crash before going to visit Kellie and her family. I went to their new house for dinner, and basked in the joy of active family life and fellowship. It was a good day.
The show itself went well, despite the wind that would kick up in the afternoons. On Sunday, the wind was so bad that I very nearly lost my tent and some of my jewelry, but thank goodness for kind neighbors and extra tent weights! I was glad to see Kellie and her friends again, and Esther and her adorable family came by, too! Patrons, fellow artists, and volunteers were all lovely, and despite the weather shenanigans, I will definitely do this show again. And the view wasn't bad, either!
i bade Corpus Christi farewell, and made the mistake to take the interstate all the way back to DFW. TEN HOURS LATER, I managed to crawl into the driveway, and STILL managed not to get any kolaches from Czech Stop! Better luck next time, I guess. That's what I get for driving on Labor Day in a rainstorm across Texas. Yuck.
A few days later, I headed back out on the road to Midland. Those rain clouds were still hanging around, and they were NOT playing. I lost count of how many wrecks I drove past on I-20 (one of them was a fatality, and it was emotional to see the emergency responders standing in a circle in their cowboy hats and reflective rain gear praying for the deceased). I eventually made it into town and went straight on to the Museum of the Southwest to do early setup. I was so tired that I couldn't get it all done, but at least I got the tent and the tables set up.
Morning came, and with it came torrential downpour. The funny thing about west Texas is that there are no storm drains, because it really doesn't make sense to have storm drains when it only rains maybe three or four times a year in any significant amount. Unfortunately, Friday was one of those times. I have never seen water rise quite so quickly, and I now understand why they make such a big deal about flash flood warnings. I wish I could figure out how to post video on here, because I got some impressive video of the foot and a half of water I had to wade through to get to my tent to finish setup. It was quite something. Should have brought my hip waders. Or scuba gear.
Hold up, y'all! I think I figured it out!!! Behold the monsoon!
And now for some BIG NEWS:
Friday night was the big gala preview party, but unfortunately the ground was so soaked that the electrician didn't feel it was safe to run the electricity out on the grounds where the artists were. This meant that there was no lights, and no lights meant sub-optimal viewing of the art work. And it was still pouring rain in the afternoon. At first, I decided that I wouldn't open my booth, but around 6pm the rain stopped, and I figured I had driven all that way, so I went and sat up anyway, and found some of my battery operated Christmas lights and wound them around my display to at least attract some attention.
People, let me tell you something. The lesson here was plain: show up and get the job done, even if it isn't in the best of conditions. Not only did I have fun and sell seven pairs of earrings, I was also incredibly humbled and thrilled that the jury for judging the best of show chose ME. That's right. I won "Best of Show" at Septemberfest. I have the ribbon to prove it! I was in a state of shock, because there were so many talented artists at the show, and so many more experienced artists, and I've only been doing art shows for two years, so... yeah. I'm still in a state of shock, to be totally honest. It really made the show that much more special!
The next two days of the show fared better, weatherwise, and quite a few of my creations found their forever homes. All in all, it was a great show, and thanks to the many wonderful volunteers at the Museum of the Southwest. I look forward to seeing everyone again next year!
On a side note, I was informed that there were actual, honest-to-goodness prairie dogs living in random places around Midland, so after teardown, I went on a prairie dog hunt. Lo and behold, there they were, in the middle of a random vacant lot! I was under the impression that prairie dogs were about the size of hamsters, but I was very much mistaken. They are much larger, and chubby, and they roam in packs. They also look like they could carjack a Fiat if they were determined enough. I present to you my bad wildlife photography!
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
As if all this excitement were not enough, I was contacted by the museum director of the Ellen Noel Art Museum in Odessa, Texas about selling my jewelry in their soon-to-be-reopened gift shop! The plan is to make the gift shop an artisan market of sorts, focusing on gifts for women. The grand opening gala will be October 23 from 6-8pm. I will be there in person for that, along with their Dia de los Muertos event on November 3. I am super excited about this opportunity! I will keep you all posted as to further developments. Wish me luck!
Once again, that's all the news that's fit to print! Stay tuned for more adventures in art shows in the state of Texas! And as always, here's Tosca Q Puss being judgmental. I think she's mad at me for leaving her alone with her housemate for so long.