Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Flying to Florida - Cruise With Your Muse

Last week this time I was just getting back from my trip to Florida. So many impressions to blog about, so little time. If I’m doing this, I’m not working on my WIP, but if I don’t do this, the moment will get away from me. A few TWRP authors have already blogged about the cruise and weekend, Dayana Knight, my wonderful hostess after the cruise, Sandra Kay, whom I met in the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and Mona Risk, who was kind enough to give Rhonda and I a ride from the cruise ship back to the hotel so Dayana could pick us up for our adventures afterward. So I won’t repeat what they said here.

My trip started when my friend Wendy picked me up to take me to the airport. We stopped at McDonald’s along the way for what I like to call “road trip” food, and a couple of Egg McMuffins later, we were on our way. My first flight was in what I’ve heard called a “puddle jumper,” a small commuter plane to Detroit with teeny tiny seats you can barely fit into. I sat in the back row and looked and chatted with the flight attendant, who had been 7 minutes late to work because of needing to clean her car off of snow and ice, and got more beautiful each time she passed by, as she was putting on her make up between seeing to passengers and passing out cups of water. Me, I’d had a choice between putting on make up or vaccuming the living room before I left, so I chose to vacuum. Call me weird, but I like to come home to a neat and orderly house after a long trip, not chaos :).

As I looked out the window, I saw miles and miles of perfectly delineated squares in the countryside. Nothing but white and these almost regimented squares created by the cleared off roads separating them. I looked down at all those neat, orderly squares and rectangles, and smiled and thought, “How God must laugh at us,” trying to create order and establish ownership over something that isn’t really ours anyway—we just like to think it is. I got the feeling of “This is yours and that’s mine, and you’d better not cross the line without good reason unless I invite you to.”

I saw a city in the distance, and, being geographically challenged, thought it might be Cleveland. Turns out it was Windsor, Ontario. We were flying over Canada.

We landed in Detroit, and I spent two hours exploring the airport. They have this awesome tunnel there between terminals where they play music and the colors of the walls change according to the colors of the rainbow, or the chakras, if you're into New Age things. Some of it was light and uplifting, other parts were downright creepy, with the walls all dark and red, and ominous music playing. Passenger reactions were mixed. Some were enjoying the light/music show, others were trying to escape it, moving as fast as they could. Inside the main terminal they had an unmanned subway-type train that went from one end of the terminal to the other. Since I had time and wanted the exercise, I walked to my gate, but after I found it, I went exploring, and took a ride on the train. In less than two minutes, you could get from one stop to the other. Good to know if you were in a hurry to catch your flight.

Something prompted me to buy something to eat, which turned out to be a good idea, since, much to my surprise, no meal was served on the flight from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale. But you could buy a snack pack for $5 if you wanted to. I opened my chicken Ceasar salad and tried not to feel guilty for eating while my seatmates didn’t.

Got to see Cape Canaveral on the way down the Florida coast, and the Everglades (what is left of them) and Lake Okeechobee. How the landscape has changed in the 33 years since I took my senior class trip down to Tampa. And not for the good of the ecosystem, but that’s not what this blog is about. It’s just something I observed many times over on the trip.

Landed in Florida, and got my luggage back (thank God) and decided I was the only person in the airport still carrying a suitcase. Note to self: before your next trip, get one of those suitcases with a handle and rollers. Never have I been so glad that I work out at the Y as when I was lugging my 35 pound suitcase from point to point, dodging porters, as I had no idea where I was headed, and didn’t want to tie one up while I searched for my hotel shuttle.

Found the shuttle and met Sandra and got to the hotel, where my roommate Rhonda was already checked in. More lugging of the suitcase to our room on the other side of the outdoor pool and bar where people were already celebrating Happy Hour. It’s always five o’clock somewhere, right?

In the room, I discovered the air conditioning was not working and Rhonda had already called the maintenance people to come and fix it once. Not good enough, I said, thinking of a night of hot flashes in a motel room with no A/C. Rhonda called down to the desk, and we changed rooms. Yet more lugging of suitcases up and down the outside corridors.

We visited a while, then went downstairs to meet the others for dinner at a party put on by The Florida Romance Writers, where I got to meet fellow Roses Linda Carroll-Bradd and her husband and Dayana, and Maggie Toussaint, and Tina Gayle and Patrice Wilton and too many FRW authors to name. Rhonda is a circulator, and I’m the kind of person who finds a corner and stays in it, so she went off to do her thing and I enjoyed talking with the people closest to me.

Dinner was awesome, but our little group didn’t stay long, as all of us get up early, had had long days and were tired. Back to the motel for phone calls with family, a little more chatting with Rhonda, and a very good night’s sleep, thanks to the extra comfortable beds and working air conditioning :).

More next time when I get to it, as I’m running out of time this morning…but for an advance peek, check out the blogs Dayana, Sandra and Mona wrote. Sadly, a few days after our wonderful weekend together, Dayana lost her beautiful Sheltie Gypsy Lee to cancer, just another reminder of how fragile life can be. She seemed to be doing so well while I was there, we even went for a lovely evening walk, and they were so hopeful about remission.

So be sure to hug your loved ones today, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

1 comment:

Laurean Brooks said...

I couldn't help it, Liana; I am so-o-o jealous. Your description of the cruise has started an unquenchable yearning in me. I have never been on one, but it has been a dream for several years. Rhonda told us a little about it on the chat last week (I think). She had a great time.

Just being around other women who write has to be an awesome experience.
Let's see: If "Journey To Forgiveness" brings in the big bucks (LOL), I could use the overflow toward an author's cruise. It would be so much fun! O-ooh! I wish I could hop on that ship right now. But, I guess I need to be promoting since I just discovered my book on Amazon. Wow! I didn't realize it was in print yet.

Liana, I always love to visit your website. You have so many interesting things to say, and so many exciting authors like "Cindy K. Green." We love her at TWRP and The WRiB blog.