The Story of Shannon, Audrey, and Bally

119 onlineFlying quickly from northern Cali to southern Cali to NY and then on to Reykjavik and changing planes all the while, my as-of-yet-unnamed companion/spaceship/central processor of all things Dana Jae, took a detour. She stayed on the plane at JFK while I busted hiney hauling myself across terminal 2 at JFK to hop my flight to Reykjavik. She was likely giggling all of the way to wherever that plane was bound next, averting the cleaning crew between flights.

I discovered my loss hours later upon my arrival in Reykjavik. The minute I found the empty slipcover in my backpack, I knew. I had charged her on the last plane, carefully wrapping up the damn charger, but missing the entire point of the charge: to take care of my brainiac partner since 2012 who has been my trusty aid through online teaching, digital media-making, most of my new life communications, and the recipient of all of my story ideas and edits. She’s loaded with special software and connected to my entire life. Gone in a fleeting instant. Oddly, I felt super calm as an immediate new Dana emerged. Something took over my mind and heart setting me free of worry. “It is what it is,” the voice inside gently spoke. I sifted slowly through two more pockets knowing full well that she wasn’t there. I walked around the teensy, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, Reykjavik airport. I found an agent in a construction zone handling missing baggage. “Oh, that’s too bad. The best we can do is to have you contact Delta at JFK airport and they may have it in their lost and found. Do you remember the terminal you came in on?”  My mind sifted through the numerous delay messages transmit from cockpit to passengers about the delay and I knew he told us several times which terminal, only it was clouded by another terminal he said some would have to  catch a shuttle to. Was it Terminal 2 or 4? I had a 50/50 chance. “Terminal 2”, I said, wondering if this would hinder my chances at retrieval. She said, “I’ll Google the number for you to call.”  (All English exchanged in that lovely Nordic English accent with the over-pronounced “R” in every word it appears.)

After capturing some Krona at the ATM, I walked out to the first cab I found and asked the strapping Erling for a ride to The Blue Lagoon where I was to spend the first several hours in Iceland soaking and simmering in a hot lava body of sulphuric water. “Good luck, laptop! I hope I find you among the myriad digital toys lost everyday at JFK.”  Erling and I exchanged stories about losing important items. I was still calm even though just 30-hours prior, the old me would be fending off a heart attack in sadness at my loss. I called JFK upon arrival at the Lagoon in the welcoming cafe I found on the premises after checking in my luggage (they expect travelers coming in from the airport), and heard a very nice agent with a thick Brooklyn accent tell me to call after 1p to see if they had it. She assured me that they bring in hundreds of laptops and iPads a day. I figured on beginning the process of fully letting go since it seemed a chance in hell of them actually having it, let alone be able to find it. Imagine having her job…

Hours later while enjoying an amazing lunch in the Lava restaurant at Blue Lagoon, I saw an unusual email from Ireland. Audrey, a Delta agent at the wee Shannon airport office, contacted me to inform me that an electronic device was in her hands which she believed to be mine. NO WAY!! I smiled and felt rainbows burst from inside me. Ireland!!  My unnamed digital companion flew to Ireland! And how odd that Ireland and Iceland are but one letter from each other.  Universal trickster tried me and I won!

She answered my email today informing me that they cannot ship it anywhere but rather I would have to arrange for a FedEx/UPS pick up from them. They were only open until 1:30 today and Monday is a bank holiday in Ireland. Alas, after an hour of arranging all of the details this morning in an online chat with Bally of FedEx-UK, all will be well by Tuesday’s courier pick up to deliver to me in Belgium on Wed.

Shannon (the now earned name of my spaceship/companion/laptop) will be with me once again then. In the meantime, I’m sure she’s kicking it at O’Malley’s airport bar this weekend conjuring up stories with the flight mechanics after their long day of work, knocking back a Guinness.

A year ago, I had the pleasure of reading stories and media creations turned in to me by one of my students who always referred to her computer as “Chester”. It tickled me to name a laptop as I searched for something to call mine. Nothing came through at that time. Shannon she is now and forever will be.


Too Pooped to Post

What an amazing self-embrace one can feel when JUMPing into travel. Time stands still to remind us to free ourselves from the quotidian madness.

For example, I have so much to describe from the past 24-hours, but am thwarted by this iPad that I simply do not enjoy typing on, while my real input device is out on the town in Shannon, Ireland. Yes, it seems she created a diversion for me by scaring me into thinking I would miss my plane to Reykjavik, while she stealthily hung low in the magazine holder in the seat pocket in front of mine at JFK in New York. She knew she would not enjoy the Icelandic cold and hot springs, stuffed in my backpack, while I luxuriated. This place would be bad for her girlish MacBook Air figure. So, instead, she trolloped off to Ireland without me! Harrumph! Fine. I spent hours in the geothermal, lava Rock pool at The Blue Lagoon forgetting about her. My skin and hair feel fantastic and I can do without HER utilitarian assistance today…and tomorrow…ear, until whenever the agent in Ireland can safely return her to my fingertips when we can once again share in a Vulcan mind meld of human creativity through input device to CPU and on to data drive for safe storage.  “Hey, universe! Could you arrange for Her voice thread to receive an upgrade while there to say, a Scarlett Johanssen tone? I shall forever after call Her Shannon.

I’m far too tired to attempt further typing on this blasted iPad keyboard. Coming at you Live & Exhausted from Reykjavik, Iceland where time stands still and people are polite and look-alike and by golly, I look like them too.


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The Eve Of My Leaving

Naturally, when one engages in all of the “night before” packing, planning, and last minute everything-ing for a trip abroad, the mind wanders to previous travels. Memories begin to flood in from my Euro-expeditions in a spinning circular Rolodex. It’s been longer than a decade since the last trip across the ocean.

Some first peregrinations there pervade the senses:   During a few years in the early 1990’s, I spent hours on end in a rented lorry driving on the wrong side of the vehicle (it was rented in London), to nearly every mid-sized nightclub in Europe with an “up-and-coming-band” from Los Angeles. Thinking myself the only one of sound mind and disposition, I volunteered to be the driver everywhere but in the U.K. where I was certain I would kill us all.  It was bad enough to be driving from the passenger seat with the stick shift to my left, but top it off with driving on the wrong side of the road too?  No way.

Recollections begin to drift in as I triple check my suitcase:

  • 5-days in the Czech Republic with 2 days OFF (the only ones) in Prague.
  • a morning off in Vienna where a store owner gave me the wrong change for a bottle of water that cost elf-neunzig. He kept my entire fünfzig per diem, claiming I only paid him fünfzehn. I told him the fünfzig was all I had in the world for the next 3 days and surely he would see it in his drawer as his mistake. He cast me away. He was rotten.  I sat outside his store on the sidewalk, sipping water and crying. I made sure that everyone who walked by knew he was a cheater.  He finally walked out and handed me the proper change two hours later. He tired of my bad publicity to his potential customers.
  • a tavern in the north of England that had just received ceramic swag advertising Boddington’s Bitters, handing me the coolest ashtray that I still use to this day as my key holder near my front door.
  • the 6-hour detention of the band arriving in Stockholm by ferry from Copenhagen because a rock band must surely be carrying drugs purchased from those lenient Danes. Every panel was ripped from the interior of the van, every nook and cranny searched with flashlights, along with the lead singer (a female) and I strip-searched by poker-faced, big Swede female, zero-tolerance officers who knew we must have something in the hems of our pants or other hidden places.  The only thing they found in the vehicle was a tincture of Valerian and several ashtrays filled with previously smoked, rolled cigarette leftovers. Most members of this band did not even imbibe let alone partake in any drugs beyond herbal remedies.  Well, the drummer and the lead singer drank enough for everyone, but…We finally made it to the gig way past sound check only to find they had been booked in a discotheque with no stage monitors and a surround sound system wired from the DJ booth. I got very creative with the mix that night…on the fly.

This excursion will be quite unique for me.  It’s the first time I’m traveling alone and my voyage holds a unique bookend of time to spend in Reykjavik, Iceland for two days each at the beginning and end of the trip. The fairy-tale land of music by Sigur Rós, Björk, Of Monsters and Men, Seabear, and the Icelandic Airwaves awaits. Drop me in the Blue Lagoon upon my arrival after 11 hours in the air.

The extras about one’s travel:  you pull out your passport after having not looked at it for a few years only to find you look either like a fugitive or someone in the witness protection program.  Who is that staring back at me?  You friends circle around to wish you well in various lovely personal send-offs: some provide a lovely new book to read on your trip, a pocket “Italian for Travellers”, and a reminder to take your pencils to doodle.

Stop back in to check out the travel blog here. You’re welcome to hang out with me to see, hear, and watch as I trip the light fantastic in the lands of my people.

Iceland Cheers to Liz the Young Adventuress for the photo.

Transformation Imagination


I will bounce along the waves from coast to coast transforming time from wine into rhyme. New layers await as I move through space to lands that do not discriminate. Long journey in air, long journey across sea, long journey to be for you and me.

Mourning Mom – a Meandering Memorial

Year five since her passing and this holiday still slices another piece of my heart. Here is my offering of verbiage to accompany the ascendant sacrifice to the universe of Moms.

If you lived a life of love with your Mom, then you’ll certainly understand what I mean. For those who have experienced a different sort, then I feel the question on your mind. How does one feel all of this reverence for a parent? Believe me, it’s not too difficult when you are blessed with one who gets it even half right.

To set up a context, my Mom was a loon who led me from the depths of harsh reality right up to the bright shining moon. She had her quirks one would witness daily, but she also made my growing up a central part of her universe (in addition to “looking good” while she toiled at it.) She loved Hallmark holidays and with that came this: a training of how to make Mom feel special on her one day of the year recognized on American calendars. This second Sunday in May, a month before school ends, became the day I learned to “shower the people you love with love and show them the way that you feel.” (Thank you, James Taylor.)

Carnations are the flower of Mother’s Day thanks to Anna Jarvis, the woman who conceived the idea and brought 500 of them to the first celebration in 1908. *(this wiki tells me)*  But interestingly enough, I discovered that she decried the commercialization of the holiday when “the greeting card industry” took it over with their purchased cards that displaced the personal letter to Mom. Go, Anna!  And another quick aside: this day is one that Americans spend $2.6 billion a year on flowers.

I always created my own cards, and this began at age 3. From that second Sunday in May in 1965, I was forever bound to make this one Sunday a special one for Mom. Later in my adolescence, I would awaken her to a breakfast in bed, and then whisk her off to the movies or a play. I would save up my earnings from odd jobs to do something expensive and special to treat her. She no longer had a husband to do such things as they divorced when I was three (Ah!  there’s the significance!  Eureka! I found it!) And my brothers?  Well, you know boys.  They just aren’t wired that way.  So this day of planning was left to me. Perhaps it was a personal training for my later life as I’ve always been one to conjure up holidays and cards for everyone. Being thoughtful is a lost art in America.  It’s time to bring that back!

Many of us mourn the passing of our Mom this day while others wake up to adoring family eyes. Many of us roll over with a pronounced harumph when our kid(s) forget to make us feel special. For those with thoughtless offspring, treat yourself this day to YOU!  Forget what isn’t there and make it your day – go pick one pretty piece of this earth, place it in a glass and tell yourself that you’re special. BE SPECIAL!

carnations_2 Shower the People