Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Artful Journey: Day 1, The Adventure Begins

I’ve been trying to figure out how to share this whole experience with you. It was just all such a mind-boggingly, life-changingly awesome five days! :-) (and that from a college English professor…) So I’ll share each day with you as it happened, with lots and lots of pictures.

One week ago today, DH and the girls drove me to the airport at 6:15am. Jacksonville to Las Vegas to San Jose. Can you see me in the reflection in the glass in this picture? Just above the front third of the Southwest plane in the distance? Yeah, that’s me. The long flight to Vegas (5 hours, 20 minutes) was made much more bearable with my seatmates. To my right was Ed, a very friendly plastics salesman heading to a conference in Las Vegas. His company makes the plastic cards that 90% of all credit cards are made from! To my left was Michael, an engineer/rocket scientist on his way back from NASA after installing the rocket boosters that recently launched Pluto Five. No joke! I was sitting next to a genuine rocket scientist! Ed and I were totally enthralled. Mike told us how the rocket boosters work and how, since the Pluto payload was such a small one, those five boosters shot that thing up into space faster than any shuttle launch ever seen. “Where is it now?” I asked? “Heck, I don’t know! Somewhere between here and Pluto. There’s a whole other group of engineers and scientists who determine when to launch so the payload will reach its proper destination,” he replied. “And when will it reach its destination?” “Oh, in approximately eight years.” Eight years!? Can you imagine the science it takes to determine when to launch something that will not arrive at its destination until eight years later? Now, here’s the kicker. In his free time, Michael is an actor in Wild West reenactments. Didn’t see that one coming, did ya? He’s the president of his troupe, Sierra Six Guns and Sidekicks. So after he enthralled Ed and me with his tales of space exploration, he continued to enthrall us with his tales of Virgil, Wyatt, and all the other Earp brothers. He plays Virgil. He’s excellent at falling during gunfights. And I think a little peeved that his actor friend who plays Wyatt never has to fall because, you know, Wyatt was never shot so he never fell. Who knew? DH would have loved it.

So, here you go. Now I can say I’ve finally been to Vegas! Since I barely had time to make my connecting flight, I managed to avoid actually playing the slot machines, but I did have to pull out my camera to take a picture of some of them.

Once I arrived in San Jose, I picked up my rental car and headed towards Los Gatos and the retreat center…and promptly got lost. Got out of San Jose just fine; that was the easy part. From there, I had printed out MapQuest directions but neglected to read the warning on the retreat center website that said not to follow the MapQuest directions. I ended up on a continually narrowing winding road on a neighboring mountain. When I realized I must be lost, I called DH (thank God for that time difference at this point) and he pulled up the website, found the better map and stayed on the phone with me until I found the right place…on the mountain next door. (Yes, Katie, if I had an iPhone I could have pulled up the correct map myself, just like you did when we were trying to find that cupcake place that night in NYC. And yes, Jim, I'm sure I could have pulled it up on my Blackberry…if I only knew how to use it.)

Once I actually made it to the center, called Presentation Center, this is what greeted me. Beautiful, huh?

And then once I checked in, I received this. Isn’t that awesome? Every attendee received one. More than 100 of us. Talk about a lot of work! Our welcome, agenda for the weekend, and all relevant instructions were attached at the back with the ribbon. Just the start of the amazing job and special little touches that Cindy (retreat coordinator) pulled off. Just lovely.

Here’s a shot of the inside of the welcome bundle.

After I checked in, I had some time to wander the property. Here’s an example of some of the cottages.

I will admit my cottage itself, St. Martha’s, was not that photo worthy, but the surroundings sure were. These daffodils were right outside my cottage door.

…as was this little marked grave of Our Friend Muffy. I’ll have a story sparked by Muffy for you next week.

These pretty little red flowers covered a nearby tree. No clue what kind of tree. It was a California tree. I don’t think we have this particular California tree in Florida. :-)

This daisy was part of a cluster just around the corner from my cottage. Can you picture me laying on the ground shooting up to catch this angle?

This is St. Francis, the watchful saint of the retreat center. I imagine he was quite the handsome fellow in his day. Am I allowed to say that about a saint?

And lastly, to close out the first day’s entry, I’ll share a couple more sneak peeks of my finished book. Back cover….

And two inside pages… Of course I can’t show you the entire book until Sunday night…the night I finished and DJ, Leah, and I danced on the tables (oh wait, it’s still Thursday…we’re not dancing on tables yet, forget I said that….)


Jodi Ohl said...

Looks like it was a wonderful 'soulfulfilling' retreat! Love the book you created-and the welcome gift is amazing! That had to have been such a project but one made out of love, I'm sure! Glad your back!

Roben-Marie said...

Hey, Kelly! It was so nice to finally meet you in person! Your book is so beautiful and I love how colorful it is! You really got so much done! Cheers! RM :)

Carmen said...

Oh my gosh, how exciting and inspiring!!! Can't wait to hear and see more!!!


Becca said...

Hi Kelly, the retreat looks like so much fun, and the book you made is beautiful! Next time maybe you can stay awhile in Vegas and see something other than our slot machines! Ha. :)

MagicMarkingsArt said...

What a fun and colorful post! I can imagine you are still riding the proverbial high after a trip like that and you must be smiling to yourself as you write these posts - a sure sign of a wonderful, life affirming excursion. I look forward to seeing and hearing more b/c that table top dancing sounds delightful :)

Mo'a said...

Yes, there is so much to tell and you tell it beautifully.
Your book is lovely. I am still working on mine and loving it.

Gina Lee Kim said...

Amazing Kelly! I'm so inspired...had to check out your blog before going to work!

Davielle aka Princess Magpie said...

Kelly, you did a most beautiful and sensitive job covering the An Artful Journey experience, Kelly-style. Your spirit, your colors, your graciousness, your heart .. all shine through each entry. Every word brought such memories my way, even though we took different workshops. WOW. I sure miss you. Come back to CA soon, girl. Love - Davi 3-7-10