Playing Hooky

Sometimes a gal just has to play hooky.

My duties as 2009 Pennwriters Conference Coordinator kicked into high gear this weekend as we prepared to apply for a grant. I basically needed to plan the entire conference in four days. Mind you, the conference isn’t until next May. But I needed as much detail as I could gather and put together. Nothing like a deadline and a little pressure to force me to focus. Saturday, I spent about ten hours at the computer working on the thing. By Saturday night, my brain was fried. Sizzled. Burnt to a crisp.

Calgon, take me away!

Sunday morning, I basically turned over what was left to Pennwriters’ president, vice-president, and this year’s conference coordinator with orders to “deal with it.” Hubby and I were outta here.

Every year, Pittsburgh hosts the Three Rivers Arts Festival in the heart of the city. Every year, I say I want to go. NOT every year does it happen. More often than not, the festival comes and goes before I realize time has escaped me once again. So, on a rare, perfect day (it usually rains during the festival. Some years we’ve even had tornadoes), we headed out. Destination: downtown Pittsburgh.

For me, part of the adventure is the trip. We drove to South Hills Village and caught our version of mass transit. It’s called “The T” and it’s part train, part subway. It’s also probably humdrum to those who use it on a daily basis. For a country gal who boards it once every few years, it’s like a Kennywood ride.

Once we climbed the stairs out of the Gateway Plaza stop, we were immersed in the festival. And construction. And sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference. We sniffed the luscious aromas coming from the food court. Since I’m still on my diet, I told myself that all the greasy stuff smelled much better than it tasted. I actually believed myself. Until later, when I was hungry.

We browsed the tented artists’ market as best we could. Mostly we saw the backs of other people’s heads and shirts. The place was packed. We allowed ourselves to be moved along with the flow, catching glimpses of pottery and jewelry, photographs and paintings and assorted odd items.

Then we found a seat on some shady grass along the sidewalk to regroup. That was when I spotted my friend and fellow Working Stiff, Mike Crawmer and his partner, Jim, strolling our way. He spotted me, too. How could he help it, the way I was flailing my arms around? Of course, he tried to PRETEND he didn’t see us. It didn’t work.

After chatting in the shade for a few minutes, we all decided to take a walk down to the newly renovated Point State Park, which had been closed for over a year. We took pictures like a bunch of tourists. But it was fun.

The day was hot enough that the spray from the fountain felt great, but not so hot that walking was uncomfortable.

As for the grant application? Our treasurer determined we don’t qualify for it. No, I’m not upset. I accomplished a lot on Saturday…stuff that is now done and I won’t have to do it later. And Saturday was rainy and ugly. Now if I’d stayed home on SUNDAY and missed our day at the Arts Festival…THEN I might be a tad miffed.


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