September 5th, 2012

shoe

There's No Place Like Home

I have now safely and successfully returned from my travels, and it may take me a few days to recover, mostly because I kind of overdid it on my last day in Chicago and because Chicago doesn't seem to believe in signs. I slacked off on my last couple of days worth of posts because I hit the critical conjunction of busy and tired.

Saturday was my busy panel day, and things were standing-room only, with people turned away. That seemed to be a problem in every panel I attended after my first one on Thursday afternoon. I don't know if they didn't have enough programming items per hour or if they somehow had rooms too small for the panels I happened to choose or be programmed for, but after that first day when people hadn't arrived yet and that had a cavernous space, I didn't see a panel where everyone who wanted to attend managed to. The TV panels were in rooms about the size of my living room, and we went far beyond the fire marshal's limit posted on the wall, and yet people were still turned away.

But that kind of crowd does mean a lot of energy, so the panels were fun. I may do some posts of the "what I thought about saying later" variety because the ultimate panel comment usually comes at about three in the morning the day after the panel.

Saturday night, FenCon hosted our first WorldCon party, and since there weren't that many of us present, it meant I kept busy the whole night working the door and later serving beer, and then I didn't get to bed until 3:30 in the morning. I somehow zombied my way through my Sunday panel, but the late night completely messed up my sleep schedule, so that I missed the Hugo Awards ceremony because I fell asleep (and apparently that was standing-room only, too), and then I woke in the middle of the night and had to read a while to get back to sleep, which then meant I had to go in search of an airplane book in the dealers room on Monday.

After the con ended on Monday, I turned tourist and headed over to Navy Pier to see a stained glass exhibit Connie Willis had told me about. It was definitely worth seeing, but I may have overwalked myself. It would help if I'd let myself slow down and not act like I'm on a mission. I came back via the river and stopped for dinner at a little cafe in a garden on the edge of the water, where I waved back to the kids on the tour bouts who waved at people on the shore. That was a nice ending for my trip.

But I think the real reason my knees and hips currently hate me is the weird Chicago signage. For one thing, the street signs seem directed only to drivers, not pedestrians, so if you're walking the wrong direction on a one-way street, you have to stop at each intersection and turn around to find out what the cross street is. Then there was the subway station. The El stations are obvious, but the station I needed was underground, and it turned out to be in the basement of an office building. There was a sign on the sidewalk giving the name of the station, but no indication of where, exactly, the station was, with no obvious sign on the building itself letting you know to go in that door. In New York, when there's a station in a building, there's a sign over the door to the building. I walked all the way around the block trying to find the station. Then I found the secondary entrance, which required a fare card but didn't sell fare cards, and the sign there said the main entrance was a block and a half east. By that time, I wasn't sure which way was which, and it still didn't say where that entrance was. It would have helped if it had said something like "on the lower level of the XYZ building at XYZ Whatever Street." So I got a brisk half-half hour tour of downtown Chicago while hauling luggage. And now my knees and hips are suffering.

For more fun, children's choir starts tonight. I have kindergarten this year, which means the same kids I had last year, and I have a new partner. She used to do music for the church preschool, so I think she'll be the one doing the heavy lifting and I won't be totally in charge. I don't know because I haven't discussed this with her yet, but I've worked with her on other things before and I think we'll make a good team. I just may need to hit the hot tub today so I can actually move by tonight. I skipped dance last night and will try taking the beginner class tomorrow night.

And now to continue my catching up from my week-long absence.