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Editor-in-chief Maureen Bloomfield and I drove to Chicago to attend the NAMTA trade show. We made good time, only having trouble in finding our exit, which became a matter of confusion and then faith. Luckily, the hotel was close enough to the convention that we decided we could walk to it the next day.

The Hyatt we stayed at is the largest in North America and check-in was a little like arriving at an airport. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my ninth floor view allowed me to look down on the Chicago River and out across to the NBC building, Chicago University and the gothic Tribune building. The hotel room also featured an enormous flat screen TV with cable (!), a luxury which I don’t have at home.

After a night of relaxing (and watching The X-Files movie), I made off for the trade show in the early overcast morning. Walking along Navy Pier, I watched as the sea gulls flew past making their welcoming calls. The ferris wheel hadn’t yet started and kids had not yet descended upon the pier, so it was just me, the gulls and some boatmen readying their vessels. I made my way to the exhibition room, got my nametag and found our booth, which was manned by the ever-sunny Cherie Haas.

After finding Maureen and some of my other coworkers, we began stalking the exhibition floor to find what was new and cool in the world of art manufacturing. 

I also paid a visit to Patti Brady who I’d just interviewed for an upcoming feature and wanted to show her the design. It was easy to pick out Patti with her flame-red hair and dark-framed glasses. Later on, that booth would offer a “happy hour” in which I would get a complimentary Cosmopolitan, which warmed me up quite a bit to meeting new people.

As time allowed, I took breaks and rested my well-worn feet outside, savoring glances at Lake Michigan as its gently rippling waves glittered in the April sun.


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