TSA Cookies: They’re Great!

posted in: Confessions, Day In The Life | 16
It’s almost as if they’re exiting the scanner. Image: Wikipedia.

 

 

Hilarious things happen to me.

Or maybe totally normal, definitely not-hilarious things happen to me and because I’m a dweeb, I just find them hysterically funny. Does it matter, in the end? My life strikes me as funny when it’s not devastating — and that’s how I like it.

Today, after passing through the metal detector at the airport TSA screening area, I waited at the end of the scanner conveyor belt to retrieve my purse. There, sitting atop the conveyor belt at the end of the line, orphaned and forlorn and wrapped in plastic, for the third time in my life … I found a cookie!

So I took it.

And I ate it!!

I did, I did! I found a cookie at the TSA and took it and ate it! And I’ve done it before!

Listen, listen: I need you to listen!

Can we agree that there are cookies. Yes. Some cookies get wrapped in cellophane and packed into purses and bags when people go on airplane trips. Yes, well, sometimes these airplane trip cookies — I guess one time it was a brownie — get knocked out of those bags while inside the TSA conveyer belt scanner! The bag gets bumped! The cellophane-wrapped cookie falls out!

And the person who packed the cookie doesn’t realize it!

Who gets their purse off a conveyor belt and goes, “Wait, wait; let me make sure my cookie made it through.” No one does it! Only later, halfway across the country, will the person become dimly aware that a cellophane-wrapped baked good may have been lost on the journey … But when? How? Was there a cookie in her purse, the person wonders … No, it couldn’t have been …

Yes! Yes, you had a cookie! It was wrapped in cellophane and it was in your purse! It fell out in the conveyor belt! After it got bumped around in the dark for awhile, it came out! A TSA person put it on the top of the conveyor belt! It sat there for a long time, probably an hour!

And then I came through and found it! And I took it!

And then I ate it!

The thrill of this TSA cellophane-wrapped cookie is extreme. And because it keeps happening it’s a serious game for me, now, spotting and liberating a TSA treat. The liberation moment is intense because we all know there is not to be any kind of funny business in the airport. I get that; I respect that. But let’s use our heads, people. The treats I keep finding at the TSA screening area are fine. These cookies are not involved in a scheme. No one is “planting cookies” at the “airport,” and if they were, they wouldn’t be using the TSA “screening checkpoint” as their “base of operations.” The TSA cookie — or brownie, that one time — is innocent. And abandoned.

I think the cookie I got today was homemade. Seriously, I’m eating it right now. Somebody makes a good oatmeal raisin, let me tell you. Delicious! Wish I had a glass of mil —

“Mary!” you say in a sharp voice. You purse your lips and look disapprovingly at the crumbs on my blouse. “That cookie might belong to someone! You shouldn’t take something that doesn’t belong to you. You should let a TSA agent know. What if the person comes back for their cookie and it’s gone?”

I look down at the cookie in my paw and look back up at you. You see that I am confused. “But … Who would want a cookie that has been bumped around a TSA checkpoint for an hour and then placed on the top of the conveyor belt?”

You shake your head, but secretly, you want a bite.

Teamwork, Sample Spree

posted in: Quiltfolk, Work | 12
People working on the framing of a building, c. 1950. Photo: NARA via Wikipedia.

 

 

Tonight was Sample Spree at Quilt Market. If you’ve never been to Sample Spree, allow me to offer a syllogism:

 

Sample Spree is to Quilt Market … as Black Friday is to Christmas.

 

It’s a shopping orgy-stampede, is what I’m saying.

At Sample Spree, vendors set up tables and sell special and sometimes limited-edition or otherwise promotional-only merch — at low, low prices — to Quilt Market attendees. Sample Spree is a big deal. It’s like a garage sale, except the people who are doing the garage sale are fancy and everything must go … except that it’s not old stuff, but new stuff. Let me put it this way: Sample Spree usually starts at 7 p.m. and the line starts a little after 4 p.m., every time.

Quiltfolk had a table. We brought hundreds of copies of the magazine to sell cheap. We had our little credit card thing. We had our elevator speech. We were ready when the stampede began. And we sold out of everything in about an hour.

Of course, there are a few folks at Sample Spree that sell out in less than an hour; there are always a couple folks (ahem, Cotton + Steel) who have nothing to do 30 minutes after the doors open. But most folks sell for the full two hours and have to pack up what doesn’t sell. We were well stocked, though, and were still one of the first vendors to pack out of the convention hall with our empty boxes.

I’m telling you this for two reasons.

For one thing, it felt good to see that the project that I love so much is working. People get it. More people get it all the time. The world doesn’t need more ads, more noise. It needs more stories. That’s what I get to do with Quiltfolk. That’s pretty groovy.

The second reason I want to talk about Sample Spree is because you should’ve seen me and Mike and Bree, the company’s communications and customer service whiz. We were such a great team and I missed being part of a team! Certainly, I was part of a team at the paper; I loved that team. And I’m part of a team every time I go on location for the magazine. But there was something very … staff about tonight, very corporate in the best possible way. Me and Mike and Bree were doing the Quiltfolk thing together: pressing the flesh, autographing copies, making change for a $20, and so on. We had each others’ back.

The realization I’m done with school keeps coming over me in waves. I’m this person, now. I’m this working person. I’m part of a team. I’m working.

 

*I wrote this thing about the thing, by the way.

Meet the New Editorial Director of Quiltfolk Magazine!

posted in: Quilting, Work | 109
Wait, who’s that chick in the red glasses?? Oh, it’s me! Photos by Melanie Zacek.

 

I kept saying there were big announcements coming soon, that I’d be sharing good news before long. Maybe some folks thought I was finally going to get my dream dog, Philip Larkin. Did anyone think I eloped?? That would be so cool if someone thought that.

There’s no Philip Larkin, yet, and I’m not as far as I know. I was promoted to Editorial Director of Quiltfolk magazine, though.

:: skips, jumps, trips on a stray sock, gets glass of water, returns ::

Can you stand it?? How cool is this?? To me, this the Coolest Thing Ever. Quiltfolk is doing is precisely what my heart is telling me — no, shouting at me — to do right now: investigate, celebrate, and honor quilt culture in America, past, present, and future. Quiltfolk is real. Quiltfolk is dreamy. Ergo, editorially directing Quiltfolk is a very real, very dream-y job for me. I have red marks on my arm from pinching myself for the past couple weeks. I’d better see my doctor about — oh, wait … Maybe not.

[Look, people, if I don’t laugh, I won’t stop crying about yesterday’s post. Thank you, everyone for listening to me — and to each other.]

A new job offers an opportunity to reflect on one’s professional life, don’t you think? I mean, when I was in high school and stopped waiting tables at the Pizza Hut north of town to wait tables at Northside Cafe on the town square, I recall doing some soul searching. Come with me for just a moment, will you, as I mull over this promotion?

It’s been about 10 years since I began working in earnest in what I saw at the time as my mother’s industry. I still think of it as her industry, honestly, and I’m okay with that. We’re all just standing on the shoulders of giants; my mother would say the same thing.

Anyway, in the early years I was a nervous beginner asking the dumb questions on “Love of Quilting.” A couple years later, I grew into what we call a “confident beginner,” able to create and host “Quilty,” an online how-to show for other beginners. “Quilty” grew a cult following for the five years it was on the internet-air, and I was able to use my freelance writing skills to serve as editor of “Quilty” magazine for four years. I wrote a book during that time. I dreamed of making a Mary Fons fabric line of reproduction fabrics and I did! I really did that and I loved that project. I’ve created and delivered a ton of webinars. And I have spent many, many days planning and executing gigs from one coast to the other, teaching and lecturing for (tens of?) thousands of quilters at this point.

**Quick note on that last thing: Between my former life as a Chicago theater professional and my experience as an itinerant quilt teacher/speaker, I fear no room. No grand auditorium, no tiny church basement, no ad hoc retreat center phases me. Beyond that, there is no tech failure I cannot work around. When the projector at a guild meeting in Oklahoma two years ago was DOA, I did my entire slideshow presentation with no slides. And you know what? I slayed.

The whole time, ceaselessly, I’ve been writing. Writing this blog; articles for Fons & Porter; the Quilt Scout; articles for magazines like Modern Patchwork and Curated Quilts. And, starting with Issue 04: Tennessee, I’ve been writing for Quiltfolk magazine.

One more point to make and then more about Quiltfolk:

All this stuff I’ve been up to over the past decade has been done in front of everyone. As I’ve grown (into) my career, I’ve been on display. Anything I do, it’s out there, right away. This is partly due to the Fons name, partly due to the internet overall, and partly due to this blog, of course. Without the ol’ PG, I could show you less. I could hide better. I could have career developments and changes and losses and trials and victories and failures and disappointments and agonies and ecstasies slightly more in private if I didn’t do what I’m doing right now, which is writing to thousands of subscribers about my life, on my couch, in my pajamas. With some chips, maybe.

(There are chips.)

My point — and I do have one — is that doing everything in full view is kookoo bananas … but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love growing up in front of you. You’re my tribe. You’re my people. I love you. You see me. And when I look at the comments and the paper mail, I think that you really do love me right back. (Woah.) And when people actually love you, they are happy for you when good things happen, and so you want to tell them. You want to celebrate, they want to celebrate. Because wow, life is hard, sometimes, but other times, it’s just really good. This is really good, this new opportunity Mike McCormick has given me. Thank you, Mike.

Quiltfolk is important. When you see it, if you haven’t seen it, yet, you’ll know. You’ll see.

In closing: To those of you who are wondering how I’m going to manage the new position while I’m in grad school, know that a) I’m almost done with school; b) the promotion at Quiltfolk forced me to resign — with class, diplomacy, and a promise to help in the transition — from the student newspaper; c) I’m not accepting any gigs for the foreseeable future; d) I’m considering bi-weekly Swedish massages until I finish graduate in on May 14th, 2018.

You’ll see it all, if you come with me.

So come with me, okay?

Quilt Moment of Zen No. 93711: The Golden Circle Ladies, c. 1973.

posted in: Quilting | 6
The Golden Circle ladies, c. 1973. Image: Wikipedia.

 

Hello, beautiful.

I know you’re just dying for sparkling prose and/or investigative journalism, but today’s post will be simply a quilt moment of zen. Here’s why:

  1. I’m on a super-secret business trip, which means I can’t write about what I did today. Or yesterday. Or what I’ll do tomorrow. I will, but I can’t right now.
  2. I keep falling asleep while I’m typing.
  3. The above picture is incredible and you just need to see it.

This picture was found where all my pictures are found, Wikipedia. But it came by way of the gov’ment; The image officially belongs to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). I tell you this because NARA has a lot of interesting photographs and you should go look through all 90 billion of them (or however many there are) on a rainy day. I mean it!

Anyway, this picture was taken in 1973 by one Charles O’Rear near Lincoln, Nebraska, and the glowing, generous spirits in the picture are listed as “members of the Golden Circle Senior Citizens Club of Fairmont.”

Don’t you love them? Don’t you just love them all down to bits?

Quilts are good for calming spirits; quilters can do the same. Well, not all of them. That lady in the way back looks a little grumpy.

A Super-Secret Mission!

posted in: Work | 7
"Animal locomotion," Plate 156. Eadweard Muybridge, 1887
She’s kind of like a ninja?? (Image: “Animal locomotion,” Plate 156. Eadweard Muybridge, 1887. Courtesy Wikipedia.)

 

It’s been hard the past few days to touch base because I can’t tell you where I am!

It’s true: I’ve been in [REDACTED] for the past couple few days because I’m on assignment for this magazine and I can’t let the cat out of the bag about which state Quiltfolk’s Issue 05 will spotlight. Not me, Satie! No way, Monet!

And while it’s fun to be a lil’ ninja and fly under the radar, it’s also the pits: I can’t write to you about all the things and I can’t even do any Instagram stuff! Believe me, I’m in a very cool place with crazy-good photo opportunities. The Instagram stuff can wait, but it’s torture to not write up what I’ve seen and the things I’ve experienced since getting here yesterday morning. I just need you to help me download things, you know? Downloads of the mental variety. This is something you help me with.

Agh! Okay, one thing:

It’s been so horribly hot in Chicago; we broke records all week last week with temperatures in the low- to mid-90s. I hate a summer that stretches into October, and of course it’s all just very anxiety-provoking and confusing and frightening, all this extreme weather.

Anyway, I experienced a fall moment today and it took my breath away, honestly. There was a quicksilver chill in the air and when it whistled through me, my entire life-in-autumn flashed before my eyes. Autumns of my childhood (the sharpened pencils, the trick-o-treats); the autumns of my young adulthood (the cigarettes outside the bars, the late-night rehearsals); the autumns more recent (the leaves downtown, the frost on the windows of the cabs in the morning.) But in that moment when you first feel the fall air, all the autumns blend together and it’s just your life, in technicolor, in a sweater.

You will love Issue 05 of Quiltfolk.