Lynnís 04 Con Report

 

Hopefully I won't bore the pants off y'all, wit the pre-con stuff!

Monday 5th July:

Left the house around 10am. Got the train into Shunjuku. Shinjuku is
one of the busiest train stations in Japan, and probably the world.
It's like someone has just gone "action", and everyone starts moving!
Hubby was with me. I was getting the 11:42 Narita Express. After
waving him goodbye, I was on my way. Arrived at Narita airport at
1:00pm. After a couple of ID checks, I was in the terminal. Found my
counter to get the plane tickets. Got directed to the wrong check-in
counter( I hoped it wasn't an omen!). Eventually found my correct
check-in counter, which had a very long queue. I hoped that wasn't an
omen too! LOL! After waiting for nearly an hour, I eventually got my
bags checked. Then onto the duty free! Two bottles of sake(to buy,
not drink ;-)) later, I was ready to fly! 13 hours later I landed in
Houston!

HELL IN HOUSTON!:

I landed at 13:30. My connecting flight took off at 15:50. Plenty
time...or not! The queue at immigration and passport control was
horrendous! It snaked, and snaked...Yikes! I finally got to the
actual counter with 30 mins to go, before my other flight took off! I
still had to collect my baggage, and re-check it. I ran to the
baggage carousel. It had stopped. All the bags were scattered over
the floor. Luckily I found my bags within a few mins. I hurried to
the baggage check in area...YIKES! Another queue! They asked you if
your flight was leaving in less than 30 mins, or less than 1 hour. I
was in the less than 30 mins queue. My watch was going way to fast! I
was sure I was going to miss the flight! Other people were looking at
their watches! Gave my bags to the check-in guy, and he said " Go!".
15 mins until my flight took off. I ran hard! It was like something
out of a movie, as I ran along to the boarding gate, carry-on bag
walloping about, gripping my boarding pass in the air! there were no
passengers waiting, just the gals at the counter. "Quick!" they
shouted. I got on the plane with 10 mins to spare until take off!
Pheeeeeeeeew. That's when I remembered that I'd promised to phone
Je, from Houston! HA! I never even SAW a phone! LOL! I just hoped
she would be waitig for me in Minneapolis. The flight was uneventful,
as I crashed out most of the way. I was still on Japan time!(When I
arrived in Houston, it was actually 5 mins BEFORE I left Japan! Work
that out! LOL). Finally I arrived in Minneapolis! There are no words
to describe he feeling, as I saw Je waiting for me through those
ARRIVAL doors, as I descended the escalator...We
hugged...tightly...sigh. I spent two wonderful days in Minnesota. Je
bought me organic raspberries!(Thanks dear!) I just LOVE raspberries.
They are near nigh impossible to get in Japan. I drink instant coffee
most of the time. We had a funny incident regarding a kettle, in
Je's house. It went something along the lines of:

"Have you got a kettle dear?"

"Yes, in that bottom, left hand cupboard"

I look puzzlingly at all these pots(pans?) in the cupboard.

"I don't see a kettle dear. Only pots(pans)"

"Isn't that what you meant?"

"Well, it has no spout, dear"

"Sorry dear, that's all I have"

"Oh well, when in Rome...LOL"

So, I boiled up that pot(pan?) everytime I needed my caffeine fix! Oh
yes, I forgot to mention that I like doing dishes! LOL!

We had a lovely two days, just being in each others company...watched
Masks, and Finding Nemo(which I hadn't seen), on Je's *BIG* screen!
It was fabbydoo! Went to the Mall Of America and ate lunch in the
Rainforest Cafe. It actually *rained* as we were eating(not on our
food of course!). We went to a zoo the next day. Then it was time to
get ready for the drive to Kansas City...

Coming soon...

Lynn( hope that wasn't TOO boring!)

 

Thursday 8th July.

Je and I set off around 9:30am. We're soon on the motorway. It's a
straight road to Kansas City. Not a lot to see going through IOWA!
Space, space and more space! We stop three times(I think). Once for
lunch, in a wee diner.I think the waitress is a bit taken aback to
hear a scottish accent in the middle of nowhere, in Iowa! :-o. After
driving(well Je did the driving. I wouldn't have trusted me behind
that wheel, driving on the wrong side of the road! Half the time I
made for the passenger seat, only to discover that it was the
driver's seat! LOL) for about seven hours, we finally reach the
outskirst of Kansas City. We know this, as we hit *traffic*, lots of
it! After maybe 45 minutes, we finally get to downtown Kansas City.
Je asks me to navigate the wee streets. Yeek! She laughs as I
proceed to pronounce the street names by their letters...ie. EEEEEEE
14th street
, and DOUBLEYEW 12th street etc. I'm a Scot, in a strange
land! What do I know?! LOL! Eventually, after many EEEEE's and
DOUBLEYEW's....we reach the Phillips Hotel! Yeay!

I *think* Shelia is the firs person we encounter, as we enter the
lobby. How appropriate, with me being a *virgin*. I get a special
*Shelia-hug* Then Lori appears, and Chan. Hugs all round. We get
checked in. Ride up the elevator( I think Chan might have been in the
elevator with us). Get to the room. I give Je a huge hug for getting
us there safely. Thanks Dear!(even though I braked a few times for
ya ! LOL ;-)). After sussing out the room, we head to the 3rd floor
for a sneak peek. JoAnn greets us, and promptly informs me that I'm
her #1 guinea pig for "something" on saturday night! LOL! "I'm
game" ;-). I think we met a few other people in there aswell. Sandy2,
maybe(Je! Help me out here dear!). Then we head down to the lobby,
looking for Pixie. No one there. By this time we're getting just a
bit peckish. We head out of the hotel to look for somewhere to eat.
Not a lot to choose from. We encounter the fabulous library as we
browse. The outside is like a huge bookshelf, with all these bookends
and titles. Wonderful! We finally decide to eat dinner in The
Marriot. To our astonishment, the place was full of deaf people.
Never seen so many people using sign language in the one place
before. Quite a sight. Needless to say, it was the quietest meal I'd
ever had! Je and I were the only ones speaking! We headed back to
the hotel. Still no Pixie (where were ya Pix? LOL). I think we
crashed out just after 10pm. I think the phone wrang sometime after
11pm. I didn't answer, as I wasn't sure if it was a dream or not! I
slept pretty well...


PART2 coming soon...

Lynn.

 

Saturday July 10th

 

Oops! Sent this to the wrong addy before! Duh!

Sorry this is so late! I hope it doesn't bore the socks of ye all!

I'm counting on my dodgy memory here, so if anything is *off*...forgive me ;-)

Went down for brekkie with Sharon. Lovely pastries and fruit. Had a cup of
english tea...gawd it was good!

At 9:30 it was time for *Beastrivia*. I can't believe I volunteered to get up on
a stage and answer questions! But, up I got, and rung my wee bell now and again.
Actually, on the first question, the answer was " A Children's Story". Do you
think I could get the answer out after ringing my wee bell? LOL! " I forgot" was
all I could blurt out! Great start Lynny! Anyhoo, it was fun, and I enjoyed it a
lot.

Next up was Chan's "FUN W/BREAD" workshop. Is that woman brilliant, or what? She
had us break a wee slice of bread up into teeny wee pieces, stick them in a
plastic bag with some of that white glue. Squish it all together until it all
came together, like a wee dough. Then make lots of wee balls. We shaped each one
into a leaf, then made a wee rose out of them. It was amazing. Thank you Chan!
We took our roses up to the room. The room was very cold throughout the weekend.
Je got the maintenance guy up on the friday to fix the a/c. But, it was still
cold! We called him again. He came up just as we were leaving for lunch. We left
him to it...

A group of us decided to head to The Plaza for lunch. Je, Sharon, Annette, Mary
and moi ended up at The Cheesecake Factory. When entering the place, we noticed
a plaque on the ground proclaiming that we were in "Chandler Court!". How
appropriate!. Mary and I halfed a club sandwich(I'd learned my lesson on
*portions*, after being in the USA for a week! LOL). It was delicious. Then we
ordered two cheesecakes between the five of us. Scrumptious!. After lunch we
went walkabout. Man, it was sooooooo hot! I had to get some sunblock from Je,
as I was burning after two minutes in the sun! Soon it was time to head back to
the hotel.

We got back to the room. It was still cold! Brrr. Je decided to do some
*maintenance* of her own. Man, she had Sharon and I in fits! The a/c seemed to
work a bit better after it though!

We headed down to the con room. Next up was Quilling with Winterose. What an
interesting activity. It was not easy! LOL! I made another wee rose(I'm not
sure it *looked* like a rose right enough!), which I put on a little card. Thank
you Winterose! There was also a colouring Vincent's windows during this time.
Mary(T) did a fabulous job! Kristopher would be proud of you Mary! LOL!

At 3pm A Happy Life video was shown, with a twist. During certain scenes
everyone had to shout out certain things, or do certain things. And at the end
scene...JoAnn swapped the video, for the ending we all wanted! Yeay! ...sigh.

After some afternoon snacks, it was time for the auction. Lori and JoAnn did a
fabulous job! I think Lori said they'd completed the auction in record time!
After the auction, a Fajita station was set up. That soup was spicy! LOL! But
tasty. Then after eating, it was time to go get dressed for the costume and
talent show...

I donned my home made *Arthur* suit, which looked absolutley nothing like a
racoon!. I'm sure most people wondered what the heck I was! LOL!(Actually, it
looked a bit like a japanese racoon! Right Sigma? LOL!) I had lots of eyeholes
in that mask, and still couldn't see a thing! LOL! Had to get Mary to guide me
onto the stage. Anyhoo, I had a blast dressing up. The sillier, the better...he
he. There were some fabulous costumes. And some wonderful singers! I step back
in awe at anyone who can stand on stage and belt out a tune! <applause>. Well
done to one and all at the costume and talent show. It was a fun time!

After the show we ate some more snacks. Then Pix, Winterose, Mary and Annette
came back to our( Sharon, Je, and moi's)room for a wee natter. I offered them
booze, but only Pix was brave enough to try the japanese Chu-hi. I don't think
she was impressed! LOL! Anyhoo, we chatted and laughed for a while. I think we
dispersed about half past midnight.

Soon we were in lala land...tomorrow is another day...

Lynn.

 

SUNDAY JULY 11TH.

It's the last day of the con. Bwa! Bwa!

Go down for brekkie at 8ish. As I was making my moring cup of *Earl Grey*,
Pat(Jackson) made a comment. Somethig along the lines of "Ah, a woman after my
own heart"...he he he. I guess Pat enjoys a cuppa tea aswell, uh? ;-)

After brekkie, it was time for the *FANDOM FORWARD PANEL*. As I was a member of
the Winterfest Online Committee, I was involved in this. Chan introduced the
members of WFOL who were present at the con. She said a few kind words about us.
One or two of us spoke a few words. I was too shy. I didn't really have anything
to say, as Chan really said it all. Thanks Chan!. Then Judy announced that
Karen, Miranda and her were going on holiday next July, and everyone was welcome
to join them!. A couple of people made suggestions about place's for next year,
but nothing is set in stone yet. Also Rosemarie offered to look into
possibilities for the 20th anniversary, in 2007. So, we shall wait and see.

There was a second season trivia next. Unfortunatel my mind has gone a complete
blank on that one! LOL! I was runing back and forth to the loo, with a bit of a
dodgy stomach, if I remember correctly. Anyhoo, I'm sure the questions were just
as hard as he first season ones!. Then after a couple of games of Beast
Bingo(didn't win a sausage! ;-) ). I have a feeling Sharon and I went out for a
wee browse around at this time...maybe LOL! Then up to the room to prepare to go
to the *surprise* at the Crown Centre. Je, Sharon, Annette, Mary and I went in
Je's car. We got there as bit before the group arrived. Je and I browsed the
second floor. Some cool shops up there!. Soon the rest of the group arrived. We
were all eagerly awaiting in great anticipation for Lori's *surpise*. Boy! It
was worth the wait. There was an exhibition called "Things People Collect".
Well, there was Vincent, on the front window mural. And right in the first spot,
was Lori's BATB collection! Yeay! There was an
*invasion!* lol! We all were eager to see what all the fuss was about. It was
wonderful to see the collection in that window.There were lots of interesting
collections. Things orange, John Wayne, Princess Diana, Wee shoes, those little
plastic film boxes(have to admit that I didn't think that was interesting! LOL),
Holiday Barbie's, Japanese dragonware, vintage movie posters, rotary telephones,
1940s polka dot animal figurines, mortar shell art, Laura Ingalls Wilder
collection, and some small japanese christmas decorations(have to admit, I've
never seen these in Japan before!). Toasters ring a bell too(?).Lots of other
things, which escape me at the mo. It was relly interesting to see some f the
weird things people collect. I'm sure it was enjoyed immensely by one and all.
This event was actually scheduled for the monday, a while back. I'm so glad Lori
changed it to the sunday. I would have hated to have missed this! Thanks Lori!

After the exhibit, we headed for lunch. Je, Sharon, Annette, Mary and I decided
to eat in the *choo choo* restaurant(I can't remember the name of it! LOL).
After getting a table, we discovered that you had to use the phone at the table
to place your order. The menu was interesting. I was delighted to see there was
a " FREDDIE BURGER" on the menu! That's the one for me! ;-). I got Je to order
it for me. With my accent we may have been there all afternoon, just trying to
order! ;-). I could just picture the poor sod at the other end of the phone
"Uh?" LOL! Face to face is hard enough!. Once the orders were in, we waited...Up
above our heads there was a little train track, which ran all the way round the
restaurant. Little trains were constantly wheeching round and round. Soon, there
she was...the 1:00pm, with our lunch on it!. What happened was that the wee
train had a wee tray attached to it UNDERNEATH the track lines. The tray carried
the basket of food. When it reached the
specific table, a little lever came down and stopped the basket and placed it
on another tray, as the train and OTHER tray carried on it's merry way.The
basket was then lowered to the table. And we ate! It was a fun place to eat!. I
put a couple of pics in the pics section(good one of the 1:20 express! LOL) to
give you an idea of what I've been rambling on about ;-). Hope they help.
After lunch, I made a quick trip up to the wee *doggie* shop on the second
floor. My youngest daughter is dog daft, and I promised to bring her a couple of
doggie souveniers from AMERICA! LOL!. That shop was perfect! I think it was
called "Perfect Paws"(don't quote me on that though ;-)). Then it was back down
to join the gang. They'd all bought ice cream!. Je shared her choccie shake
with me :-) Annette let us taste the *whisky ice cream* she had bought. Both
were yum!. I was wishing I had had more time to spend in The Crown Centre, as
there were some really wonderful and interesting shops in that place. Next
time...

Anyhoo, it was time to scoot back to the hotel. There was two room in operation
now. And we'd moved to the mezzanine level now. There was videos showig in one
room, and Sandy Tew's drawing workshop in the other. I opted for the workshop. I
wanted to see *how it's done*, and maybe get a tip or two(my drawing skills are
limited to Pooh Bear!). It was fascinating and educational to see how Sandy goes
about getting her drawings onto paper. The most important message was... "DRAW!
DRAW! DRAW!...EVERY DAY!"LOL! Thank you Sandy!

There was a mid afternoon snack and beverage service set up. So I undulged in a
cuppa, and a brownie(Yours are better dear ;-)). Then, Sharon and I sat in on
Lisa's MAKE UP demonstration. Now, I had already seen pics of Lisa dressed up as
Vincent, but Shatron hadn't. To say she was gobsmacked, would be an
understatement! LOL! It was so interesting to see how she Lisa does it.
Fascinating!. Oh yes, and Renee kept us all entertained with some funny tales
about their adventures. He he he. Afer Lisa was in full *Vincent mode*, she went
for a walkabout in the hotel. The reception staff were looking a bit bewildered,
and wondering what all the fuss was about. Cameras were clicking at an alarming
rate! LOL! Of course I had to have my pic taken with *Vincent*. Thank you Lisa!
:D. After all that excitement, it was time to go and get ready for the
banquet...

I had brought a yukata(summer kimono) from Japan. I feared I may have to send an
SOS to Sigma for some help with the OBI( the heavy silk belt thing that wraps
round the middle). I had one practice myself while in Japan, and ha brough all
these print-outs of it, stage by stage. There's a lot! LOL! Luckily, there was
no need for the SOS, as I seemed to get it just about right...phewwwwww, Je and
Sharon were the judges, and gave me their approval...wey hey! After donning my
"GETA"(japanese wooden sandals), I was all set!. Down we headed to take some
pics before the banquet. Mary's camera was alergic to taking any pics...he he
he. I hope you've workedit out Mary! LOL!. Soon it was time to hea in for the
banquet. The scene from Dead Of Winter started up on the screen. Lori lit the
first candle, passing the light to each table. Sharon lit my candle, and I lit
Je's candle...sigh.Soon the room was *flickering*. It was a beautiful sight,
and a bit emotional... Soon the food started
appearing. Salad first, then the beef/chicken for me. Then dessert! The
fourless chocolate cake. Or as Je named it "chocolate sex!" LOL! It was a tad
heavy, but delicious. I didn't leave a morsel! :D


 

Con Report. Sunday JULY 11th (Part TWO)

 

Also coffee was served(caff and de-caff). I asked if they had any tea.To my
great delight the waiter/waitress came with a box full of all different kinds of
tea, and some hot water :D. They kept coming back avery ten minutes to make sure
I hadn't ran out! Great service! I have to mention that during our meal, we were
all in stitches at Pixie and Mary(B) and the story of the jacket, the bed and
the waitress! You had to be there! LOL!. After the food was by with, there were
some singers. Suze, Pix, and Jesse & KG(I hope I haven't forgotten anyone :-S).
They were all wonderful. Soon after, there were some slide shows and videos
shown. And *THE* video. WOO HOO! Smooooooooooooch! Gimme more 'o that! :D :D :D.
Alas, soon it was time for the closing ceremony. Lori said a lot of thank you's,
and a few words. Then she passed the candle to people who have put their names
forward to organize further get togethers. Be it online or offline...People
started dispersing soon afterwards. We went down
to the reception area to get the elevator. A lady(who I didn't know from Adam)
kept looking at me, and approached me. She asked if I lived in Japan( I guess it
was the yukata, uh? LOL). She was Australian, and had been married to a japanese
guy, and lived in Japan for a few years. She asked me if I was happy etc. She
said she was divorced, and said "you must have gotten one of the good ones!"
LOL! Anyhoo, Je was patiently waiting at the elevator, and wondering who the
heck I was yakking to! ;-). We finally headed to the room to take our *glad
rags* off and change into more comfy clothes. Then Je, Sharon and I headed down
to the bar. We met up with Mary, Annette, Pix, Winterose and Amy. The poor
barman nearly fainted when Pix asked him for a " Sex on the beach" cocktail!
LOL! Now, she *was* going to ask him for an "o-g--m", but decided he was too
young and innocent to handle that one! LOL! Go Pix!. There were a few drinking
the SOTB cocktails. I stuck with my usual Bacardi. We
bumped into the delightful Shelia, and her hubby, at the bar. She had us
laughing our heads off with her stories. Especially the one about her BATB
"Shit!" LOL! . Afte we'd all received our beverages, we headed up to a nice wee
corner on the mezzanine level for a comfy seat and a natter. Much laughter and
fun later, it was time to head up to the rooms. *This* I wasn't looking forward
to. I knew this would be *goodbye* to friends I would not be seeing again for an
awful long time( I had a really early flight the next morning). I so hate
goodbye's! :-( So hard...After many hugs and a few tears later, I was n my kip.
Never slept a wink. I had another goodbye in the morning, that I was sooooooooo
not looking forward to. Got up around 5am, had a shower and got all the gear
together. Sharon, Je and I headed down around 6am. We got the bill squared up.
I was heading to Toledo with Sharon for a few days. I said goodbye to
Annette(who'd come down to see us off. Thank you Annette!) I had to
say goodbye to Je. I knew it wasn't going to be easy...It was so very very
hard to *let go*. We hugged and hugged and hugged, and cried...oh boy.
Soon the shuttle came though, and it was *time*. It was over, and I was on my
way to the airport...(which held another little adventure! LOL).

I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to Lori, JoAnn, and all the committee who
made this reunion possible. I feel so humble to be a part of such a special
group of people. People who "get it". And to finally meet friends who I'd only
ever contacted online, or by phone, was absolutely wonderful. There's definately
no substitute for a *real* hug...sigh. For all the fun, the laughter, the tears,
and the teasing about my accent...THANK YOU! and ARI GATO!

(By the way, I am sorry this report has been so long winded. I'm an awful bugger
for puting in far too many details! I hope it wasn't too long and boring! :-S)

Cheers!
Lynn.
PS. I shall post my *post-con* report, once I get round to it, if anyone wants
to read it, that is! LOL!