Florida smells like flowers and is full of lizards. Teeny tiny lizards, quick as mice, scurrying in and out of every flower bed or hedge. Always on the verge of being squished, which makes walking occasionally startling for both the lizards and people.
I got up at 3:30 in the morning yesterday. Showered, fed cats.
This is Moussa’s “I’m too cute to starve” face. Never mind that he had his second supper not four hours before this shot…
Got to airport a little after 4:00. Met up with Jason, went through security. Got on flight. Flew to Toronto, had some breakfast. Went through US customs (you can do that when not in the US, apparently), flew down to Tampa. Had some wonderfully entertaining flight attendants (first time I’ve heard anyone use the term “groovy” when describing emergency lighting). Got to hotel, checked in. Unpacked as much as I’m likely to.
The hotel is huuuuuge. And has a ginormous gaping crevasse of an atrium running from the top floor all the way down to the lobby. There is balcony-style wrought iron fencing all the way around, which is about the only thing keeping me from making Star Wars references right now.
Anyway. Once settled, we sallied forth into the rain to explore a bit around the hotel and find food. Say some cool public art along the way. Had delicious pizza. The rain was warm, and we got to see some awesome lightning. Not even blue lightning, but sort of a pinky-mauvish lightning. Pretty much the colour of Mace Windu’s lightsaber.
The next day dawned brightish and slowly sunnier. Had breakfast at the hotel (included in the room rates, which makes it feel free even though it’s not, so we just heaped our plates full). Rather than wait until noon for conference registration to start, we took an extortionately priced cab ride out to St. Pete’s, where most of the NCECA-affiliated shows and studio tours are happening. Spent the day gallery-hopping, running into fellow conferencees here and there. My favourite spot was Craftsman House, where I bought a bowl by Jennifer Allen (I’ve wanted one of her things since I saw a photo online a few months ago). Another cool spot was Duncan McClellan’s studio. He does glass himself, but carries ceramic and metal work by a couple other people. He also has a very friendly cat, and an impressive variety of fruit trees.
There’s more. Artist talk by Richard Notkin, neat prints, meeting more potters (and bumming a ride back to Tampa with them, thank goodness, because my transportation budget is GONE). Climbed a huge tree (don’t know what it was), bought a neato-cool tumbler. Even had a swim in the hotel pool at the end of the day. (It’s warm enough out to go swimming! At night, even!)
But now I am tired and achey and the conference starts in earnest tomorrow, so I need to sleep.
 Nothing stops me from Star Wars references for long.
 The loquats were ripe. I did not know there was any such thing until today, but I can tell you now they are delicious.