Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lucky Us!

In 8 more days we will, once again, be ensconced in the second row of the Shubert Theatre enjoying the funniest show on Broadway starring the most talented singer/actor/entertainer on the planet! Our little band of travelers made our way, from various cities, to the Big Apple last April. We hopped around and shrieked we were so happy to be together again. (See verra, verra old blog about friendships). For some of us, that was our first Spamalot experience and a wonderful one it was! We planned to see 3 shows and, after the first, wondered why we hadn’t planned on 5. Sadly, Clay was out for our Sunday matinee, but we were able to exchange our tickets for equally good ones for the Sunday night show so all was well.
Others, who are far better writers than I, have described the show and our own Sir Robin many, many times so I won’t even try to do that. I will, instead, try to describe my feelings. I had not been in New York since I was a child. My dad took me there and planted me in the apartment of his then girlfriend. She tried hard to impress – we went to the World’s Fair (oops – just dated myself big time!), saw Angela Lansbury in Mame on Broadway from 5th row center and even got a hair cut at Kenneth’s which was where Jackie O had her own hair done. I didn’t see Jackie, but I did see a fabulous side of the city.
Fast forward to April of 2008. We stayed at the Marquis – that of the wacky elevator system. We ate sushi, had dinner at Sardi’s and brunch at Tavern on the Green. My daughter put her hair up, donned a black turtleneck, and posed with coffee and a muffin at Tiffany ala Audrey. Again, a fabulous side of the city! Best of all though was Clay as Sir Robin (and the guard and Brother Maynard). Broadway is like no other legitimate theater. It is, after all, Broadway! Only the best of the best are cast on Broadway and there he was – our very own shared boyfriend, Clay Aiken. It was thrilling to me that both he and I were there!
And now, lucky us, we get to go back again. This time we have planned on 4 shows. We have one break for Canal Street planned – Christmas gifts, you know. No Marquis this time, we have rented an apartment from a wonderfully funny psychiatrist in California. He has given us lots of eating tips. He doesn’t get it – that we are not there to see the city, but to see Clay again. If we buy a bag of bagels and fill in all other food at Junior’s, I’m okay with that. If we don’t eat at all, I’m okay with that. I will be there to see Clay in Spamalot on Broadway! He will stay on until January
4th, but this is going to be my last trip. Every time Clay tours I go to multiple venues and when I get to my last stop of each tour I am filled with an overwhelming need to know when I will see him again. That’s what this trip will be like for me. When will I see him again? What’s next for Clay and me? He has hinted at a tour in 2009, but I don’t know yet what is next.
What I do know is that there will be a next. Jaymes said the best is yet to come and I believe her. A tour? TV appearances? A show of his own? A movie? How wonderful that the answer could be any of the above possibilities. Clay has infinite possibilities – he is that talented. And I am, we are - so lucky!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Champions of Change

I was asked to write a blog about the Gala. I am embarrassed to say that I have not paid that much attention to it this year. I am on a tight budget this year and couldn't stand to see all of the wonderful items being auctioned off on which I am unable to bid. Even though last year I thought I might be able to go this year, that hasn't happened either. So let me talk about the Gala in more general terms if that's okay. Let me marvel about the Bubel Aiken Foundation and all of the good it does. Let me be absolutely in awe of the dedication that created the foundation, the devotion that keeps it growing and the vision that will maintain it for years to come. Let me also mention Clay who said he wanted his image removed from the logo. He wants the Foundation to be about the Foundation. He wants it to be about the kids that it benefits and about the volunteers who do so much to promote inclusion. And yet, he appears at the Gala and sings for the attendees and personally thanks the people who are carrying the message.
Face it - we started the BAF. Clay thought of it, wrote about it, conceptualized it and dreamed of it. We found out about the dream and we sent money, pledged support and volunteered our time and, just like that, a charitable foundation was born. Now it grows and as that happens, more and more children are reaping the benefit of Clay and Diane's dream. I think that's pretty awesome!
Now to the Gala - the Champions of Change. We have all seen awards shows, we know about industry dinners and balls and self congratulatory events. In my own professional life I have attended these events where people are honored. Here's the difference, though - at all of those it seems that the industry is honoring itself. These things are a lot of self aggrandizement and a lot of patting themselves on the back. The Oscars honor the industry - not the people who go to the movies and pay for the tickets that allow the industry to flourish. The Emmys don't honor the couch potatoes with remotes in hand. I work in the construction field. We don't honor the tenants and owners who move into our spaces or hire us to build them. We honor those of us who build the spaces the best.
The Bubel Aiken Foundation, though, honors the beneficiaries. It honors and rewards the people who make it possible for the dream to come alive. It honors and thanks the very people for whom it was created - the kids and adults who have embraced inclusion and who work so very hard to make it a reality.
Now that's a reason for a Gala!

2008 Champions Of Change Gala

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Six Degrees of Painful Separation and Clay Aiken.

The other day I took a header … crashed face first onto concrete steps leading up to my front door. I didn’t see it coming and I rose up screaming because I was so shocked and surprised. What does this have to do with Clay Aiken you might ask. Well, doesn’t everything in life have something to do with Clay?

This fall brought back reminders of another startling event in my life for which I had no warning nor control. A little teevee show “starring” Clay Aiken. Back in ’03, I just happened to catch Clay as he walked onto the Idol stage for the first time. Whammo! I was a goner. I was captivated, I was hooked, I was addicted. I was in shock; call 911. I was so in over my head that on Country Night when my cable was out, I sat for 55 minutes watching a snowy screen with my finger poised on the record button just hoping that I’d get to see Clay. The stars aligned or whatever that magic is and Clay appeared, I hit the record button and enjoyed 90 seconds of Clay, over and over again by watching the recording. I tell ya I was crazed.

My obvious cuts and bruises and a broken nose which all have been taken care of will mend in time. However, when Clay Aiken was so wrongly denied his crown as winner of American Idol Season 2, I thought my broken heart would be permanent. I thought his career had ended. Little did I, or any of us, know the strength, determination and power that Clay Aiken possesses. He fought for his rightful place in the entertainment industry and has risen from the Ashes to enjoy a fabulous career.

Today, my heart only swells with pride and love for the unconquerable, the undeniable and the fabulous Clay Aiken. My recent injuries will heal but the impact that Clay has had on my heart will never go away. It is good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Unicef and Clay Aiken

Did you know that approximately 25,000 children die each day before their fifth birthday, largely due to preventable causes? Thanks to organizations like UNICEF this number is getting smaller every day. Last year, the number of child deaths worldwide declined to about 9.2 million. In 1990, that number was 12.7 million. That's definite progress, but that number should be zero. Your support will help UNICEF reach the day when no child dies of a preventable cause. No child, not even one, should die of causes we know how to prevent—diseases like malaria, measles or tetanus. So today, despite these tough times, I decided to help save children's lives and make a monthly pledge to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Even a small amount makes a huge difference. For instance, $5 a month (about 15¢ per day) can ensure five children are protected from measles. If we could all make this small commitment we may be able to see the day when no child dies of a preventable cause. Please visit and pledge today.
Sincerely, Clay Aiken UNICEF Ambassador Posted by Clay Aiken, UNICEF Ambassador on October 7, 2008 10:42 AM

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Very Proud to be a Clay Aiken Fan

Clay has given permission for his blog to be posted and wants as many people as possible to read it:

Killing the elephants in the room.
What a week or so this has been. In fact, it's just been two weeks since I started back to the Spam. Jerome and I were just talking the other day, though, about how the past two weeks have felt like a month. So much routine to get back into and yet so much routine and consistency to break. No doubt, many of you have been going through quite a bit over the past week or so yourselves. What a bunch of headline news we have had in the past 10 days! Wall Street falling to it's knees. Congress propping it back up. Two debates. Hijackers in Somalia. New leaders in South Africa and Japan. You'd think with all of the important events going on in the world, there would be plenty to fill up the pages of America's newspapers, websites and blogs without the need for information on the private lives of the country's singers and entertainers. But, alas, thats never the case. In fact for the last five years, I've found what seems to have been an inordinate amount of interest (not from the public, but from the media) in my own personal life. The questions never seemed to stop. Oh sure, they die down for a period, but they resurface. The wind blows another direction, and I do yet another interview worried that my personal life will become a topic of discussion. No doubt the birth of Parker would bring the same scrutiny, just heightened. It's an interesting time we live in. Gone are the days when entertainers could go about their lives without the invasion of privacy that we now see everyday in the form of paparazzi and internet tabloid bloggers. So, in the hopes of being able to sing and act (and dance poorly) and do what I love to do for a living while raising my son in a hopefully more private and accepting environment, I chose to go ahead and confront things head on. Yes, I would have preferred to separate my personal life from my professional life. I would have been just as happy to go on without discussing my orientation. But, it seems like that was not an option. Make no mistake, its not because I am ashamed. No, not for a minute. I haven't always been as comfortable as I am now, but I am without a doubt, proud of who I am and make no apologies for it. Instead, I would have been happy to have kept my personal life private for that very reason. Because it's personal life and I have always considered myself a private person. But, living as myself without discussing my sexuality publicly would have been as impossible. One chance to expose the truth would have been a payday for any greedy opportunist.

I went to American Idol, much like many of us did "back in the day". Naive. Unlike the contestants who join up today, we had no idea of the power and pull of Idol when we signed on. (I'm sure many of us season two folks like to think we are the reason the show got so big!!! ;-) ) There I was two months off of the biggest show in the country, sitting at a table with a reporter from Rolling Stone who was asking me every single question I would never think of. Twenty-four years old in the rest of America is a LOT younger and more naive than twenty four years old in the media business. So when this guy started asking me about things that I didn't really know how to answer for myself... things that I was not yet ready to admit to folks like my mother and my family.... things that I found intimidating and invasive, I responded in what I assumed was a benign way at the time. I attempted to "out spin" a professional. I wasn't as good as I thought I was. But, I have no regrets. The truth is, I don't apologize for the responses I gave to that reporter or any reporter over the past five years. I did make every attempt I could after that one interview to never say "I am not gay" or "I am straight". And I never said either. (some interpreted my vague answers to mean that... but I never said either) Some will say thats misleading. In truth, it might be defined that way. But, a better definition and a more accurate way to describe it for me, is a redirection and an attempt to change the topic to something that matters more. For some of you it won't be enough, but I can't apologize for keeping my personal business to myself. If someone feels that they were mislead, I can totally understand that viewpoint and apologize for that feeling, but I can't apologize for how I handled questions that affected me and my right to privacy.

In my opinion, sexual orientation is ALWAYS a private thing. I think the OVERWHELMING majority of people agree with that. Why in the world should someone's sexual orientation be a news item? Why should anyone care? Yet, for all we espouse as a society about tolerance and open mindedness we forget to allow folks the opportunity to be who they are without judgement. Making a decision to come out to family is a difficult and heavy decision. But, for every young man or woman who is struggling with it, it should be a decision that is made on his or her own schedule ONLY. It's never acceptable for anyone to make such a decision for anyone else nor to coerce someone to take such a significant step before they are ready. Not a friend, not a stranger, not the media. So, I waited until the time was right for me. For that I can't apologize either.

There are plenty of you who have anticipated this blog in hopes that I would "set the record straight" or "admit to lying for five years and apologize for it". For that small group of people, I am afraid I will have to disappoint you. My decisions over the past five years have been made with lots of deliberation and at times even heartache. Always with concern for folks who might feel mislead. Don't doubt that. But they have also been made as an attempt, not to hide my true self, but instead to allow myself the same liberties and rights that every single gay man and woman in the world should have... the right to determine for myself when I was ready to discuss my personal life. In as much as that, at times, was interpreted as misrepresentation, I feel badly. But I reserved that right for myself and I can't say I regret it.

I have endeavored over the past several days to allow folks to vent and express themselves as freely as possible without restriction on these message boards. There is no way to change a person's mind when you tell them they are wrong. We all, when backed into a corner, have a human instinct to swing. Having different feelings and opinions and viewpoints are only natural. The only way to deal with that is to accept everyone's right to disagree, and allow them to discuss their feelings. I always have, and I always will. That said, it hasn't been, nor do I imagine it will be, my intent to make the message boards or the OFC a clearinghouse or discussion zone for sexuality or such topics. I hope we can always continue to discuss the same things we have always found important. The need for inclusion for children with disabilities. The desire to make sure every child in the world has access to their basic needs for survival. And any other topics that will make our neighborhoods, our regions, our country and our world a better more acceptable place (where that relates to issues involving sexuality, I hope we are able to advocate, at those times for the acceptance of others)... and I hope we will all still use the message boards for the lively discussion of the need for better entertainment and music in the world!!!! ;-) That said, as of this posting, I have asked the moderators to archive the thread regarding the People magazine article and close it from discussion. For those of you who are still struggling, I encourage you to continue to talk to your friends and neighbors and fellow OFC members in the thread devoted to such support. It is not going to be as easy as accepting something over night, but I believe that we are on the right track. The moderators will resume their regular duties of moderating the boards in the fashion that they did prior to last week, and I (and hopefully all of us) will resume our routines in the same fashion as well. Talking about music, talking about potential tours and other performances and appearances, talking about me forgetting my lines of tripping on stage in Spamalot, and discussing with our friends how many times we have seen the show and will see it! (And... looking forward to the announcement of out Playbill contest winner!!!)

Finally, I will say that, also representative of most every other gay man and woman in the world, that I am not defined by my sexuality. No more so than each of you are defined by your sexual orientation. No more than a man or woman is defined by race or ethnicity. It is, simply, a small facet of the same person I have always been. Most of you realize that nothing has changed. I hope to continue being able to entertain you in the same way I have for the past five years. And I hope you will allow me to continue to inform you of the causes that I find important and entertain you with the music and performances I love. For I love and cherish you all. Yesterday, now and forever.


Proud of Our Boy!

Gotta admit it - I am feeling pretty smug here. Clay Aiken is exactly the man I thought he was. How smart am I to have recognized such integrity? Well, maybe not so smart after all since everything he has ever said and done publicly would lead anyone with half a brain to realize that.
His blog last night was perfect! He knows the reaction of the fans - all of them. They could loosely be put into three groups -
1. I love Clay no matter what!
2. I am horrified because his sexual orientation is an abomination.
3. I am hurting because I feel that Clay lied to me.
He addressed all three groups.
1. Thanks for your support. I will still be here. There will be tours, there will be appearances - let's keep up our relationship of the past 5 years.
2. I understand that you feel that way. I will not tell you that you are wrong.
3. I am sorry that you feel that way. I will explain why I said what I said when I said it and I will not apologize for it, but I am sorry for your feelings.
And he loves all of us!
Seriously, how can you not be impressed with someone so true to themselves and so well spoken? You can read what Clay thinks is truly important and it's not what everyone's angst has been about! He is asking us - all of us - to focus on what is really important, not on one aspect of his life. It really has been a turbulent week in our society. The "Rescue Plan" is certainly going to affect our lives far more than Clay Aiken's sexuality. We have a really big election coming up. That outcome is going to mean more to our day to day lives than Clay's orientation. He's challenging us to take a look at our priorities - smart man!
This has all been easy for me because I don't care about Clay's sexual orientation. Sure, I shifted my dreams, but those were only mine to start. This was not a big deal for me - I have not cried or prayed or wrung my hands. I have patented my line of "Better to have a fantasy dashed because I'm a woman than to have a fantasy dashed because I'm an old woman!".
Easy for me - not so much for others. This is my blog, though, so my point of view is the one that's presented here. My point of view is that I love Clay Aiken. I love his voice, I love the person I have come to believe that he is. I love his integrity. I love his passion. I love his dedication. I love his humor. I love his sense of self. He is proud of the man he is and so am I.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Shift of Dreams

You know the saying...if you can't say something nice......Well, I needed to hear that. For the first few days since Clay's news I was unable to post without saying some unkind things. Now, though, I think I can share some thoughts and feelings without doing that.
What resonated the most to me was when Clay talked about his mother and then himself as parents. I am a parent, too, so I got it. We have dreams for our children. Like a parent, I had dreams for Clay, too. And they were specific! I dreamed of all of the things that I value - love, marriage, children, health, success and happiness. I taught my children to be honest, kind and hard working. From those traits will come dreams. I believe that Clay is honest, kind and hard working and that should make dreams come true for him.
Well, they have come true. His dreams, not mine and that is as it should be.
All that means to me is that I have to shift my dreams. Perhaps I need to limit them to health and happiness and let that happiness be defined by those I love.
I love my own children and I love Clay Aiken!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Short Blog

He is today exactly who he was yesterday. I loved him yesterday and I love him today.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Clay Phenomenon

Explaining Clay is just not ever possible. No matter what we say, it's not enough. No matter how many accolades we heap upon him, it doesn't say enough. Here's one part of the phenomenon, though. He's back and the time since we saw him last has disappeared!
We all have friends who can be described like this. "Even if it's been forever since we were together, we can always pick up our friendship without any difficulty. You would think we were together yesterday!" That's how it is with Clay.
We've been lucky enough to have lots of Clack from the Spamalot stage door these last two days and it seems like he was never gone. He's picked up his relationship with us just like we saw him yesterday. We know that much has happened in his life (and ours) since we saw him last. He looks different - his hair is dark again, it's shorter again, he's thinner again. Many of us probably look different than last time, too. The relationship, though, is the same. We love him and he loves us.
It's so good to have him back!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How do we handle the drought?

This is not what I meant to write, but when I sat down, this is what appeared on the paper!

Well, we have two more days to wait until Clay reprises his role in Spamalot on Broadway. The anticipation has gotten us through the last days and weeks, but what about the rest of the drought? How do we manage to get through weeks and months without a Clay sighting, without a blog, without radio play?

I know that many fans return to their real lives. They spend more time with their spouses and significant others. They play with their kids and cook them dinner. They go to work and respond promptly when asked a question. Some actually travel! Somehow they don’t feel like it’s cheating on Clay when they spend money on a plane ticket that won’t take them to a concert. A very few even spend money on tickets to things other than Clay concerts. Wow – now those are some independent women!

This fan, however, has no real life that will provide distractions and fill the time with pleasures while waiting for the greater pleasure.

This is not a poor me story! It’s just that I have managed to fill my real life with Clay, too. I have a job that I love and there are Clay posters on the walls and Clay CDs playing in my office and coworkers who ask regularly how Clay is doing and when I will see him next.

My kids are adults and live in other states. I see them several times a year and speak to them often. They always ask what’s on my Clay agenda! Someone asked my son what he thought of my fandom. He thinks it’s great that he doesn’t need to call me 5 times a week to see if I’m okay and not lonely. He leaves messages and says, “If you’re at a Clay concert, just call me later.” My daughter tries to rearrange her schedule so she can come along on my Clay trips.

I have wonderful friends with whom I spend a lot of time. Much of what we enjoy together is not Clay related at all. They will always ask about him, though, and they will always let me choose which CDs we are playing. Some of my Clay friends have visited my home and met my real life friends. What a surprise – everyone gets along beautifully! Each group remembers the others’ names and they recognize one another in pictures. I have good taste in friends.

My droughts are still filled with Clay! Each day, something will remind me how much I miss the tours, the concerts, the banter and all that is Clay. Unlike that song, "How can I miss you if you won't go away?", in some way I have Clay in my life every day, but I miss him!

Okay, so here’s my point – how do we get through the droughts? More important point? Aren’t you glad that Clay will be back in just two days?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

C'mon, Clay!

"Why did you go and do this to me?" Really, Clay? You're asking this question? Have you been napping for the last 5 years?
Remember that cute puppy dog face on the stage of AI and the wiggly fingers asking us for votes? Yeah, we voted.
Remember who was the star of the AI tour? Yeah, we bought tickets.
Remember the tours? Remember the sellouts? Remember the bus lines? Remember the singers? Remember the dancers? Remember the readers? Remember how many more wannabe singers, dancers and readers there were? Remember the meet and greets? Remember how many names there were to choose from? Yeah, we were there.
Remember the book signing? Yeah, we really did camp out on State Street in December all night long. It was cold and worth it. That was us.
Remember the CD signings? Remember how many of us waited and waited and staked our claim on the sidewalks? Yeah, that was us.
Remember Bryant Park? Bet you never thought of it as a campground, but we did. We were there.
Remember the very beginnings of the BAF? Remember how you received donations before it was a real entity? Yeah, those were from us.
Remember the galas? Remember how easy it was to twirl a ring between your lips and know that it would reap huge donations? Yeah, we were the bidders.
How about the volunteers? The camp visitors and supporters? Yeah, that's us, too.
Let's talk about Unicef. Did you really say that your fans would respond if you asked? How did you know that, Clay? Is it because we are always there for whatever you ask of us? I think maybe so. And we were.
So why would you ask "Why did you go and do this to me?" You should have known - you should have expected that from us.
Keep asking Clay, and we'll keep responding!

Remember opening night at Spamalot for your very first appearance on Broadway? Yeah, we were there.
Remember all of the screams and applause that caused you to be just a little embarrassed? Yeah that was us.
Remember all of the stage door appearances? Remember how your fellow actors grinned and rolled their eyes? Weren't you a little bid proud? Yeah, we were there.
Remember closing night? Remember the party? Remember the rooftop and waving and blowing kisses? Yeah, that was toward us.
You should know we can't wait to see you there again! We'll be there!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Clay Loves Us!

Remember my last blog? Remember when I said I loved how available he makes himself to his fans?

Lately I have heard and read a whole lot of whining because Clay took the summer off from his fans. They don’t seem to recall that he told us he would be doing this. They don’t seem to care that sometimes, even often, his private life is none of our damn business. They didn’t care whether or not he had a good reason for the break.

Now we know the reason for the break. There are varying reactions all over the fandom, none of which I care to address. I can only own my reaction which is happiness for Clay’s happiness. From what I can read and hear and sense, Clay is thrilled to be a dad and I can’t imagine a luckier baby than Parker.

As a fan I would love to be part of Clay’s inner circle. I would like to be his friend. Now, I would love to meet and hold Parker. I love babies - who doesn’t? – and I would love to watch this one grow and become who he will become. These things, however, are not going to happen. I will never be Clay’s friend. I will never have dinner with him. I will never hold Parker. I accept this. It’s a fact.

Now, however, Clay has blogged again and in this blog he said he is looking forward to introducing Parker to us more. Seriously? Really? This man is willing to share with us the most important person in his life? This man, who has every right to keep his private life private, is looking forward to sharing with us? Really? Is anyone else just blown away by this? Does anyone else feel as lucky as I do?

I so picked the right guy to love. I picked the guy who loves us, too.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lost in O'Hare with Clay Aiken

With Spamalot travel fast approching, I thought I’d take a look back at some travel days gone awry. On my last Spamalot travel day, it only took eight hours to complete a two hour flight. That’s a quick trip as compared to last Christmas.

You know how Clay Aiken fans are. We’ll go to absolutely any length to see Clay at his finest. Well, actually, Clay is always at his finest isn’t he. I’ve done planes, trains and automobiles and I’ve done them with the bestest of friends with interesting consequences. In my time as Clay’s fan which goes back to “take” I’ve experienced the good, bad and the ugly of travel. All of it fabulous simply because I’m either on my way to see Clay or I’m on my way home from seeing Clay.

Last Christmas, I just had to see the last show at Merrillville. Merrillville holds some wonderful memories as that was the site of the climax of the big note in All Is Well. Yay Clay and your big ol’ notes. The concert was fab, Clay was fab, my friends were fab, the weather was fab … until about 3 a.m. on that wonderful Sunday morning of December 23, 2007 when the great breeze and freeze of ’07 settled in.

Clay and I’m sure, many other fans were ……

LOST. ………………………….. IN O’HARE.

I Dunno … the day started out just like any other trip ending of tour day. Being dropped off at the airport … oh wait … it was a bit early. Too early as it turned out even to check my bag. So I waited an hour to check my bag and move on to the next level of pain. *grin* Only kidding. When QBBabe dropped me off she could not have known what was to follow. The agent encouraged me to change my flight and take an earlier one …. on the display it said that the earlier flight was delayed so I had plenty of time to catch it. I told him that I hated to give up a sure thing (ha) and change to a flight that was already delayed. He assured me (ha) that all would be well.

I rushed (again ha) over to the gate only to find the flight was not listed there. Went to the departure screens where many of us would gather throughout the day. Found the correct gate and hoofed it back over there to settle in with many who would become my LOST friends of the day.

We waited and waited and waited some more till the agent announced that the plane was broken and he would be rebooking people to another flight. He was doing connections first so I waited some more. Finally had a Mickey D (Clay and I have a connection) to hold me over. After falling asleep and felt my mouth gaping open .. doncha hate that? I got up and moved around. That’s when I noticed the lady in the wheelchair over by the gate agent so I went to visit with her. Asked her if she needed anything and she assured me she was fine. After chatting her up for a bit she did say she could use a trip to the Loo and that an agent had taken her earlier. I told her that was right up my alley as I needed something to do … so we visited the ladies and chatted some more. Her favorite expression which I heard at least 33 times that day was What can you do? in such a plaintive tone … This in regard to delayed and cancelled flights and any other natural disasters.

I told her I was going to take another short walk and that I’d be back. When I returned I asked her if she needed anything? Thirsty? Hungry? She admitted that she really could do with a McDonald’s cheeseburger and a glass of water. Off I went again to my favorite storefront restaurant for her lunch thinking this time I just might see Clay. I knew he was in a different terminal but a girl can dream. When I returned with nourishment, I think she ate it in two bites poor dear. Something to remember. If you see a person in a chair at an airport, don’t assume they’re being cared for. They may need the Loo or they may be hungry or thirsty. Lord knows they’re tired.

Sooooo …. I continued to wait for the agent to call my name and decided it was time to be proactive. I hoisted myself on over there and asked to be put on another flight which he did quickly. The guy was in control of the day. He told me the gate and told me to watch it though because it could change. So it goes. That plane was also broken and was sitting there like a wounded bird.

I meandered on over to the other gate only to find many familiar faces. The rest of the crowd joined us as they day wore on. Seating was limited and there were bodies on every surface. What I found interesting is that because the gate agent was calm and in control, the crowd of worn down to the nubs passengers remained calm. The agent never flinched, never showed any emotion, never any grim faces …nothing. He went about his business of getting his job done. I admired him greatly. He also moved to the next gate with us. I think there were two planeloads of passengers who were melded into one flight.

So, finally all the familiar faces were at one gate. Friendships were made with lots of laughter and goodwill. Some of the cast of hundreds:

*Extremely large black woman traveling with her granddaughter to Maine. She was a local. I sat with her for awhile while her darling granddaughter gave up her seat to another. Her most memorable statement was something like Ah don’ know what Ah be thinkin’ when Ah walked out da house dis mawnin thinking Ah would fly outta Chicago in da wintertime. Lawd, Lawd.

*The lady in the wheelchair, of all things, was visiting her sister who lives down the street from where my parents lived. She was going to visit her two sisters and her b-i-l was going to pick her up in at CVG. She could walk, but she needed the chair in the airport.

*Male (gay) flight attendant who had missed his earlier flight to NY because he said he was nonchalant about getting to the airport. I added the gay comment because that was so much a part of his charm. He was so entertaining to me and wheelchair lady. He lives on the 21st floor of a building on the lake in Chicago and talked about the winds during the night. He was afraid to go out on the balcony and haul his furniture in because he was afraid of being blown off the balcony. He was totally delightful and regaled us with stories. He was just having fun and entertaining us at the same time.

*The Minister. I sat by him for awhile but didn’t really get to “know” him till I got on the plane. He was my seatmate. He was concerned that he wouldn’t get on the plane at all.

*The young smooching couple trying to get to Birmingham for Christmas with their families.

*The trio I flew from CVG to Chicago on the same plane with. A woman, her husband and her b-i-l. When I first saw her Sunday, I said, I saw you somewhere before… at a concert, at the hotel…. Somewhere. Turns out I remembered her from Friday’s flight.
They had flown to Chicago through Cinti. from the Tricities (TN) because her husband and b-i-l had to attend the funeral of another brother. I visited them on and off over the course of the day for what seemed like hours. Just truly nice folk. Sooooo … people will tell you most anything when they have the time. The gal said she was hot, having a hot flash … her hub (now again, these are truly nice folk) said he was going through male menopause … that the dr had just informed him his testosterone levels were way low and they couldn’t find out why. He was taking hormones. I was so dying inside because this man who I had not known until a few hours before was telling me his boys weren’t doing the breast stroke anymore.

*The grim faced gal with the 60’s hairdo. Never cracked a smile .. even when we talked in Cinti.

*The traveling pilot who was apparently getting a freebie to Cinti … he disappeared after awhile realizing the case was hopeless.

And so on and on … just so many stories and such an interesting day.

I was very very glad that Delta/Comair didn’t put us on a plane and try to take off earlier in the day. That would truly have been LOST and I wasn’t ready for that. They really did the right thing and held us till it was safe enough to fly. I just have to wonder when Clay got out that day. He might not have fared much better than I did. I read where artquest took 16 hours to get home and four of those, I think, she spent in Dallas.

When we were finally called to board, I kind of didn’t believe it was happening. But board we did and some of those folks who hadn’t gone for rebooking didn’t make it onto the plane. The Large Black Lady missed out. They had sent her to and fro and failed to change her ticket.

On the plane, we were met with the most delightful Jerome-like flight attendant wearing a Santa hat. He was just what everyone needed to keep spirits light. There were people who had to leave the plane because of seat assignments being doubled up and they weren’t angry because of our Santa attendant. We were counted, we were asked our names and checked off on a list … this by the gate attendant who came onto the plane to do that. I was thinking maybe they wanted to be exactly sure who we were and where we sitting in order to notify next of kin …. Just kidding … Not.

After it was decided that we could stay on the plane … one guy accepted $400 to get off the plane and I immediately thought of a dear friend of ours who charges us $400 for everything … heh heh. Anyway, our Santa passed out water and peanuts telling us it was steak and shrimp … cracking up.

Now to the Man of God who sat next to me. I heard in line that he would be sitting next to me so as soon as I sat down, I put the armrest down marking my territory. Nothing wrong with a minister except the guy was quite large and I didn’t want him sitting on me. I’ve had the experience before and I didn’t want a repeat. Advice to newbies, always put the armrest down until you see who will be sitting next to you. It’s much more comfortable that way.

Minister was jolly like Santa and every sentence was punctuated with a laugh. It’s nice until it goes on for hours. He was traveling to Minneapolis. Minneapolis you might ask? Wasn’t he going the wrong direction? Why, yes he was. But, you see, he joined a special club for special airfares. It cost him $99 to join, he got the fare for $153 which was a deal plus he got a rebate of $100 after the trip. Now wasn’t that a deal? I told him he was reallllly paying for this deal and he had to agree. He wore a big black suit, with a white shirt with a white standup collar and a big chain with a cross hanging on it down below his ribs.

This was so interesting. His son’s x-wife won’t let his son have his child until 3pm on holidays. She’s mean and vicious. He likes the new wife. His daughter moved to MN and married someone she had just met. It lasted 6 months. Now she has a new husband. The first was abusive. The minister had traveled the world because his wife was an assistant to some wealthy guy. Seriously, Europe, the islands, private jets, you name it. Dined at the finest restaurants. Was going to move to AZ but when on a visit there last year, his wife had a stroke and then passed away. I heard so much about his family and his life. The interesting thing is that when he talked about MN, I said oh my BF friend lives there… not a bite. Then, later I said my nephew lives in St. Paul and goes to school there …. Not a bite….Intersting in that he had absolutely zero interest in me or my life. Could it be that since his wife died suddenly he just needs someone to talk to. I like to think that anyway.

There was more but I’m thinking this is enough.

We sat on the plane for probably three hours waiting for an appropriate time to take off and then the plane had to be deiced. By that time, I don’t think anyone was nervous or worried about the conditions, I think we just wanted closure. Ha Ha Ha Ha … it was a live or die situation and I think we were ready for the final jeopardy question and answer.

Takeoff was interesting but landing was much more interesting. It only took me 12 hours to get home from Chicago. I found out later that Clay and his family had a similar adventure.

My bag was somewhere with many other bags LOST in O’Hare and looking for adventure with Clay Aiken’s luggage.

I was happy to see and feel my bed. I have slept much since then.

The end.

p.s. Ah do love an adventure.

p.p.s. Lord I think I’m done with this. What fun! Thanks Clay!

Clay or Friends?

I love Clay Aiken! No question, no doubt I love Clay Aiken.

I often wonder, though, after all this time if I get more excited about seeing Clay or about seeing my friends? Like so many in this fandom, the friends I refer to are the ones I have made in the fandom. These are women I did not know before AI2. These are women I would never have met if not for Clay Aiken. We live in different states, we have different lifestyles, we have different interests. What we had in common is Clay. In the years since we randomly met at concerts and on message boards though, we have discovered that we have much more than Clay in common. We have built true and real friendships. We talk about and care about one another's families. We know their names and what they are doing. We celebrate our ups and we sympathize with our downs. I have friends who I can't imagine living without. Often, they are the first and last people I talk to every day. It's amazing how many of our conversations are not about Clay anymore. They are about us.

I love Clay Aiken. I love his voice. I love the personality he has shown us. I love the selfless life of service he has chosen. I love how available to his fans he has been doing the book signing, CD signings, the meet and greets, the bus lines and the stage door. I love seeing him both live and in pictures and video and sensing his happiness. I will never know Clay Aiken on a personal level, but I can enjoy what he chooses to share with his fans. I do, however, know the friends I have made on a personal level. For this I am grateful and so very fortunate! I used to refer to them in RL as "my Clay friends". Now they are part of my RL and they are simply "friends".

Thanks, Clay, for all you do, but especially for letting me know these friends,

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Clay Aiken Wallpaper ws

Another wall paper I have done. I love Clay Aiken!!
for people that have widescreen!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Clay Aiken

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