Pre Add: Cannot get thumbnail pix to show
Lighting out to NYC:
Alone but not alone
We begin in Guelph at Stone Road Mall in a Canadiana store. I’m stressing over what to get Dana, her girls, T, Marsha. My legs seem to take me where I need to go. I have the most trouble over T’s money clip; should it be maple leafs or the Inuit face? Does anyone still use money clips? I wondered, but my senses went for money clip with leafs. Mark concurred… Turns out T liked it and there is a story behind that, too! I knew the pink amethyst bracelet for Dana would match her dress perfectly. The little ones will like these tiny medicine bags with the dream catchers on them.
Check out the powerful current on the Niagara River. It’s is a jaw dropping moment when the roar fills your ears for the very first time. Or the second….or the 3rd….and so on. The mist is so thick it spreads over the whole town, making it a steam bath in the summer. These are the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side…That tubby little boat is the Maid of the Mist; one of 4, and they toot up and down the Niagara River all day. The guides hand out raincoats as you go aboard.
Here’s some important information: I sweated more here than in Manhattan.
Same thing on the American side. As with boating custom, when two boats pass each other, you must wave. This has a history of course, to show you are friend not foe. Every time the ferries met, all the passengers waved at each other like hyped up soaking wet kids. People would take pictures of complete strangers who hammed it up and posed uninhibitedly.
Sunday in a Nut Shell:
Got into Niagara Falls about 2 p.m.
WWe are all getting cranky and lunch becomes priority…I forget where we went…probably Mickey Dees. All I remember is that Mark and I weren’t snapping at each other afterwards.
Goofed around in hotel while Ben went exploring, discovering where the whereabouts of pop and ice machines. This Hotel is primo. We’ve been to the Falls many times since Ben was born and stayed in some real mutts.
God this place is busy! The strip (Clifton Hill) is jammed with wax museums, arcades, rides, funhouses, souvenir shops, restaurants, man, you don’t know if you’re in Guinness Book of Records or Ripley’s Believe it or Not. It just goes on and on!
Hey, a Marvel Comic themed arcade was just around the corner of our hotel… Hmmm…little signs of what’s to come. I have been seeing omens like this for weeks now. Even Before we left, NYC and the EVENT seemed to jump out at me from everywhere I looked. Ads, TV shows, cars, everything I looked at reminded me of NYC.
Tried T=No answer.
Starting to think he gave me the wrong #. Of course, it’s only right to blame him first. It’s axiomatic. Called Dana, she, little ones and auntie got in ok.
Okay…checking up on the Tet…that’s what we do. Maintain contact. I figure if I can’t reach T, Dana may and she’d let me know.
So that’s taken care of.
I didn’t bother to unpack but a few things. Why? I was flying tomorrow! Getting my own engines gassed up, I suspect, as I have never tackled such a thing of this magnitude alone, EVER!
OOOO! Gotta get pics of falls for Flakey---take two of American side, two of Canadian. I always take the same shot twice, to be sure. I am no photographer, let’s face it.
Tried T= No answer.
Starting to think I copied down wrong #... (turned out later I did--anni ya idjit)
Went on ginormous Ferris wheel with enclosed air-conditioned gondolas for petes sake! This thing was huge, a Ferris wheel on steroids. Ben began to freak out a little over the height, even Mark looked nervous, but I was in my element. Rides! (I take what I can get now, but let me tell you, I used to be able to do the freakin’ Zipper 3 times in a row. I was a total ride ho’ and a theme park/fair/carnival junkie)
Ben’s fright waned and soon he was having a great time, pointing down at the places we had been or ought to go. Four long rotations later, we were back on terra firma seeking out the next place to visit. Wound up in one of a gazillion souvenir shops so we tried on funny hats for a while then headed into a funhouse. Now the funhouse was a regular funhouse with goofy mirrors that make you look even goofier, revolving tube walkway, rope bridge, twists and turns, a black light room (1970’s flashback) but I was most impressed with the gravity room. A simple little room but on approximately 35 degree angle. Enough of a slope to really mess with your head. I like getting my head messed with this way. Cheaper than drugs…
K, moving along…
Left the guys to play in the arcade some more and I head back to the hotel. I have to sit down, have a smoke and take inventory. Regroup.
Tried T=No answer
Starting to think he doesn't know how to work phone hahaha, kidding, or maybe summats amiss...naw, if there was a problem, Dana would phone me.
So I’m on a stone bench outside the hotel, watching the world go by and feeling really damn good about life when one lone firework pops up in the air and lights the mist of the falls a spooky red. Well I liked that so I got up and walked a couple of blocks closer… 5 minutes later; all of downtown is treated to an extraordinary firework display right between the two falls. Fireworks just turn me on, plain and simple. The noise, the colours draw me in and hold me tight and I never want to be released…
All these odd little things, which are happening, feel like gifts
note to self--don't forget dress.
Slept like shit. This is to be expected of course.
Had breaky at a lovely tearoom I just know my Nannie would have adored...with little dainty china doo-dads and old lady lacy things that were ‘simply precious.’ Well they were… was this my future I was looking at? Maybe not, but for a second…
Double-checked packing-=--all ready to go.
Drove into Buffalo and the security guy at customs is giving us the third degree. "Who’s the kid in the back seat? Where are you going? WHY are you going?" After convincing him we were a nice little family and not crazed terrorists, he waved us through. Arrived at the airport, checked bag, got boarding pass…everything is going smoothly.
I begin to wonder about tips and break a couple 20’s into 5s and singles.
Said the serenity prayer 5 times before going through the metal detector (getting geared now) and set off the alarm anyway, because I touched the sides. Feeling like an ass for everyone must stop and gawk; I go through again. I grab my carry on bags and holler ‘I love you!!’ over to my guys as we become separated in the din. They were gone and my heart ached a bit then. A tug there right in my chest.
Waiting waiting waiting!!!!
I make myself zone out and focus on the runway beyond the glass wall right before me. Planes come down and planes go up. Planes go up, planes go down.
I rate their take offs and landings using numbers between one and ten. I watch luggage get stowed, tanks get filled, flight attendants bustle. The only folks who aren’t in motion are the ones stuck to their chairs from heat. Some of them are sleeping, reading. Most have a phone glued to their ear.
Waiting….finally take a Valium.
Allll-Right!!!!! My flight is called. I grab my stuff and line up.
Board a plane the size of a Mars Bar...with propellers yet. My jaw drops slightly and I said another prayer (LOL) once I sat down and buckled my belt. I am not a frequent traveller, but have never been in an airplane this small since I was a kid and flew with my Dad in his Cessna.
Take off in any kind of plane for me is like reaching nirvana. I can’t explain it. I get this feeling of freedom like I can fly, too. As the wheels lift off the tarmac and we gain altitude and bank slightly to reach the flight path, I am no longer in control. My life is in someone else’s hands and for some reason this is just fine with me.
The flight attendant goes through the safety banter. Oxygen masks, seat belts, yada yada. I am informed that if we hit water, I may use my seat cushion as a flotation device.
If we land in water, I think, I’ll be using the seat cushion as a toilet.
It was a very smooth flight. We were only 7000 feet in the air and our speed was maybe 500 MPH. So I stared out the window and gazed at the patchwork of earth below the clouds, mesmerized.
After all, it’s just another ride!!! An hour and a bit later, we banked again there was the city right below us! We descended onto the runway and landed with a soft bump.
Monday, part 2
This is La Guardia Airport. I am in New York.
While waiting for my lone dark pink suitcase to come tumbling down the luggage carousel, I receive first compliment on my cheap sunglasses by a lady security officer. She asks if they cost 300 dollars and I got all silly with nervous and said I bought them in Grand Bend. Like she‘d know just what I‘m talking about…
The Mr. Golden Touch Travel driver was standing near the automatic doors with a sign reading Ann Morrison. I feel very important as he helps me with bags and off we go. He takes the long way into Manhattan, a wee tour like. He drove through Queens, named all the boroughs (there are 5), pointed out landmarks, answered questions and was a real sweetie. His name was Yoseff but looked like Cliff Huxtable! The ride was 45 minutes long and he let me smoke in the limo, too. I tipped him big-big for that alone. First time flying without smoking.
That was just wrong.
I hope I get Yoseff on the return trip...
Note: Every driver, limo or cab was as polite as can be. There was only one who acted like a bit of a dink and he must have got his drivers licence at Toys R Us.
After arriving at the hotel and checking in, the receptionist informs me that I have been upgraded to a suite in the Tower! I’m in a TOWER How SK!! I get into an elevator nicer than my house and let it carry my to the 36th floor get out and slink towards my room. I opened the door of suite # 36F and stop cold. WOW! It has real artwork in the LIVING ROOM! Crystal balls and bowls of pot pourrie` sit in art deco bases. Black marble bathroom! Huge desk and teeny kitchen! A Fireplace!!! JEEEZZUZZ!!
You Could live here !!
My picture taking skills do not give the room the justice it deserve. My Gundy is in the BR on the bed (not shown, but he‘s cute) and comes with me wherever I travel.
Got message a Mr Black had left "a stick" for me at reception desk...went back down to reception to collect it. I gasped when I held it in my hands. It is incredible and Mr Black is quite talented. I cried at his kindness.
Called Mark to let him know all was well. ..there was a message from Dana...called her back and spoke with TB who was in her room playing with her kids.
I showered and napped a couple hours, than chugged a warm Diet Coke while I dressed and took a cab to Dana's hotel. Dana is as warm and sweet as she is pretty and we really did shriek at each other in greeting. There was the formal hello first; then a pause when we just looked at each other, then yelled and hugged like old friends. Her young ladies, flirts both, were all cute and silly and excited, no shyness there, LOL,. I met Auntie Claudine who is a lovely person! I want me an Auntie Claudine, too
TB had checked into a room right down the hall, I discover and just as Dana and I began to talk a mile a minute, T phones Dana. I put me finger to my lips shhh keep him talking at Dana, who nods immediately (hey, we is women)…snuck down the hall and banged on his door. I tried to bang hard, too. Then, after forever, there he was! A bear of a man with a twinkle in his eye. I gave him a hug and it felt like I was hugging a long lost brother! I love him already, but this is too much!
Sorry Our T is fuzzy. I took this when were all bouncing around in Dana’s Room!
Gifts were exchanged; the girls had gotten Ben a little model of a checker cab and I loved the NYC ashtray and little Betty Boop ID card Miss Dana gives me. The gifties I had stressed over so much in Guelph went over big, so I was pleased about that!
After much fuss and excitement, we left the girlies with Auntie C. and spent the rest of the evening yapping in T’s room. Dana and I drank soda (they laughed when I called it pop) T drank coffee after coffee. All 3 of us smoked like fiends and talked for 3 or 4 straight hours. My voice was horse the next day.
Took cab back to the Waldorf and the second I hailed that sucker, my street smarts came zooming back I just started pretending NY was a really big Toronto, my favourite city in the world. Born and raised there, it is never far from my heart. I began to feel right at home. Can’t take the city out of this girl, I guess.
We all smoked so much (I know we bad) my clothes, hair, even my bra smelled like smoke. I tossed my bra into one of the pot pourrie` bowls to freshen it up over night. Took a shower after ordering an egg salad sandwich via room service at 1 in the morning, which must have cost 50 bucks. I had to explain how to make the sandwich, which was rather amusing. It may have been too simple an order. I should have ordered Eggs Benedict instead.
While waiting for sustenance, I settled down in my jammies to explore T's cane...my cane now. It is just brilliant. The stick has a crook to it, and I love that, makes it more natural, is tan and brown and is so glossy (how many coats, T?) you almost see a reflection. He had carefully carved a maple leaf near the handle--see? (Toldja the whole maple- leaf money clip was ka--maybe he‘ll share on that bit…) A tiny rose is engraved further down the stick and is so well detailed. In fact, the stick itself is filled with little details and places to explore. It is simply…beautiful and I hope he knows how much I love it. Like he just knew what would suit me, bless him…
Room 36F overlooked the Chrysler Building, a breathtaking sight. I kept going back to look at it. I eventually sat on the window ledge, gazing at it for a while with one hand and my fore head resting against the glass. Then one of my little shines hit me. It had surfaced earlier and I had even mentioned it to Dana and T, but it was dismissed it in all the fuss and excitement. Too busy talking, playing with kids, more talking, LOL…even I forgot about it… How odd.
The window reflected my face and I thought I saw people standing behind me. This was the spirit of the Tet. They were with me. (no, I’m not nuts, this shit happens all the time)
After watching late night NY TV, (Oooo, South Park is on!) enjoying my made to order sandwich, I let the drone of the A/C and the traffic far below lull me into sleep.
Mr. T called my room and woke me up, didn't matter, but I growled at him anyway for appearance sake and phoned him back when I finally peeled my eyes open. Coffee. Where the hell do they keep the coffee?
Dana was off touring by then but I phoned her just as she was leaving. She was doing find and we said we’d talk later.
T came over at 11 to have coffee and craic before venturing out in the NY heat...must have been 100+F or over 40C...anyway, it was fucking hot. Like walking into a stone wall.
BAMMMMM. We both complain the second the revolving door spits us out into the blast furnace that is Manhattan but we gamely set out into the madding crowd. At least 90 percent of the people I saw had cell phones. I thought of Stephen.
I dragged TB around to a few shops and finally into Saks 5th Ave. By then, I was wondering why we didn‘t stay back at the hotel drinking coffee in the air conditioned suite but we distracted ourselves by acting like hubby and wifey for the clerks who must have thought we were aging rock stars or just plain lunatics. We came up with about 50 different cutsie-poo names for each other. I think I even called him Pookie. That was pretty chuckalicious.
I was determined to buy one thing; just one thing from Saks, but nothing caught my eye (in other words, what could I afford? haha). A cream silk camisole caught my attention and drew me in, (Hey, pretty is pretty) and I tossed it over the ancient black sports bra I wore, came out of fitting room and cried , "You like this one, Sweety? Should I get it?" T had made himself comfortable on a leather bench and I think I woke him up. "Yes, dear" he said in a whipped voice and I bought the thing. It was 117 bucks without tax...didn't care. It’s silk. SSSSSSiiillllkkkk…
TB took this when I was NOT looking, sneaky bugger! The Boy Toy beside me was plaster. And looked very fem, too. Wig from the 70’s. I have no clue what he is supposed to be doing with his stiff little fingers ‘It was dis big!’
By 2 pm, we were pooched. We explored the main floor Rockefeller Centre. I bought a bunch of shit and T, who hadn’t eaten since the day before, grabbed a sandwich. I asked a wino for directions. He was my best buddy after that.
TB cabbed it back to Dana’s hotel to get ready, I WALKED back to mine (note to self--don't ever do that again) and nearly up-chucked by the time I got to my room. After a quick sponge bath, I made myself lie down. I was receiving warning signs from my back and cussed myself out for carrying all that shit to the hotel. Eventually, I fell into a fitful sleep. My wake up call came at four. I showered, began to prepare for the evening and phoned Dana. for I needed her to know I was running slower than usual. On top of that, I got a dork of a cab driver and we were stuck in rush hour traffic. I lit a smoke (the cab stunk anyway) and watched the masses scurrying about. The driver saw TOURIST ALONE tattooed on my forehead and thought he’d take the long way, there, too. After calling him on this; he grunted and turned the cab a sharp left.
He got no tip.
So this is how I arrived at The Jekyll and Hyde club later than the rest and missed pictures.
After smoothing my dress and taking a deep breath, I climbed the stairs to "The Library’, where the SK Group was dining. I stood there blinking stupidly as my eyes adjusted to the dark until T appeared like magic and held out his arm for me to take.
“You look lovely, Mrs. Morrison” he said.
“As do you, Mr Black.” I replied as he escorted me over to our tables. Our Marsha, who is a tiny wee thing with a smile that can light up a room, introduced me around to everyone. It was a quick meet and greet and I couldn’t hear half of the intros, but I smiled and said some very clever things anyway. I also met her daughter and friend; two pretty young women who T seemed to enjoy entertaining LOL. That boy….I write this fondly and am smiling right now, all by myself a week later in my little library at home.
T took this one. My other fotos of the restaurant were crap, I’m sorry to say. But you’ve all seen the good ones by now! Thanks Dana, that helped me a ,lot really, cuz this ’’journal has 14 pages already!
Inserting Bev’s list of guests:
The people at the dinner, in addition to you lot (!), were:
Dallas Mayr (aka Jack Ketchum) and his long-time partner Paula
Peter David (scriptwriter for DT graphic novels) and his daughter
Jae Lee (artist for DT graphic novels)
Robin Furth (author of DT concordance)
Thank you Bev.
Note…there are parts in here that Dana explained better regarding club, dinner and the show. In fact, by now, most have you have seen the stream by now on MSN, so I shan’t go into detail lest it becomes redundant. ;~} And a lot was a blur from excitement.
Oh, the Goth Chick came back after Dana left and flirted with our TB once more.
Everyone was so rushed...so busy...so wired! Bev and Mary Ann, Jack and Paula sat at different table so I didn't speak to them unfortunately, although I sat beside Marsha and across from Robin Furth who is a lovely woman. She made comment # 3 on pink glasses! (I forgot Dana had mentioned them also!) We talked comics and I was tickled she knew who the Freak Bros were...I grilled Jae over the upcoming Dark Tower comics pretty hard, making sure his pictures would be as true to story as possible. He assured me all would be well. Okay. That’s good then…
Couldn’t read the menu and didn’t want to use up Peter’s daughters cell batteries trying so I simply asked Marsha what she was eating and had the same thing Steak and mashed taters, Caesar salad and apple crumble for dessert, YUMMY!!! I walk Dana outside murmuring words of encouragement and assure her she will bea fine. Her pallor is white underneath her tan and I’m concerned.
T and Jack appear for a smoke too and I return upstairs where I begin stressing big- big over a T-shirt for Ben. 1st, I ask where to find the souvenir counter, am given directions and all it‘s all good.. Next, a young guy named Steve, haha approaches me and makes many apologises; seems he made an error, the counter was closed!!! He must have seen my face drop because he later returned, took me aside and says he can wrangle one up for me. I believe if I had just been Anni from the block and not part of the SK party, I would have returned to Canada to a shirtless disappointed young lad. However, I am grateful as hell and arrange with Steve to go and look at them after I eat. Do so and pick out the goriest one I could find! I have my Visa at the ready (I took cash for taxis and tipping only) then I am informed I can pay either with cash or Am Ex. After telling him to give me a minute please, I sit beside Marsha, appetite lost, for I either get the kid his shirt I promised him or walk back from RCMC.
Ben will live…but a promise is a promise.
Marsha, clues in right away. She shines, methinks. She learns of my dilemma. As I tell her, I gape into my open evening bag as if more $ will magically appear.
"I’ll walk back.” I announce, more to myself.
“You will not! "She said or something close to it and pressed a bill into my palm. I protest of course, but she tells me she wants me to be safe. I crumble at this and she wins. I give her a huge hug and have already paid back my debt. This act of kindness touched me so deeply, I will remember it for the rest of my life. Marsha looks out for the Tet too.
A waitress approaches and said, “Is the Tet here? I have a message from Dana Jean for the Tet.” Peter, who is sitting beside Robin, says “We are a Tet, yes.” and looks perplexed as hell! Marsha and I pick it up right away and we say, “That’s us” and the woman delivers the message to us. Peter is still looking puzzled and Marsha explained (with much love in her voice), “If Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck had a love child…”
“It would be Dana Jean,” I finish and we touched each other hands as if in agreement and laughed, like “Oh, our Dana Jean!”.
It was great.
Dinner soon over, we walked in a group to RCMH. Sweat was streaming off us by the time we reached the theatre...the minute we got there, we were all separated in the melee.
I never saw zzzzzd or our M or TB again.
The SHOW!! Part 1
Am keeping notes as is, for reference mostly. As previously stated, most of you have seen the thread, so I will not go on about it.
Whoopi Goldberg opened the show and delivered an amazing intro. She ad-libbed so many times, just had the crowd in fits of laughter. Tim Robbins said his bit. I like Tim. He’s cute, too. Susan is lucky.
Next, Cathy Bates came on stage to introduce THE MAN! She spoke of SK with respect and kindness, and she has a good sense of humour. My heart sped up with each passing minute, it was just pounding!
Then the moment...Stephen ambled on stage and that was when I completely lost it. I cheered, I wept...he was less than 100 yards from me and I notice he walks with an identical limp to mine. I begin to wonder if the humidity is bothering his old wounds and hope he isn’t hurting.
He got a standing ovation.
A little girl yelled out "I love you, Stephen king" I knew that little girl had to be one of Dana's and I silently cheered! Ben would do the same thing!
SK worked the crowd like the pro he is, just as if we were all sitting in his living room, having a pop! God he was funny; very much at ease.
He read the Revenge of Lard Ass Hogan from 'The Body' and had the audience spellbound. I will never read that piece the same way again!
At the end, he got another standing O and I didn't want him to leave the stage...it was too soon. Too soon.
The SHOW!!, part 2
John Irving. What can I say that has not been said?
John, who is a very handsome gentleman indeed, read the Christmas pageant piece from ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany‘. He even did Owen's weird falsetto voice and he had the audience in the palm of his hand. His timing was just perfect.
God, he is a handsome man...did I already say that? I look closely at him and found myself drawn in as if I have bonded with the man. Must be the inner demons mentioned on the MB. Something close to it, anyway.
Next, Jon Stewart came on stage to introduce J.K. Rowling. I do not recall a word he said, although he made a neat reference regarding lit and the tube. Cracked a few jokes. A video montage of Harry Potter clips followed drawing cheers from the audience. When Snape appeared on screen, I screamed out in glee. I love a good villain! Tis no secret I love Snape. Love those bad boiz , ya know. ;~}
Back getting bad now. I'm starting to worry.
Ms Rowling walked out and took her chair. The audience went nuts, like this was a rock concert, not a reading. She showed off her shoes and I’ll bet most of the women in the theatre were coveting them. Becks would have been pleased. Winky-wink!
She is as stunning as she is brilliant and read from book 6 when Dumbledore goes to the orphanage to tell young Tom Marvolo Riddle (Lord Voldemort as a kid) that he has been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I could listen to this woman for hours...in fact all three could have read to us for hours. All the authors’ picks were humorous pieces. A great idea as there were many chillums abound in the audience.
She got a standing ovation as well and remained on stage for questions.
Steve and John joined her for: Questions questions questions!!!
Now I'm beginning to squirm. What a stupid time for my back to go into overdrive....
Finally, our Dana's turn to ask hers! WTG, Dana...she did very well and as nervous as she must have been, she sure didn't show it. John gave her question a lot of thought before answering.
I told her that bracelet I gave her would bring her luck! LOL!
I left soon after Dana did her bit, deeking out before everyone else. There was not an empty cab to be found. I march/limp right up to 2 construction workers and asked how far the hotel might be. Well, they didn’t know, but were more than willing lean on their shovels and shoot the breeze with me. An empty cab did appear eventually and I
made it back to the suite in one piece. Taking my usual place on the window ledge, I looked out into the city lights in the city night.
I was in this huge room and had no one to share it with. I had no one to talk about the show to. I cried a bit, feeling a wee sad, which I had not expected at all.
Alone but not alone.
It was all over, you see...it was over, it was done and it was gone.
Despite my melancholy, I also carried a very warm feeling inside me. The Tet was within me also.
I left a message on T's voice mail to say buh-bye, called Dana, too.
While waiting for breakfast to come, I busied myself checking and double-checking my luggage and carry on bag. I settled my account at reception, (that frigging egg salad sandwich WAS 60 bucks, I kid you not) and the limo appeared the second I exited the Waldorf‘s doors. Great timing! (No Yoseff, though)
20 minutes later, we were at La Guardia where the whole travel thing happened again, only this time in high speed and reverse. Comment #four
Called Dana from airport while waiting. She was on her way home too.
I miss my guys horribly. Kitty cats too.
Waiting waiting waiting…
The flight came soon after and POOF, I was gone into the clouds again.
This is the EVENT shared from my corner. I only hope that I have told it well and you all., I mean, yaw’ll LOL enjoy reading it..
Ben loved his T-Shirt and wore it for 3 days straight.
It all feels like a dream now.
Was I even there?
August 11 2006