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Baltimore...and More! part 1/2

Just keep swimming....just keep swimming....I drove to Baltimore, my hoopdie deluxe packed to the gills with all kinds of baubles and bangles from my studio, rattling around as I navigated around potholes the size of a dinner plate. Ding dong drivers, stoned wackadoodledoos, old people all squinty when they should have pulled their licenses at 90, oh, the usual fruit basket. Whit knuckling and praying to all that is holy that I get from point A to point B without losing body parts or my mind. Finally, I got to the convention center, which is your typical cement behemoth, plopped unceremoniously in the middle of an ancient part of town before there were regulations I suppose.

The union guys were all decked out in their Kevlar finery and looking like shepherds from Mars, gently guided us artists, in various vans, crammed hatchbacks, rented U-Haul's, and dented trailers, into the bowels of the hall. I parked, saw some familiar faces, waved, hugged, and dragged all my crap to my booth space. We checked in at the desk, and not seeing our signage, nor anything resembling a welcome basket of snacks and water, usually given to us at other shows.

This show, The American Craft Show, which no one calls it, is otherwise known as the ACC Baltimore, put on by the American Craft Council, an old outfit out of St. Paul, MN. Our usual coterie of well fed hotdish middle aged gals, were no longer there. In their places, were um, "young" people, none of whom I knew, and most of them burying their noses in their phones. Welp, such is life. I kind of missed the long winded yap from the old promoters, warning of this and that, and handing us packets with a smile. Midwestern Nice, I guess, flew away, for cheaper versions.

After my ride and schlep, I had to survive the ordeal of setting up an entire jewelry booth, complete with curtains, lighting, this monster Abstracta setup which is like tinker toys designed by some sadistic Swiss perfectionist, and then attempt to make the whole thing inviting to potential customers. Not. Easy. Plus I was running on caffeine and not much sleep. I broke out in some stress related rash, and that was super fun. But plod on I must.

I got the shebang up and running, more or less, then ran outside to meet my pals, real honest to goodness Baltimorons ((affectionately, please), and we headed out to our favorite authentic Greek feedbag, Samos, in, of course, Greektown. Which is half Hispanic these days, Latineek? Leek? Gratino?

We got seated in the super casual place, greeted by a surlyish yet friendlyish and largish waitress who has been part of the place as old as the wallpaper pealing from the bathroom walls. Nothing ever changed, and I guess she likes her job enough. We ate tasty Greek food, my fave, and yes, I know how to pronounce everything as I am friends with a ton of Greek folks, and kind of picked up the lingo slightly. On of the pals at the table is my friend who no longer does craft shows, nor wholesale shows, but has become the Baltimore queen of famers markets. Her husband is an old time guy in the catering world and knows probably every single person in Baltimore, and tells me all the gossip of people I dont know nor will never meet, but it is interesting nonetheless. We chowed down and they dropped me off at my hotel. Before I left, they warned me that Baltimore was quite crazy at night with all kinds of riffraff. I guess the police have been defunded to the point that they would rather hang out at donut shops instead of rounding up the merrymakers and pranksters that poison the cities today for nice orderly law abiding folks like myself, the epitome of the what they love to hate.

The good news is they care, the bad news, is that once I have been warned, I am always looking around the corner, hustling out of the way of the homeless that are all over the shopping areas, and decided that it was not worth the risk, since, ya know, I had to return home in one piece. Paranoia Big Destroya, as Ray Davies of the Kinks wisely crooned.

End of Part 1/2

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Abra, You have a talent of not only being a creative jeweler, BUT also for your creative writing! Thank you for making me smile AND laugh! I wish you a very successful show! I wish I was there!

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