December 27th

I have been off work for four days.  Four whole days.  I openly admit to being very sloth-like during this time.  I was tired.  I needed the down time.  The most strenuous things I did were put a pork roast in the oven on Christmas day, and two loads of laundry.  No joke.  Know what?  I have zero regrets.  It felt damn good to be lazy!

Christmas was unseasonably warm, and thankfully quiet.  My roommate doesn’t do the whole “Christmas” thing (or holidays in general).  That’s fine.  I don’t have a need or desire to clean up the house just so it can be decorated, and then all the decorations taken down.  Not to mention trying to keep the three cats out of said decorations.  I did make dinner (the pork roast mentioned above).  It wouldn’t feel right for us both to have growling tummies (and I have three more meals from the leftovers).  The weather made it feel very un-Christmas-like.  We actually turned on the air conditioner.  I felt like I was in Florida.

Tomorrow I go back to work, for another short week.  I’m not complaining.  I get to catch up on nearly a year’s worth of sleep in these two holiday weeks.  LOL  I wonder how many calls we’ll get from people asking if they have insurance to cover their expensive new gifts (jewelry, game consoles, vehicles…).  Do you know if you have the right coverage for your new “toys?”  Maybe call your agent.  Just sayin’.

This year I did my own holiday card, but due to some restraints I was not able to print many to send out.  So, I’m going to share it here:

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The front of my 2015 holiday card. Inside it reads: Hope Love Joy These are my wishes for you. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

 

The Longest Night

The Winter Solstice is upon us.  Tonight is the longest night of the year.  The days will once again slowly begin to have longer periods of daylight.  For many the solstice is more than just a changing of the seasons.  It is a time for change overall; a time for magic.

Earlier I read an article on Newgrange.  I hadn’t really known much of it before, but now I desire to know more.  It is on the bucket list of places to visit.  How I would love to be one of those chosen in the lottery to be there for the solstice!

Tonight I will begin a change of my own.  A purging, if you will.  It is time for me to put the weights and negativity of the past out of my mind.  It is time to release them; to no longer allow them to have hold on me.  I expect some emotional pain, but I know it’s time.  I want to go into the new year free from these burdens.  I am ready to truly move forward; to embrace ME for who I am.  To be who I want to be.  Tonight I will make peace with my “demons.”  They will no longer haunt me.

Tonight I will end with the song “Newgrange” by Clannad.

1979

As each year passes I find it more difficult to get into the holiday spirit.  I still love to send cards and gifts to my loved ones and friends, but the rest of it… the commercialism, and the damn political correctness that has taken over our world.  So, once a year I revert back to a time when my life was simpler.  When things in general seemed simpler.  I revert back to 1979, when I was 7, and my favorite Christmas special and album.

John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together aired in 1979.  I’m not sure if it aired any subsequent years.  I do know I had the album on vinyl.  I have since replaced it on CD.  It is still my favorite holiday album, and it is not Christmas to me until I’ve listened to it.  This morning was the first time this year: one week from Christmas Eve.

Like many of my generation I grew up with The Muppets.  It makes me smile to know they are regaining popularity in the 21st century.  It keeps me young.  I was also lucky to have parents who enjoyed John Denver’s music, so I grew up listening to him.  I still love his music, and I do listen to it more than once a year.

One particular part of A Christmas Together has touched me for as long as I can remember.  It is the story of Alfie the Christmas tree.  I have the illustrated book that was released for the poem.  It is one of my treasured possessions from my childhood.  I cannot read or recite it without crying.  Just typing this I feel tears welling in my eyes.  John Denver had a way with words; a gift.  So tonight I share my favorite part of that long ago special and recording:

Alfie the Christmas Tree / It’s in Every One of Us

It’s Finally Happened

Yes, I have lost what was left of my sanity.  If you find it, please return it.  Wait, maybe I don’t really want it back!  😀

The semester is finally over.  The second of my two finals was last Wednesday.  I had the option to take it Friday, and part of me wonders if I should have taken it, but I didn’t.  By Sunday I knew my grades for both classes.  I had my final exam grade in Psych of Personality before she finished grading our final personality analysis papers, so I had to wait for that before knowing the final grade.  After she finished grading all the papers, extra credit, and exams, I was .09 from an overall B in the course.  I was truly expecting to break out the waterworks if she didn’t bump me, but it wasn’t necessary!  I did receive a B in the course!  As many may recall, I was very close to an A in Intro to Stats going into the final.  My last homework assignment wasn’t great, but it didn’t make too much of an impact.  The final, however, kicked my ass.  Again, I should have considered waiting until Friday to take it.  There is a happy ending.  Even with earning a 62 (eek) on the final, I completed the class with a solid B (85%).  I will take it!  Hell, I’ll beat anyone who tries to take it from me!  LOL

Now I have a bit of downtime.  (If you consider no classes but still working 40 hours a week downtime.)  I’m trying to get things for end of year done in the office.  We really tried to hit our Life/Financial goal, but we may have come up about $5k short.  That means no bonus.  That really sucks.  I can’t even express how much it sucks (especially since there was no bonus last year or the year before, and I haven’t had a raise since 2013).  I’m praying something unexpected comes down the pike this week, but it isn’t guaranteed.  (Seriously, if anyone in VA, DC, or MD needs life insurance or some type of financial products/college planning – contact me!)

So yesterday I’m chatting with Bonnie about the fact that M3 hadn’t released a line-up for 2016 yet.  I saw where they released the dates for the festival, and told her.  Well, by the time I got home they released the initial list of bands… and yes, Night Ranger is one.  Guess who is going to M3 the end of April?  Yup, this crazy lady (with the other crazy lady, Bonnie).  We reserved a hotel last night (figured we’d go up Friday and stay, do the festival Saturday, and crash Saturday night).  Festival tix go on sale Friday morning.  I’ve been put on duty to get them.  This could be interesting.  Shame I can’t take the morning off work to just try and get tix.  LOL  (Yes, this is where the last of my sanity went.)  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to me!

Speaking of Christmas… by gosh, it’s NEXT WEEK!  How the hell did that happen?!  The plus side?  I have 4 days off from work.  The downside?  I haven’t mailed any of the things that need to be mailed.  Oops.  Guess I’d better get cracking.

And I look at the clock, and it’s 11:02.  Shoot me.  Where does time go?  No, really?  I swear it was 10:30 like 2 minutes ago.  Ok, time to wrap this up and get some ZZZZZs.  Crazy lady, signing off.  😉

Tempus fugit

… if it were only due to having fun!  😉  Tomorrow will be three weeks since my return home from my trip to Florida.  That means it has been just over three weeks since I saw Night Ranger (most likely for the final time in 2015) perform in Clearwater.  And I’m just now getting around to blogging.  In my defense, I’ve been pretty darn busy since returning to NoVA.  There’s always the good ol’ 9 to 5, Monday through Friday; plus don’t forget two classes (and the end of the semester); and there was Thanksgiving.  I’ve been a bit busy, but that will be for another post.  🙂

I flew down to FL the night of November 18, after a full day of class and work.  Although the weather was clear at Reagan National, it wasn’t so clear south of us.  We literally had bad turbulence for 98% of the flight.  I am thankful it was an empty flight (30 of us, not including crew) and had a row to myself.  I’m more thankful that for whatever reason I had packed my Zofran in my carry-on bag!  I definitely needed it (and I very rarely ever get motion sick).  You know it’s a rough flight when: 1) The captain keeps increasing altitude in an attempt to avoid the rough weather (we got up to just below 40,000 feet), and 2) The cabin crew are holding onto the overhead bins for support.  Yeah, it was fun.  I was very happy when we landed.  Until I stepped out of the plane and got hit with the humidity.  Ugh.  Got my checked bag, and picked up the rental car.  Then headed to Clearwater and my hotel for the first two nights.  It was a bit after midnight when I got into the room.  Naturally I was wide awake.  It was probably 3:00 by the time I shut off the lights, and I still couldn’t sleep.

I woke the morning of the 19th a little after 8:00.  Dad’s birthday.  It was a bit rough being so near to the house where I grew up, knowing he is non longer physically with me.  In my heart I know he is always with me, and I know that I was where he wanted me to be.  I got dressed and went in search of the Wawa I’d seen on the drive in.  I needed coffee.  It wasn’t difficult to find, and for double points there was a Walmart just behind it!  I stopped in Walmart first to get a few things for the room (I had a full-sized fridge, coffee pot, and microwave), and then I hit up Wawa for my coffee.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off the perishables, and then went out to find where the venue was located.  I figured it was a good idea to know where I was going.  Found it with no problem, and immediately realized that parking was going to be a slight problem.  Good ol’ downtown Clearwater.  Back to the hotel to shower and relax.  I decided to head over to the venue around 4:00 since I still needed to get my ticket from will call, and the email for the meet & greet said we had to be there by 6:15.  Naturally the minute I got into the car it started raining.  This was not your typical FL afternoon storm… there was no burst of rain and gone in 30 minutes.  Nope.  It was a full-fledged storm front moving through, and me in a rental car without an umbrella.

The parking turned out better than expected, which was good in lieu of the rain and no umbrella.  I managed to park on the street just down the block.  I sat in the car for quite awhile waiting for a break in the rain.  When it slowed to a heavy drizzle, I took a “run” for it.  (I don’t run.  It was more of a really fast walk.)  I still got wet, but not as bad as it would have been in the downpour.  So, I waited outside the theater for the will call to open.  It was raining (thank goodness for the marquis overhang), and with rain comes humidity.  My clothes dried, but my hair never did.  I felt like a drowned purple rat.  LOL  I had some nice conversations with other fans while waiting outside, but the best part was that the sound check was played outside over speakers.  For the singer in me, that was really cool (plus, I got to hear a song they ended up not playing).  We were finally let into the theater lobby and given our pass for the meet & greet.  One of the theater’s ushers came over to me and complimented me on my hair (I knew purple was a good choice), which was amusing.  We were finally lined up for the m&g; they were very strict that the only photos would be taken by the professional photographer, and no autographs.  It felt a bit like cattle being herded.  Definitely nothing like the m&g at Rocky Gap.  When I was about 3 people from the front I was told that I was not allowed to hand the guys the gifts I had for them.  That upset me.  What harm was that going to do?  But, it wasn’t worth making a scene, and the gentleman handed them to their manager (?) while I was watching.  He was just doing his job, no point in getting mad at him.  I finally got to go up to the guys, and I told them that I had something for them from VA (and pointed to the manager).  Jack asked if it was a Virginia Ham.  I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes as I laughed and said it wasn’t.  I was telling him about Dad when the photographer interrupted, and after the photo was taken Jack turned back to me and asked me to continue was I was saying.  It was short and sweet, but it definitely made me happy.

We were ushered out of the theater as soon as we were done with the m&g, and then had to wait in the lobby some more before we could take our seats.  I had managed to get third row, almost dead center.  It was an amazing seat (the theater only seats 750).  Yes, the fact that I was almost directly in front of Jack made me happy.  I’d been in front of Kelly at Rocky Gap, and in front of Eric at Hummels Wharf.  It was nice to be in the center and be able to see all of them clearly.  The show opened with “When You Close Your Eyes,” and much to my surprise Jack mentioned my gift of “Virginia corn whisky” during the song (that would be Virginia Lightning to those who are curious).  Yes, I had a big smile on my face.  🙂  The show was amazing.  They were up there having fun and just playing music and telling stories.  I am pretty sure it was my favorite show of the three I saw.  There’s just something about an acoustic set that feels more intimate, and that coupled with how special that day and place was… Yeah, it was my favorite show.  As always the show was too short, and they didn’t play the one song I’d wanted to hear (but I heard the sound check!)… but it didn’t really matter in the end.  In the end what mattered was the phenomenal evening I had.  I got to see one of my favorite bands, in Florida (in the city next to the one where I grew up), thirty years after the first time I’d seen them in Florida.  It was special.

I took a lot of pictures.  Way more than I thought.  I did get them up on Facebook, but maybe I’ll put them on Flickr as well.  Not really sure.  I did take two videos as well.  They are on YouTube – that is where everyone watches stuff now.  😉  I have still yet to get a guitar pick, drumstick, or set list… but it will happen.  I feel it in my bones.

Friday after checking out of the hotel I headed up to Port Richey to stay with my mom and Fred.  It was really strange driving through areas I knew and seeing what had and hadn’t changed over the years.  I was more amazed at the fact that even though traffic was heavy on US 19, it still moved more swiftly than the traffic ever moves in NoVA!  Even in the rain!  Up here, people slam on their brakes the moment a drop of rain hits their windshield.

I got reacquainted with Helan (aka meatloaf), and met the other five kitties.  Arden was the welcoming committee, and I decided she was going to be my new friend.  The kittens, Midnight and Twilight were absolutely adorable.  They were probably about the same age Moonie was when I adopted her.  I found the way to get Twilight to accept me was to play “dot” with him.  That little guy loved the red dot!

I had a nice visit with Mom and Fred, as well as a yummy steak Saturday night.  I’ll never turn down a steak!  🙂  Sunday I headed to Tampa International, and boarded a plane back north.  Thankfully the flight was much smoother.  I got home about 7:00, exhausted.  It was a nice trip though, and I’m glad I found a way to make it work.

As for now… it’s nearly 2:00a.  I guess I’d better put my bum into bed!

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(Yes, I’m reposting this! ♥ )

“Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…”

I’m sitting in Terminal A at Tampa International Airport waiting for my flight back to Virginia.  It’s a bit difficult to believe the trip is over.  That could be sleep deprivation kicking in. 🙂  I honestly did not go to bed before 2a a single night I was here, and I was awake by 9a each morning.  I think I’m about ready to meet myself coming and going.  Despite lack of sleep and the weather, it was a good trip.  I got to see Night Ranger again (last time in 2015), spent time with one of my oldest friends, and spent time with Mom and the menagerie of kitties.

I really want to take time to write about Thursday and the show, and I don’t have it now.  Plus, as tired as I am I’m not sure I can string my thoughts together.  I promise I will write something.  Just not now.

Driving around the past few days I definitely saw a lot of changes from the last time I was here.  It isn’t really  hat surprising.  I’d be more surprised if ttere hadn’t been change.  I fell in love with the kittens my mom and Fred have adopted:  Twilight and Midnight.  If it were possible, I would have loved to bring Twilight home with me… but, it wasn’t to be.  I’m thinking we are going to begin boarding soon, so I’ll sign off here.

Short & Sweet

I could be referring to last night’s meet and greet, but I’m actually referring to this blog. 🙂  I just wanted to put up a quick post before checking out of the hotel.

Last night in brief:  It didn’t start out the way I’d hoped, but in the end it was an amazing night.  Not only did I get to see Night Ranger again (and briefly speak with Jack during the m&g), but I got to meet some really great people, and enjoyed an amazing show.  I have LOTS of photos.  I haven’t even gotten halfway through reviewing them, let alone any edits.  I am going to share the pro pic that was taken at the m&g by Jeff O’Kelley of Jeff O’Kelley Photography.

More later!

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It’s all a blur…

I’ve been meaning to post a blog for the past several days, but life has gotten the better of me; between work, school, fighting the plague, packing, commuting, and sleeping… well, there just wasn’t time.  In all honesty most of this week is a blur.  I blame the plague for that, or at least the meds I’m taking to battle it.  (For those who are confused: plague = bronchitis.)  The coughing has more or less subsided, but the congestion is now more focused in my sinuses.  Yay.

Monday I had two tests (one in each class), and to my amazement I managed an 88 on the one in stats, which brings my overall class average to 89.38.  I would express more excitement, but I’m still a bit stunned.  LOL  I got an 80 on the Psych of Personality test, which is far better than I expected.  I’m carrying a 78.53 in that class (I can still get a B if I set my mind to it!).  Tuesday I spent the evening packing.  There was a moment of “oh shit, is it all gonna fit in the bag?!” which had me scrambling to see if I had a slightly larger one I could use.  The next option was more than “slightly” larger, so I found a way to make it all fit.  Years of packing for trips has paid off.  Wednesday I woke up at 6:30.  I went to class, and then work.  My ride picked me up around 6:45 to take me to Reagan National.  Thankfully northbound traffic wasn’t bad and I arrived at the airport in plenty of time.  Turns out the flight only had about 30 people on it, so I changed my seat and got a row to myself.  That made me happy.

My happiness at my own row of seats was short-lived.  It was a very rough flight.  I actually think it was the roughest one I can remember being on as an adult.  I didn’t take off my seat belt the entire trip.  I thought I was going to spill my coffee, then was concerned the coffee wasn’t going to stay in my system.  I am very thankful I packed my Zofran – and that it was in my carry-on bag.  I have never dealt with nausea/motion sickness on a flight before.  At one point the pilot took us up to just under 40,000 feet to see if it would help.  Not really.  I was very happy when we landed in Tampa.  Well, until I stepped out of the plane and got hit with the humidity.  It was just after 11:00p, and the humidity was miserable.  *sigh*  I got my bag quickly and then headed to Enterprise to get my rental.  They upgraded me at no additional fee as there was a slight wait due to two difficult customers prior to me.  I had to laugh when they put me in a Jeep Compass.  It drives very nicely, and should serve my purpose well while I’m here.  I got to the hotel just a bit after midnight… and couldn’t sleep.  I literally did not turn out the lights until about 2:00a.  Then, I tossed and turned.  When I did sleep it was filled with odd dreams.  I was awake by 7:30, but managed to stay in bed until 8:30.

It’s odd being back in Clearwater.  A lot has changed, but there are still things I remember.  I have a lovely view of the Church of Scientology’s buildings (well, their newest one) from my room.  It’s funny since Jeff and I had been talking about it only a few weeks ago.  I’m sure when I drive up to Port Richey tomorrow that I’ll notice a lot of changes as well.

So, why am I here?  The simplest answer: my dad.  Today would have been his 71st birthday.  The longer answer:  August 31st Night Ranger announced they would be doing an acoustic show in Clearwater, on November 19th.  I nearly started to cry.  It seemed like a sign, almost like Dad made sure I saw the announcement.  I thought it over until the day before tickets went on sale and realized I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t go – or at least make a valiant attempt to go.  So I bought a VIP ticket, not knowing if I could afford the airfare or get the time off work.  I just realized it was what I needed to do.  Dad and Mom took me to my first Night Ranger show 30 years ago when I was growing up in Florida.  The fact that the band was doing a show in the city just south of where I grew up, on my dad’s birthday… yeah, I had to go.  So here I am.

Right now I’m just relaxing in my hotel room.  I went out for a bit earlier to get some food and get my bearings regarding the area.  I was very happy last night to see a Wawa on my way to the hotel, so that’s where I headed.  I found a Walmart right next to it.  Double score!  I got a few provisions as my room is technically a suite and I have a full-sized fridge (and coffee pot!).  I got a coffee at Wawa.  That was probably when I truly started my day.  LOL  The show is at 8:00, but the meet & greet is at 6:45 (check-in at 6:30) so I’ll head over to the theater earlier.  I still have to figure out where I’m parking as some of the lots have time limits, and parking on the street in front of/near the venue will be impossible.  So until later, today is a “chill” day.

I am hoping to catch up with some old friends while I’m here.  There are no definite plans set, but they are in the works.  I’ll be heading up to Port Richey tomorrow to stay with Mom until I leave Sunday.  I’m sure at some point I will go by the cemetery.  I haven’t been to dad’s grave in about 5 or 6 years.  I’m overdue.

Chances are I’ll have more to post either after the show tonight, or at some point tomorrow/this weekend.  For now, I’ll leave you with a song.

“Goodbye” – Night Ranger at The Capitol 2014

Numb

For the past few days I have been wrapped up in myself and my own life.  I’ve been stressing over two upcoming tests.  Fretting over getting everything in order for my trip next week.  Doing everything in my power not to get sick.  I even went to the doctor earlier.  I was told I was in the early stages of bronchitis, but it was so early on that antibiotics would make it worse.  So, we’re treating the symptoms.  It frustrated me.  I’m getting on a plane in less than a week and I don’t want to be sick.  I want to enjoy my trip.

All that seems inconsequential now.  Just before leaving work I began to see reports of shootings and a bombing in Paris.  I admit that I wanted it to be an error, or that it was coincidence they happened at the same time.  By the time I arrived home it was confirmed they were connected, and were an act of terrorism.  Over 100 people dead.  Many more injured.  I’m stunned.  I’m numb.

I was in New York for 9/11.  I still remember what it felt like to be in a city and nation that was under attack.  My heart goes out to those in Paris who are living through this atrocity.  I have friends in and around the city.  I hope and pray they and their loved ones are safe.

I’ve begun to wonder these past few years, amid all the wars and fighting if maybe the end of times is nearer than we’d like to believe.  Several nations have atomic weapons.  All it takes is one of them to hit “launch” and the others follow suit.  It scares me to think that this could happen in my lifetime, that it could be how my life ends.  I don’t understand why there has to be so much hate and war in our world.  We really aren’t so different.  Yes, we may worship different deities and govern our people in different manners, but we are all human.  We make mistakes, but mistakes should be forgiven and not condemned.  I wish I knew the answer to how this hatred situation could be fixed, but I don’t.

I will leave tonight with this:  I believe a positive change can happen, that it is possible.  The key is for more people to believe that, and for everyone to work towards a peaceful world.

Argh!

No, I’m not trying to do my best impersonation of a pirate.  That is a sound of frustration.  Tonight I played, “how to refrain from tossing your laptop down the stairs.”  At this point, the laptop lives to see another day.  I will have the roommate look at it tomorrow as he does IT for a living.  Hopefully I’m not looking at having to replace it.  Definitely not in the budget.

I’m contemplating something crazy.  I won’t say more just yet, but if I do it, it’s gonna be soon.  Anyone want to talk me out of this unknown craziness?

I will not be sharing a musical interlude tonight as I’m on the tablet and don’t have a link ready.  I may post 2 tomorrow.  You have been warned.

unstapledlisa

It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you...