Tuesday, 10 January 2017

I kept the secret + OnStage | 2017 Stampin' Up! Artisan Design Team

I got the call and now I was to keep the secret.  
I tell my story about the call in a different blog post.  You can find it here: blog post

Here's the thing.  Between the heat, the whining and the itchiness on that phone call they had asked me whether I would be attending an OnStage Stampin' Up! Regional Event where I could receive my award.  I knew events were happening on Saturday, November 5th in several locations.  I also knew that I would be with my family on a Florida vacation until November 4th.  Without thinking much, I replied "I can make that work."

.... Ummm.. what? I can't make that work.

Without spilling the beans, I needed to figure out how I would attend when the closest event is a 3 hour plane ride to Ottawa, Canada only IF I could get a direct flight from St. John's, Newfoundland. Not to mention the fact that I won't be in Newfoundland until 3am on that day. I figured I'd get home at 3am then potentially turn around and go on another plane leaving at 5am to arrive in Ottawa around 9am.

WHAT?
No.

Well, that's it.  I can't force my husband to travel with two kids alone.  I can't extend the trip and fly quickly to Houston or Atlanta - it was too pricy. I won't go.  Not the end of the world.

Oh contraire, my French friends.

I SHALL force my husband to travel alone with two kids.  However, only one leg.  From Toronto to St. John's.  The kids are 6 and 3 - they practically take care of themselves! Drop me off in Toronto Husband!  I'll get a plane to Ottawa from there.

And so I did.
My in-laws thought I was nuts.  
But I kept this ridiculous secret.

I had friends.  Yes.  Colleen and Paula would be waiting for me at the Ottawa airport with a rent-a-car and coffee.  I need to hang out with these girls more.  They are my style.

It was Friday and the On Stage Event would be early on Saturday.  We were staying at the Novotel in downtown Ottawa. We set out to find a restaurant in Byward market for a late supper. We found a mediocre restaurant called Kinki.  And kinky it was when the poster of two bikini-clad women dropped their tops at 10pm.

Paula and Colleen didn't know my secret.
Because THEY as in Stampin' Up! said not to tell anyone except my husband.
How annoying that I couldn't tell them.

I wasn't nervous.  I wanted it over with. Time to tell the world, I say.

It took a couple tries but we found coffee.  No the Starbucks Christmas cups were not out but... only a couple more days to go.

On Saturday, we barely made it in time.  In fact, there were no tables with three seats.  We were so late that they offered to give us a seat at one of the tables for those that are hearing impaired. Done... Let me just say that we were technically not late.  Everyone else was EXTREMELY early.

... and with coffee in hand, might I add.

Welcome. Let the games begin.

The room was dark and filled with tables.  There was a stage and a couple large screens where they would play some taped content from another event. #notafan. In the corner, there was an oversized air balloon.  It would have been a perfect photo backdrop had there been any light in the area. The centre pieces were darling as they were mini air balloons.  So cute.

Paula Taylor, Colleen Petten, Kay Smith and myself on the right

A group of Kay Smith's downline, the Strawberry Stampers.  I am her 4th downline thus technically not a Strawberry.
We were handed a canvas bag filled with some goodies including the new Succulents stamp set and a cool planner.  We created some make and takes when they started some Awards.  The agenda said there was some Awards in the morning and some Awards in the afternoon session.

OnStage Attendees were given this planner #bigfan
My stomach was tight waiting for my turn.
It never came.

Lunch came.  It was terrible.  A wrap with a bag of chips and a MacIntosh Apple.  They ran out of lunches in fact.  People were waiting in line for well over 30 minutes for theirs.  There was no coffee or snack kiosk in the place. We should have gone and got some treats.  We will know for next time.

Colleen and Paula won the same Prize Patrol: Beautiful You!
Paula and Cathy hanging out after lunch by the display boards... soon to go to the washroom.
The agenda said that there was a make and take following lunch and then more Awards. As they called people back from lunch, knowing the agenda I wasn't in a hurry - I was deciding whether or not to go to the washroom.  Paula had already made the decision and high tailed it into the stalls. Colleen was lost in the hustle and bustle. I made my way to the washroom... and then I heard it...

Next we will give recognition to the Artisan Design Team winners...

Blah blah... list of names... Blah Blah.

... Do I have time to get back to my table?
... No.
... "Cathy Caines"...

ACK!!!! 

I went up on the stage from the right.  I shook the hand of Russ. Gosh, I don't even know who this guy is.  It's not Russ. Next we were supposed to go to the front of the stage like I was prancing around in my pageant dress at the Miss America event.  There was no one to take my picture. Because I bloody well never told anyone this was happening. And this wasn't supposed to happen for at least another hour.  Paula was in the bathroom!! Colleen was somewhere.  Probably trying to find her phone to take a picture. She's good like that but that's a big purse.  Eventually, Martha Inchley came on stage with me. I probably stole some of her paparazzi.


Then I turned around.  We were supposed to get our Artisan Team Present. And we did but it might as well have been like someone was throwing the remote control at me.

And that was it. 

It is entirely questionable whether this trip was worth it for that exact moment.

But you know its not about that moment, don't you?

It was so awkward.  I couldn't wait to talk to Martha.  You see, I had memories of winning in 2013. hundreds of people were in Salt Lake City in the evenings best.  All 10 winners were on stage together and we were "laid" with a fresh flower necklace.  Now that was worth the trip.  But things change, and I am OK with that. I wished Martha had the same experience.

Did I mention it was awkward?

Oh. Who's Martha? Well. She's my new friend. She's on the 2017 Artisan Design Team with me and now we will be friends forever. :) 





I opened my box when I got back to the table. And that's when it happened. My hands fumbled trying to slide the baker's twine off.  The box was wooden.  It wasn't just a flimsy cardboard box.  This would be a box I keep forever. Inside was a note saying Congratulations.  There was an engraved Tiffany bracelet along with a personalized stamp.  

I had forgotten what it had felt like.  To feel special. To feel chosen. To feel proud of myself. Not my children.  Of me.  Way to go ME.  I couldn't wait to tell the world but I still had to wait.  Bloody time zones.

But it was flushing back.  The emotion. It was magical.

...................................................................................................................................

By 2pm, there was still no coffee.  And no matter how many white wooden boxes full of Tiffany teal mini boxes or personalized stamps were going to keep me alive. Where in the world are the windows in this place?

While on my break, I wandered outside to the Display Boards. The Display Boards are boards where selected Stampin' Up! demonstrators created projects with new products from the 2017 Occasions catalog.  There is a long list of the names but you don't know who created what.  Here was some of my favourites.  If anyone knows who created these, I'd love to put their names there to give them credit.



The day finished up and I never did get coffee but we were off to supper at a place called Play.  And I was ready for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a side of snacks. (We had gotten so skinny from the lacklustre lunch and absence of snacks) Well, this place hit the spot.  It was a celebration.  Every bite was like a party in my mouth.



You should go here next time you are in Ottawa.

After too much wine and of course, too much food we wandered up to the Parliament building.  There were big laughs. And a couple falls. And most definitely lots of pictures.  


The next morning was a little rougher.  We ate at the breakfast in the Novotel Hotel called the Albion Rooms.  The decor was amazing.  The food was local and delicious. Like seriously... check this out.


Today was the day that we go shopping.  We headed to Ikea first.  Ikea for me is hit or miss.  We don't have Ikea at home in Newfoundland.  To ship to our remote island is ludicrous. And unless I intend to ship these items back myself, its usually not worth it... But once the seal was broken... it was darn well broken.


Colleen.  Well. She went overboard.

The sad part is that I really wish I bought more picture frames.  I hate it when that happens.

We knew before we even left there that we were going to need some more luggage.  I didn't even have any with me.  I sent all my luggage back to Newfoundland with my family.  Never fear, my friends... we went to Bentley and got some soft duffle bags for like $30 bucks.

We spent the rest of the day at the new Premium outlets in Kanata. I bought two pairs of sunglasses.  I don't know why I have spent this much of my life without red sunglasses. Right?


This was fast becoming a food vacation because I have to tell you about the Smoque Shack.  There was nobody else there but it was SOOOO good.  If I was a University Student, I would only eat here. It is for everybody but you get lots of food for good value - perfect for a starving student.



And then it was time to pack.  I really should have taken a picture of that little car with so much luggage.  So much.  The soft duffle bags were filled.  But we jammed it into that car like it was our job.  

Earlier I asked if it was worth it.  

It was.  It was... once again, it was not how I planned my "moment". But I wouldn't change a thing. Heck.  Things seem to never go as planned in my world.  And its pretty funny.  How awkward it was. I am still enjoying the laughter of this trip.

Ironically today is the day you register for the OnStage event in April.  I bought my plane tickets yesterday and will register today.  I can't wait to walk across the stage to celebrate my 5 years with Stampin' Up! This time, I'll have my friends ready to take my picture.


This trip wouldn't be complete without talking about Paula's hat.  It was a must buy.  A forever item.  But it wasn't getting smoothed in those duffle bags.  On the ol' noggin for the flights.  Let's get out of here.


West Jet. I am not a fan.  It said there was WIFI but there wasn't.  There was no in-flight entertainment system.  So much for a movie. Ba hum bug. 


But where there's lemons, there's lemonade, right?  I used the Adobe Premiere Clip app and just like that my family's Florida memories were captured in time forever.  Here's why you need this app.


If you made it through this post, you've done well my little grasshopper. You deserve a hot coffee. Not a cold one.

Have a beautiful Tuesday,
Cathy

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