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,
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