Thursday, February 5, 2009


I don't know why I haven't written lately except to say that I just don't feel inspired.  Well, I feel inspired, but not inspired to write.

I know that some of you are waiting to read about my Washington DC trip and inaugural experiences, but I really don't have the words that would do it justice.  

So if you have been checking in occasionally, as I know some of you have, I apologize.  

Maybe I will just move on to other things.  

If I include my inaugural experiences in my memoir, you will just have to purchase it.  Or, perhaps by then, I will be ready to post pieces of it online.

In the meantime, think of me occasionally and check back now and then.  I hope to eventually get back into the groove.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catching the Bus

I was on my way.  I got up about 4:00 AM  and started my car, just to be sure that it WOULD start.  It was 17 below, after all.  Clicking the remote from the warmth of the kitchen, I watched nervously, breathing only when I saw the exhaust start billowing from the tailpipe.  

"Okay," I thought.  "I won't have to wake up Terry to take me to the bus."

I was glad about that because I didn't want to have to make arrangements to be picked up upon my return.  

I dragged my luggage to the car.  One carry-on:  check!  One personal item:  check!  One garment bag:  check!  Yes, now I would have to submit my belongings to the handling of the baggage handlers, but there was no way around it.  I needed everything I was bringing.

I drove to the bus station, leaving plenty of time to spare.  After purchasing my ticket, I, along with the other travelers, watched the TV in the station lobby. 

"Unseaonably cold," said the reporter. "Don't go out unless you have to!"

 Lucky us!  We were getting away from this latest deep freeze.

Looking around, I wondered to myself, "Where are these other people going?  Hopefully, somewhere warmer."

Two women walked in together,  embarking upon some joint venture, noticably excited about their trip.  They deposited their bags in the appointed place.

"One-way tickets for two to Midway!"  One woman paid for both, treating her friend to the ride.  They helped themselves to coffee and plunked down heavily on the small sofa.

Next to me sat a solitary traveler.  He wasn't dressed in a business suit, just casual attire, work clothes actually.  He relaxed with his eyes close, perhaps dozing or maybe just resting his eyes. I wondered about where he was going and why:  was it a family gathering or something job related?  He didn't look like the frequent-flyer type.  No briefcase, no garment bag filled with suits.

The announcement came.

"The First bus goes to O'Hare; the second bus goes to Midway. Have your tickets ready."

This was it.  Everyone jumped to attention, anxious to board the waiting coaches.  

"This the bus for O'Hare?" I asked just to be sure. 

 "Yes ma'am.  Let me take your bags."

I walked up the aisle of the bus, surprised by how crowded it was.  Sitting down, I looked through the window and viewed the darkness that still made up this morning. We drove down the street towards the tollway.

 The familiar sites of this oft traveled street looked different at this time of day, as if they had not yet awakened.  Only night lights shone within the buildings.  Signs were blackened, lots empty.  No line of cars awaiting the changing of the traffic light.  The driver handily maneuvered the long curve of the ramp and merged quickly into light traffic.

"This is it! I'm on my way," I thought.  "The first couple of steps are completed.  What will the rest of the day bring?"

It would be a long morning of travel, sure to be exhausting.  But while riding that bus I felt exhilarated and ready for adventure.   Travel can be like that, after all: an invitation into the unknown, even when the final destination has been chosen and all details have been tended to. Adventure is in the eyes of the beholder.  And it can be experienced in the most unlikely of places.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

At A Loss for Words

The trip to Washington went very well.  The flights were on time, I made all my connections and there was very little turbulence.  All the flights were on small planes, fifty-seaters that made boarding and unboarding  quick and easy.  True, leg room and aisle space were scarce, but other than that it was really enjoyable.

My six day excursion was jam-packed with so many exciting events that I find myself at a loss for words that adequately describe the experience.  The inauguration events were not just exciting, they were more than that. Words, even pictures, don't do justice to the spirit that permeated the cold Washington air.  "Surreal" comes to mind, but that's not quite it.  Makes it sound weird, I think, and it wasn't.

So, I'll wait another day, perhaps putting pen to paper to help me focus and identify what I was feeling and still feel about all that went on.

In the meantime, allow me to say that I had a great time with my son...  He started his new job while I was there and seems to be very excited about the opportunity to work for the president.  Who wouldn't be I guess?  We spent a lot of time together, but I also tried to give him the space to spend some time with friends without his mom in tow.  I read, I watched TV and just relaxed.  It was nice to be away from it all.

So, news and impressions of the inauguration will follow in the next couple of days.  The channel becomes how to write about it all without banalizing it?  I hope you will check back to see if I succeed.  I invite you to share the experience with me as soon as I know what to say.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This Is It--I'm on My Way

The day has arrived. I am on my way to Washington D.C. Please check back later to read all about my adventures at the inauguration. I may even have pictures!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rain Isn't the Only Thing I Wish Would Go Away!

Today as my secretary and I came back to the office after grabbing a late lunch, we passed by a home where the front sidewalk and stairs were covered in deep snow.  It was a beautiful, pristine drift of pure white fluff that had obviously been there for several days.

At first I thought the home might be unoccupied, but there were two vehicles in the driveway.  The driveway was free and clear of any snow, so obviously somebody was there caring for the place.

"How do they get mail delivery?"  I wondered.  And then I saw it.  There in the window of the front storm door was a poster, with printing large enough to be read from the street: "Go away!"

That says it all in no uncertain terms.  Go away!  

Today is one of those days where I could see myself saying "Go away!" to people who annoy me.  I just wish that one Tuesday would run smoothly, that every volunteer would show up, that all the kids would behave and do what they're told.  But already three people have called off and it's only 4:20.  The likelihood of at least one more person bailing on us is high.  

It's hard, I know, to commit to volunteering.  It's a lot of work for very little reward.  But, people are counting on this service.  It's getting to the point where both my secretary and I have sleepless Monday nights.  Instead, we lie awake wondering what problems Tuesday will bring and how on earth we will get through another full day of damage control.

Yes, I'm stressed today.  I can't feel hopeful or positive; I'm just worn out.  It's one of those days where I myself want to Go Away! Anybody want to go with me?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Erica Jong Holds No Copyright on Fear of Flying!

Well, one thing about not writing for a few days is that I have the opportunity to apologize once again. At least it gives me something about which to write! So, please forgive me yet again for not posting; I have been busily preparing myself, both physically and emotionally, for this trip to Washington.

Those who know me well know that I don't necessarily enjoy flying. This trip, scheduled for mid-January, is no exception. Not only that, but for the first time I am flying alone--no friend, no family member, no group of wayfaring wanderers...just me! By myself! Yikes!

Add to that the fact that I have a connecting flight in Cleveland--yes Cleveland!--(heavy sigh here!) with only one hour between landing and take off. With each passing day, the stress is building. Do I check luggage or try to just carry on? What if the Chicago flight is delayed? Can I really see myself running through the airport in Cleveland trying to drag my carry-on, which surely will be overpacked and unbalanced, as usual? Yes, in my dreams I see myself tripping and my luggage tipping all the way to the connecting gate. Only to find... Well, I think you can imagine how the nightmare, I mean dream, concludes.

It's not that I'm not looking forward to the trip because I am. But for goodness sake--a direct flight to D.C. takes only one hour and forty-five minutes. Do we really need to transfer in Cleveland? What's that anyway, about forty-five minutes away?

I want to go, I really do. I'm excited about the inauguration and the inaugural ball. I've gotten myself a new dress and I'm ready for a night on the town. I just wish there were an easier way. I wish I would have invented my tele-transporter--the one where we can just decompose into molecules and relocate ourselves in another location instantly. I should have paid more attention in my physics class, I guess.

Instead, I sit and nervously watch the weather. How much snow are they predicting? The temperature will be how low? It might be a comfort to be getting out of town to avoid Chicago's winter if it weren't for the fact that the jet streams pushes the weather East. By the time I land, the weather here will be well on its way to where I'm headed. (Another deep sigh here!)

Well, what can I do? After a point it's all out of my hands. I'll get in my car, drive to the bus station and head for O'Hare. From there on, the airlines will have to do its best to get me safely to my destination. On time? Well, that's another matter entirely, I suppose. Maybe it's good that I'm leaving a few days early. By leaving Friday, I should be able to get there by Tuesday, I'd imagine. So, that's the silver lining I guess. Should I bring my sleeping bag just in case? No! Checking that would be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Can you imagine me running to the gate with a sleeping bag, sure to be unrolling, in tow? I guess I'll take my chances. Perhaps there'll be an extra cot that I can use. And maybe things will go smoothly after all. One thing about expecting the worst is that it's only up from there.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Washington Bound

My son called early this morning to let me know that we definitetly had tickets for the inauguration. We will be in the section in front of the capital, somewhere in the "standing section" before the split that extends to the mall area. This is great news for us. Every rally or event that I've been to has offered only standing positions, so it's what I'm used to and what I expected. To be in the area surrounding the capital building is a bonus; I expected to be in the public viewing area outside of the mall, blocks away from the actual event. Nevermind the fact that people are going to begin lining up at 4:00 AM. We'll play it by ear, hopefully arriving at a time that is reasonable while still getting into our section.

The bonus is this: We'lll also be attending an inaugural ball! It's not the Illinois ball, but one of the official ones, so there is a chance that the new president and first lady may stop by... Though my son told me not to, of course I went out and bought a new dress and shoes. I have to look my best, just in case! One never knows. And one of the most important persons in the world will be there--my son, who works for the federal government and who has made me so proud with his own personal accomplishments. There's no way that I'm taking chance on embarrasing him with a dress that's out of date. Not when he will be wearing a tux. Not when his boss is there.

I'm looking forward to my time in Washington. Most of the time I will be in jeans and sweat shirt, probably wearing either uggs or hiking boots--whatever the weather demands. At night I will be crashing on the floor of my son's rented row house. But at night--well, that's when we'll put on the ritz and drink champagne. I will be celebrating the new president, but I will be beaming at my son, Jeff, one of the men behind the man. I'm looking forward to this time,, not only for the hope it inspires, but because it means to much to him.