Thursday, August 2, 2012

On My Way

I set the alarm. I never set the alarm. I'm retired. I don't schedule early morning appointments on a regular basis. I sleep until I'm not tired and then I rise and shine.

This morning, the alarm roused me from a wonderful dream, a green dream, a forested walking dream. I was bitter about the interruption but excited for my trip. I'm on my way to BlogHer'12; at least, that's the plan.

Shower, dress, grab a Kashi Bar and toss the rest of the box into the carry-on because there's room and mini-bar snacks are expensive, and I'm out the door with TBG allowing me to heft my own bag into the trunk. I'm travelling alone; I have to be able to handle its weight.

He's taken to driving me to the airport. We've made those trips optional since he was working and travelling and I refused to drag the kids to and fro for those extra 45 minutes of bonding time. Off-site parking at the Tucson Airport cost $2.88 per day in the summer time; there's no reason not to drive and leave The Schnozz. But TBG likes those extra minutes of bonding time and I am not one to look askance at assistance. I've learned to accept help with grace, as you all know.

American Airlines let me scan the barcode on my confirmation email and the stand alone machine printed out my two boarding passes and my two receipts in no time. Four pieces of paper – two stashed in the carry-on for tax purposes, two in the outer pocket of my purse for easy access in the airport. 

Not much of a line at security, as usual, and a lovely gentleman behind me to catch my hiking pole and my luggage cart as they nearly toppled while I grabbed a gray plastic bin for my shoes. That pesky purse was scanned twice; why do they ask if that would be okay? What would happen if I were to say “NO!” I wonder?

(Grammar Freaks – does a comma follow that exclamation mark? The end of that sentence looks ugly.)

Sneakers retied, hiking pole re-sized, carry-on secured to the wheels, I strolled to the end of the terminal, all the way to the end. Gate 8. No moving walkway. No directional signs. Just a small collection of airport food vendors, two free wi-fi counters with stools and plugs, and a really nice gift shop. I love Tucson International Airport, even if I can't fly anywhere but Chicago without changing planes.

I debated buying a granola topped yogurt container, or a chicken salad sandwich, but nothing looked yummy. The barrista at the coffee cart didn't have a blueberry muffin for me. I ate one of my Kashi bars as I enjoyed the warm glow of the 40-something businessman buying breakfast for the 20-something soldier in line before me. Explaining that he could only retire from the Army if new recruits showed up, he fed them so that he could really enjoy his separation from the service.

You don't have to look very far to find joy and wonder in this world.

We landed early at Dallas-Fort Worth, with plenty of time to make my connection to my flight.... which was cancelled.... “there is weather in New York and LaGuardia is experiencing delays”. American called my house, American called my cell, TBG called my cell..... I was well informed, if stuck.

Standby on the 1:15-delayed-til-2:00 flight was a nightmare. Aggravated travellers couldn't get upgrades, couldn't get on, couldn't find information. At times like these, I try to channel Little Cuter and overwhelm the worker bees with smiles and kindness.

It's hard to be you in times like these,” was my opening salvo. A rueful grin, a shake of the head, and suddenly I was 16th on the list instead of 38th. My girl is right; you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The snarky New Yorker in me battles, but the proof is in the pudding.

It made no difference; there were only 2 available seats.

So, it was off through the terminal again, back to the gate from which I'd exited an hour before. I passed more restaurant feeding stations, but neither Aunt Annie's hot-dog-in-a-pretzel nor another yogurt cup with granola was tempting. TGIFridays had immediate seating, but I had to get on another stand-by list and stay close to the gate in case there was room for me on the 3pm flight.

My plan was to eat after I didn't get on the 2nd flight.... but some connecting passengers still had to pass through customs before joining this voyage and they weren't going to do that in time. All 20 of us waiting on stand-by seats could be accomodated.

So, I am sitting in a window seat, halfway back, over the wing, watching the flatlands of the UsofA pass beneath me. The pilot hopes that we won't be stuck in air traffic control hell in New York and that we will land just a few minutes after our scheduled arrival time.

With the time changes, the flight changes, the altitude and the weather changes, I am truly confused. It's a good thing that NY stays open all night long; I will find myself a piece of greasy pizza or a real New York hot dog or a pastrami sandwich on the kind of rye bread that exists only in The City no matter how late it is.

I'm on vacation!
A $12.50 shuttle bus took me to Grand Central Station and a free shuttle took me right to the Hilton.  Kathleen at the front desk found me a lovely room with a king sized bed and a sofa bed in case I want to recline on something other than the 5 pillows atop the somewhat gooshy mattress.  Chatting up the reservation clerk is another way I'm channeling my girl, who, between her wedding and buying a house has no time to gallivant in NYC with her mother and 4000 other bloggers this weekend.  

The hotel lobby is filled with laughing women, some of whom must be going to the conference too, I guess,  Radio City is right across the street, and so is a small and wonderful grocery store which provided sushi and cut fruit and sparkling water for my late night dinner in my room.  

Olympics on the tube.... a full belly.... Facebook messages from bloggy friends who want to meet up.... life is good.


  1. I'm so envious! And I received a note from BlogHer that Obama will be speaking at the conference. So exciting.

    Have fun!

    Megan xxx

  2. My other favorite blog, besides yours, is Stephanie O'Dea's blog on cooking in the crockpot. She's there also ... so say hi to her if you get to meet her. She writes in a very humorous way and has some great recipes.

  3. Hope we can find a few minutes to meet. I'm at

  4. I'm remembering all the amazing times from last year... Are you going to try to find Big Cuter another perfect woman? Haha...

    Missing you and this experience terribly, but also I am so proud of you! Look at the progress you've made since last year!

  5. It's every bit as wonderful as last year.... and yes, darling daughter, I have made progress. I'm going to try to find Buttercup and the crock pot cook in between learning HTML and listening to a new friend talk about culture and community.

    My heart is full.


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