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Scientific papers, finals, and music… oh my!

So… I’ve managed to not allow an entire month to pass between blogs.  Barely.  I thought once finals week was over things would be calmer.  I thought wrong.  Of course I did.  LOL  I’ll go back to finals week to start the re-cap and bring everyone up to date.

Finals Week:  I took my stats final Monday morning.  I felt really good about it; I left the room thinking that I actually passed and wouldn’t have to re-take the class.  I had even turned in my final SPSS homework assignment the night before instead of waiting until the deadline.  I felt good.  Plus, I knew I was not going to take the final for research methods.  I spent my evenings working on the scientific manuscript (from hell).  It was due by 11:59p Friday, April 29th.  Well, I knew mine would have to be in prior to that because I wasn’t going to be near a computer that day.  I turned it in the night before.  I’m fairly proud of my work considering this was the first time I’d ever written this type of paper.  Not counting my quiz grades, I went into the final assignment (the paper) with a 96%.  I was confident.

April 29th & 30th:  M3 Rock Festival in Columbia, MD.  My first time attending M3, and my main reason for going (besides to spend time with Bonnie) was because Night Ranger was going to be playing.  We bought our tickets the day they went on sale last year.  (December?)  Anyone who knows me well understands that I am not a big fan of crowds.  For me to agree to a huge festival was a big deal.  The weather wasn’t great, but we managed to only get rained on as we were leaving Saturday night.  The organizers did a poor job with organizing the meet & greets with the different bands, and the VIP area was a bit questionable.  BUT, I had a great time.  Got to hear a lot of great music.  Spent time with one of my dearest friends.  Got to chat with Brad Gillis (one of the guitarists for Night Ranger) Saturday night… Generally just a lot of fun.  I might do it again.  LOL

This past week wasn’t too bad.  It was my new co-worker’s second week.  She’s studying for her licensing exam (which she takes this Saturday), translating for our Spanish speaking customers, taking payments, and answer the phone.  I’m really pleased with her desire to get the license and to learn how to do things.  Our weather was less than pleasing… a lot of rain.  I don’t really mind the rain, but last week I just wished I could send it to areas that desperately needed it – like Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada.  The horrific fire burning there tears at my heart.  Reports say it could burn for months.  On a brighter note, I got my final grades.  I did pass stats (barely), so no more stats classes and graduation is on schedule for next May.  I also managed a B in research methods!  I guess the fact that I failed the quizzes wasn’t enough to counter my strong A going into the final paper, and how I did on the paper (no clue the final grade on that, but I’m guessing an A or B).  That leaves me with community service learning over the summer (40 hours), and two semesters.  It’s nearly over!

Now for this past weekend, and the reason why I’m basically dead on my feet today.  Saturday morning I hopped on a 9:55 flight to Chicago.  Night Ranger was playing at the House of Blues and recording it for a live DVD/CD.  You know I had to be there!  The flight up was ok; a little bumpy at times – especially on landing.  My hotel was literally across the street from HoB, which was planned for convenience so I could just walk there.  Speaking of walking… I know why Chicago is known as “the windy city.”  Holy hell!  I didn’t think I’d get my wide-toothed comb through my hair after my walk.  I had a lot of fun hanging out, talking with other fans while we waited to be let in.  I managed to be at the front, just in front of Eric and Keri.  I would have liked to be further center, but I was in the front.  That was what mattered!  The show was amazing!  They played a lot of the songs I’ve been hearing live over the past year, a couple I haven’t heard played (including closing with “Night Ranger”), and two new songs that are going to be on the new album they’re recording.  The show was definitely high energy, rock and roll!  Live Nation and Yahoo were streaming the show live, and Bonnie said she saw me during one of the songs!  I wonder if that means I’ll be on the DVD?  LOL  After the show I was so wired that there was no way I could sleep right away.  It was just after 2:00 by the time I climbed into bed.  I woke up at 4:00 briefly, and then again at 6:00 when my alarm went off.  All told, less than four hours sleep.  I boarded the shuttle to the airport at 6:50, and my flight was at 9:25.  Somehow I managed to do two loads of laundry after I got home.  I was in bed before 11:00 last night, and I slept through the night!

This morning I woke up and groaned.  Every inch of my body ached – including my toes.  I did not want to get out of bed.  I did not want to adult.  Hell, I did not want to human.  I wanted to cat, and stay in bed all day.  But I got up, showered, dressed, and went to work.  It was a busy day.  I didn’t get a break until 3:00.  Right now it’s 10:20 and I’m not sure how I’m awake, which means I’m heading to bed very shortly.  I’m expecting a busy week, and the boss is out of town for a company conference.  I also have my first community service this Saturday afternoon, so I’ll be keeping busy this weekend as well.  Definitely no dull moments in my life right now!  (And there’s more to come!)

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! ♥ )

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

The Grades Are In…

This morning I arrived on campus, still a bit bleary-eyed as I was up too late last night.  I had only been on campus a few minutes when I received an email alert that our grades for our stats’ test had been posted.  I only briefly considered waiting to find out until class started.  In all honesty, I couldn’t handle the anticipation of waiting.  I took a deep breath and clicked the button to see my grade… It was an 87%!!!  For those who are all “that’s just a B.”  You don’t get it.  For me a B in stats is a HUGE deal.  Dr. McBride handed back the tests for us to review, and the best part about my grade?  It was not on a curve!  It was an 87% that I earned totally on my own!  I received full credit on most of the problems that involved formulas and math (one I got docked a point or two because I forgot to make a number negative), which in and of itself is huge.  I guess the change in study habits really worked.  🙂

Work was fine.  Thankfully quiet for a Monday.  I never complain about that.  Plus, I was able to deliver good news to two different clients.  Even better.

I left work at 4:00 to head back to campus for my night class.  I wouldn’t have gone except we had an assignment due.  Got to campus only to find an email saying she had to cancel class tonight.  Ugh.  Total waste of time and gas, and I could have stayed at work until 6:00.  So, I headed home to relax with the kitties.  I’ve pretty much been a non-productive blob all night.

In case anyone is wondering, yes, I’m still on a high from Saturday night.  I’m also trying to firm up plans for the next show I’m seeing in November (I figure I have to make it work since I already bought the ticket).  Just gotta figure out where my finances are, and then figure out how to get 2 days off work.  If anyone can do it, it’s me.  🙂

Tonight I’m going to share something a little more mellow.  It’s one of my current favorites from High Road.  Enjoy!

30 Years Later

This post didn’t actually take 30 years to write… or did it?  😉  It did actually take me longer to sit down and write it than I had hoped, but hell, it’s been a crazy weekend!  Let me start at the very beginning… (bonus points to anyone who knows the next line)

Thirty years ago my parents took me to see Night Ranger in concert.  It was probably in Lakeland, FL because during that time that was where most of the concerts were.  (Sorry I don’t remember that exact detail. 😛 )  It was on the band’s 7 Wishes tour.  It was third concert I’d been to, at the ripe old age of 13.  Night Ranger was one of my favorite bands throughout my teen years.  I actually think Midnight Madness was the first actual CD I owned (I originally had it on cassette, but I think I had Dawn Patrol on vinyl… how confusing).  At some point my music focus changed a bit as I became very interested in musical theater, and then swing and country surfaced for a time.  I always go back to rock.  It may take a few years, but I always go back.

Fast forward to a few months ago… I had a dream that caused me to look at my trusty iPod to see which of my Night Ranger albums were on it.  I was shocked that most of them weren’t (I think I had the Greatest Hits, Man in Motion, and Neverland on it).  So I went digging in the boxes of still-packed CDs in search of my other discs… only to find that the cases were empty.  They had apparently been in the travel case that was stolen from my Jeep a few years back.  *sobs*  So, off to Amazon I went… and there I found a treasure trove of music I didn’t know about!  I now own all the studio albums, and 24 Strings & a Drummer.  Yeah, I’m crazy that way.  But it’s a good crazy.  During my buying spree I also stumbled across NightRanger.com and saw a date listed for a show in Cumberland, MD.  Had no clue where that was other than the state to the north of me.  I figured it was close enough, bought two tickets and two VIP passes.  I was damned if I was going to see one of my favorite bands for the first time in 30 years and not meet them.  I wasn’t sure who was going with me at that point, but I knew someone would. 🙂

The weeks leading up the show had me listening to my iPod any moment I wasn’t sleeping, at work, or studying.  I loaded all the Night Ranger songs into one playlist so all I had to do was hit play and put it on repeat and random.  (I still want to know how I survived my teen years without something this brilliant.)  Over the past week (well, most of it) I’ve been posting a Night Ranger song a day.  I figured I’d share my love and enthusiasm with others.

Friday night the weather report did not look promising for the show the following day:  100% chance of rain… for an outdoors concert (rain or shine).  I tried to brush it off.  I figured as long as I didn’t look like a drowned rat when I met the band, I didn’t care if I got soaked (did it several years back up in Quebec seeing another favorite singer).  At that point the weather was the least of my concerns.  I still hadn’t gotten notification of what time we were supposed to check in for the meet-n-greet.  Got the email at 10:30 Friday night.  My nerves were about shot at that point.  LOL

Saturday (yesterday) I awoke to find the rain chances had dropped to 20%!  Talk about someone being thrilled!  Plus, it wasn’t going to as horribly hot or humid as the past week had been.  I was happy.  I got ready, headed over to get Liz, then to Bux and Wegmans for coffee and food respectively.  Then we were finally on the road.  (I’d venture that it was probably about 2:45 by the time we got on I95 NB.)  Per the GPS it was going to take 2 hours and 49 minutes to get there.  We were making decent time… and bam!  Wall of traffic.  We were somewhere just outside of DC but still in northern VA.  We finally had our exit in sight, and it turned out the back-up was due to an accident that had that exit closed.  I think that was the first time I started to freak.  We eventually got routed in the correct direction around the accident… and it was showing our arrival time was like 7:00.  Yeah, I nearly had a full-blown breakdown.  I’ve meant all day to look online to see what happened since we saw a hazmat truck on the scene, but I never did.  I have to say if it weren’t for Liz being with me, I may have literally had a full breakdown and given up hope of meeting the band.  She managed to keep me (mostly) calm, and she encouraged my inner speed demon once we were on less congested roads.  I broke a LOT of speed laws in MD… “I Can’t Drive 55” (or 65, or 75, or 85) should have been blaring.

We were about 20 miles from our final exit, driving through the foothills, and it starts to rain.  After a few moments I just blurted out, “There’s your 20% chance of rain.”  We both laughed.  Definitely needed that moment.  We got to Rocky Gap at like 7:10, I pulled up in front where the valet parking was, left Liz with the Jeep, and ran inside to find out if there was any way we could still get into the meet-n-greet.  When I found the lady who had the passes, I nearly started to cry and she asked me what was wrong.  I blurted out how we’d been driving for like 4 hours, hit horrible traffic, were supposed to be there 30 minutes ago… she told me it was fine.  Gave me the envelope with the passes and said to go get Liz.  I ran (yes, folks, I will occasionally run if there is a really good reason) up the stairs to get Liz in the lobby.  Since the nice lady told me we had time, we went to will call to pick up the tickets before going back downstairs.  Once in the line my nerves kicked in again.  I mean, I’d basically waited 30 years for this moment.  We walked in the room and I hear Jack say, “She has purple hair!”  My response, “Yes, I do!”  He then commented on Liz’s hair (said it was white… not really… more of a bleached blonde).  I said that I’d waited 30 years to meet them, and Jack said that I needed a hug.  Ok, teenage girl’s dream came true!  I had made a collage for them to sign, and Brad was the first to sign it.  There was chatter among us, including the crappy drive up from NoVA (I believe I made a comment about the shitty NoVA drivers/traffic).  Then our few minutes were over and we headed out to use the ladies’ room before going out to the driving range where the stage was set up.

We got out to the green, set up our chairs, and I went in search of water/soda – and merchandise.  Returned to Liz and got settled.  Pulled out my backup charger for the phone to make sure I had a full battery for the show.  Then I realized I was missing something… the envelope I had the collage in.  I’d left it in the ladies’ room.  I was momentarily upset, but it was a picture.  I can always reprint it and have it signed again (although we decided I’d ask at the desk when we went back to get the Jeep).  Although we had chairs, we didn’t stay in them.  We went up near the stage, and were only one person back from the barricade.  Worked for us!

The show was great!  They opened with “Touch of Madness” and closed with “(You Can Still) Rock in America.”  There was a lot of great stuff in between, including some Alice Cooper, Ozzy, and Damn Yankees.  At one point (I think after “Sister Christian”) Kelly was tossing out his drumsticks.  He looked at me and tossed one, but it was a bit too high and smacked into the tip of my little finger before twirling behind me.  Next time. 😉  (And, hey, Liz got one of Brad’s picks so that was cool!)  I was a little disappointed that the only new song played was “High Road,” but it certainly wasn’t enough to dampen my spirits.  My only real complaint is that the show wasn’t long enough (but is any show ever long enough?).

We headed back down to the resort/casino building (including a walk down a rather steep hill… still think it would have been easier to just roll down it), and I went to the desk to ask about my missing envelope.  They called security and it hadn’t shown up, but she took my name and number in case housekeeping had it.  While we were standing out front waiting for the valet to bring up the Jeep, the front desk called to say my envelope had been located and I could go to the security podium.  So I went to the podium, told the gentleman who I was, and he called to have it brought to me… while we waited, we chatted (nice guy), and I saw the Jeep pull up front.  Oopsie.  So, I got my collage back, and thanked him (he said if I hadn’t collected it he was going to keep it.  LOL).  Liz and I finally climbed back into the Jeep and headed towards home.

Liz needed coffee, and I needed to put gas in the Jeep (sitting in traffic for an hour had sucked the tank low).  We found a Sheetz (our preferred stop), and took care of business.  While I was inside waiting on the food I’d ordered, Liz was outside having a smoke… she came in and told me as soon as my food was done needed to get going because there were two rival groups of bikers outside and it didn’t sound good.  Grabbed my bag and boogied out to the Jeep.  We were finally on the way home.  No need to drive at insane speeds.  After dropping Liz, I got home at 1:37a this morning.

So, there was a lot of stress/anxiety and driving yesterday, but it was worth it.  I got to meet musicians I have loved the majority of my life, and see them do a kick ass show.  I spent it with a great friend who managed to keep me from becoming a total basket case.

I already have my next trip to see Night Ranger in the works.  I have the ticket purchased – I just have to get the rest of the logistics together.  I will make it work.  I know that I can – Liz has shown me that. 🙂

For those who want to see the pictures I took:  Night Ranger: Rocky Gap Casino, 9/12/15

And as I’ve been posting videos all week, here’s a little something from last night. 🙂

(One last note: I did begin typing this on Sunday, September 13.  Didn’t quite get it posted before midnight.)

My Brain is a Jumbled Mush

Right now I have many thoughts ramming into and rolling over one another.  I have no clue if what I post tonight will be coherent.  Before you ask, no, there is no alcohol involved.  Come to think of it I haven’t had any alcohol since Sunday.  I think the mush is just a result of the week I’ve had: classes, studying, work, traffic, nerves, building excitement, memories…

So, I’ll start with the obvious: today is 9/11.  Anyone old enough to have memories remembers where they were when they heard about the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and United Flight 93.  Those who have known me for any length of time probably know where I was, and what I was doing.  I lived and worked in Brooklyn.  I was on the Avenue U bus on my way to work.  I heard an announcement on the bus’ communication system telling drivers in a certain area of lower Manhattan to stick to a certain route – that a small plane had hit one of the World Trade Towers.  Moments later the bus crossed the intersection of Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue.  I looked to my left and saw smoke.  I knew it wasn’t a small plane.  Three of my bosses couldn’t get into Brooklyn to the office as the bridges had been closed.  One of the others came in stating that the bastards had hit World Trade Center.  He’d seen the explosions from the expressway.  We had cable and internet, but no phones.  I managed to get a message to my friend Tammy, asking her to contact my family so they would know I was okay – that I was at work.  We closed the office maybe 2 hours after it had opened.  I got on the bus to go home, talking with the driver who was a friend.  I remember arriving at Flatbush again and people covered in ashes getting on.  I lived in one of the lower areas of Brooklyn, yet we had ashes and debris in my neighborhood.  I had coworkers and friends who had family there, who thankfully were not in harm’s way.  As we know, that is not the case for many.  Over the following weeks I took calls from people needing to put in death claims against life insurance policies, others asking about if their belongings that had been in their offices were covered, and others just thankful to be alive.  To this day, 14 years later, I avoid media footage regarding the attacks.  It is still too “near” for me.

September 11 has other significance as well.  It would have been my cousin, Danny’s birthday.  I remember visiting family in Florida for Christmas post 9/11 (I believe 2001) and him asking me if I’d been to Ground Zero.  I told him it wasn’t an amusement park, and no I hadn’t been.  A bit harsh, but he was always the bratty younger cousin who used to torment me.  I miss him.  He’s been gone 12 years now.

Life is short.  Nothing is promised to us: not the next moment, day, week, month…  Tell the people you love that you love every chance you get.  Don’t wait.

That was a lot heavier than I expected.  Again, my brain is just swirling and I’m just letting whatever comes be shared.  (Maybe I should consider alcohol. LOL)  Onto lighter topics…  My first stats’ test of the semester was this morning.  Not to jinx anything, but dammit I think I rocked it!  I marked two of them to go back after I’d finished the others because I didn’t want to waste precious time on them.  I remembered all the pertinent formulas, and terms!  The two I marked are the only ones I have a little bit apprehension about, but I’d rather two than ten.  I doubt I’ll know my grade by Monday, but I’ll be thrilled if I do.

Of course the moment you’ve all been waiting for: my night Night Ranger babble.  C’mon, y’all know you love it. 😉  I have been waiting anxiously all week for the information on the VIP meet-n-greet for tomorrow.  The original communication said the notification would be 1-2 days prior to the show.  At about noon today I got a little antsy.  Day before the show.  Still nothing.  So, I contacted the company in charge of coordinating it, and they responded very quickly (within 30 minutes).  Apparently the time had not been finalized.  I wish I had an emoticon to mimic the look on my face when I read that.  (Maybe picture “Kevin” from the Home Alone movie poster.)  Meanwhile Liz and I are kind of in limbo about when we need to head north to the venue – and it’s roughly a 3 hours drive.  Oh, and have I mentioned it’s an outdoors show – rain or shine – and there is a 90% chance of rain tomorrow?  Good times.  Hopefully no lighting rigs will threaten to come crashing down (been there, done that).  So, 10:30 tonight I got the email with the VIP info.  Better late than never.  Oh, and as I’m rambling, I’d just like to say I got a good giggle out of the following earlier today:

Our bus just blew a hose on the way to the gig, but as Jack says, “We got this” ~ pic courtesy of Eric Levy (via the band’s FB page)

Actually, I saw the above just before sitting down to get the purple in my hair refreshed.  Yes, girls and boys, I haz purple again!  Opted to keep the brown the current shade (hell, it’s damn close to my natural color) for now.  Next month all bets are off.  Erika is excited to go to a really dark brown (like almost black), and she said she’s going to start looking at different purples, too.  We’re dangerous in the salon.  Best part is that the store manager now remembers me based on my choice of color, and the salon manager (who loved the purple last time) was putting pink and purple into the ends of some very blonde hair for a client of hers while I was there.  I wish I could have seen how it looked when she was done.

I’ve been debating over what should be tonight’s musical selection.  Do I go back to “old school” NR, or something new?  Argh!  The decisions I have to make.  Perhaps I should just flip a coin (as I do so, what is the probability of the toss coming up heads?)…

p= .99

It has finally happened.  Stats has taken over my brain.  I’m not joking!  “p=.99”  Um, probability, baby.  I have reviewed and done practice problems every night this week.  Every.  Night.  I am ready (or as ready as I’m going to be).  Bring on the first test!  (In case you’re wondering just how much stats has taken over my life, take a look at the pic below – swiped from George Takei.  All I could think is, I’d like to see the data supporting those numbers/findings.  Eeek!!!)

Found via George Takei. Photo credit: Susan Messina.

This week has been crazy.  Due to Monday being a holiday I’ve been off a day the entire week.  Tuesday felt like Monday, etc.  School and studying has actually been a blessed release from the stress of the office.  I keep hoping things will calm down in the office, and that may actually happen sooner than later.  I had two secondary interviews with possible candidates for open positions this week.  One would be a great fit for our service team, and the other for the sales team.  The best part is the sales’ candidate already has his insurance license and has worked for Allstate.  This means I have to do far less training with him than I will for someone who is green to the business.  Told the boss today that we need that guy in here like next week.  He was going to get him an offer tomorrow, and he was going to send one to the service candidate as well.  *fingers crossed*

The excitement of the impending Night Ranger concert is building.  By Saturday morning I should be bouncing off walls.  Sorry, Liz.  I still haven’t received any information on the meet-n-greet yet, but chances are it will be in my inbox tomorrow.  At least I hope it will be.  Gotta remember to breathe.  Since today is Thursday, I’m going to do a throw back to 30 years ago – good ol’ 1985.  That was the year 7 Wishes was released, so tonight for #TBT I’m going to share something from that album.  🙂  (psst… couldn’t find the official video… damn you, youtube… so here’s an audio only from a more recent recording…)

Whaaaa?

Tonight’s ramble:  when did I become the gal who reviews her stats’ notes and does the suggested practice problems.  To me this equates being a responsible adult.  How can I adult if I’m still trying to be a college student?  LOL   In all seriousness, I am taking this semester more seriously than past ones.  I am determined.  I will do good.  Stats will not conquer me!

Now that I can let my brain decompress a bit, I’ve got some music playing.  If you were to ask “Night Ranger?” You would be correct.  How did I survive my teens and twenties without an iPod where I could load all of a band’s songs into one playlist?  I don’t care if you’re for or against Apple, you gotta admit this is a brilliant thing.  (My roommate may disagree after hearing NR so often, but this is what I gotta say to that:  😛 )  For the record Moonie likes the keyboard intro to “Sentimental Street” from 24 Strings and a Drummer.  She has good taste.  🙂

For tonight’s musical offering I’m sharing “Growing Up in California.”  NR in t-minus 3 days and 7 hours!

https://youtu.be/Y6CfEKIubSY

unstapledlisa

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