Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mischief Night -- Pearl Jam Concert at the Spectrum

 I've been waiting for this weekend for a while... since the summer, I think. Looking forward to my autumn of concerts... all leading up to this one -- the last concert at the Spectrum, starring Pearl Jam! And of course you know how addicted we all are to Pearl Jam.

Thor is still kinda shocked. He started listening to them in the 90's, when the boys were born. At the time, I was listening to mainly country. I think it was a maternal thing, actually. Pearl Jam seemed TOO LOUD. He kept telling me that I should listen, I'd like them.

He laughed about it tonight over dinner. His biggest hope at the time was that I would let him listen to them in the car once in a while... he never expected that the whole family would become so addicted.

Frankie is the main reason I gave them more of a chance. Thor took the boys to a concert when they were pretty little -- Pearl Jam played the Garden State Arts Center. They had good seats. Frankie really loved it. And when Frankie had Crohns, he found out that the lead guitar player, Mike, has Crohns too. And when Frankie was feeling really crappy, he listened to a lot of music to make himself feel better -- and especially in the hospital. We were the only room in the pediatric hospital that was blasting hard rock down the hallway. It may have been weird, but I was happy for anything that got Frankie's mind off his illness. And THEN, the leader singer Eddie actually CALLED Frankie, because he'd heard about how sick he was... WOW. Now, I'll love them forever. Eddie still does stuff like that. There was a girl at the concert last night that he called to the stage, who'd been in the hospital for months after a car accident and had missed the concert last time -- I watched her walk down to the stage -- she was crying, and I was too...

(Anyway. Can you tell that this is ANOTHER long post? Sorry. Skip it if you want, I won't mind. I won't even know! :D I'm writing it down for my own head, ya know? Like my diary entry... "Dear Diary, Today I saw the most WONDERFUL concert..." I just happen to put my diary up online for anonymous strangers, friends, and family to read. I'm nuts.)


Four nights, Pearl Jam is playing the Spectrum. Then, it's closing down for good. I went last night. Mischief night. And Thor and Frankie went again tonight, Halloween. Should I have gotten tickets for me for tonight? Maybe. Maybe not. Like another famous rock song says, "you can't always get what you want. But sometimes, you can get what you need."

So -- my concert review:

Pearl Jam, Night Three at the Spectrum, was ROCKIN'. (Of course, the rockin' part isn't really my favorite. I love the more mellow stuff. But there were a lot of sing-a-longs, too. At least four songs had me jumpin' up and down like I was on a trampoline, I was that excited.)

The four of us walked in, and found our seats. The boys were sitting in the back of the floor; we had seats more in the middle. Floor seats leave a lot to be desired. They are folding chairs, and REALLY skinny. People these days? Not so skinny. The row numbers were chalked onto the floor, and the seats actually had little blackboards under them with the seat number chalked in. Old school. But I was surprised at how small the venue seemed, especially compared to MSG, which is where we saw PJ last; and at the Spectrum, I was surprised... we were pretty damn close to the stage, considering!!! That was really exciting. I sat and waited while Thor went to get a few beers. :P

The Spectrum might have a fine reputation, and a great history, but it FEELS dank. When we walked in, it was damp and cold. The steps were wet, like they'd just been hosed down to wash the beer off from the night before. It is certainly time for Philly to upgrade.

I paid $7.25 for a glass of really crappy red wine, but it hit the spot. Bad Religion opened, with a few songs I knew, and they were really rockin; I think I would have liked them more if I knew more of their material.

As the time got closer to PJ, the crowd filled in and the seats got tighter. So floor seats, even if they are close to the stage? Can't see a thing. Especially at 5 foot tall...

But really? In spite of all those heads, I got the whole concert vibe I was looking for. Because it isn't really about getting next to the band. If it was, no one would bother buying those nosebleed seats. It's all about BEING there. Being a part of the whole thing.

And I was totally a part of the whole thing. It was rocking. They played some great songs. At some point, I could feel the room go from dank and cold, to hot and humid -- from the thousands of strangers pressed against each other, all facing in one direction, all jumping to one beat, all screaming at the same moment, singing back to the singer. One huge organism, with one central focus, one united thought. How many people have listened to these same songs, under trying situations, on nights when they had no hope, and found the answers that they needed to get through the next day?

It became a religion. Not really too bad for a religion, actually. And no, I'm actually not even exaggerating.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home and Light


A blog is a very narcissistic activity, because it's always all about me -- my life, through my eyes... I'd write more stories about other people but it doesn't always seem like a good idea. It's safest to write about myself. And everything I write about, everything that exists in this world, is filtered through my eyes and my experiences. (Of course, I write about the boys and about Thor, but still, it's obviously me back here talking.)

This is a photo of my house, taken tonight, and obviously touched up GENEROUSLY in Picasa. Because I didn't just want a picture the way it came out, I wanted it to be the way I see it. And I like the way this one feels.

The house is a lovely thing.

I have a lot of "irons in the fire." Don't I always? I've always got big ideas and not so much on the follow through. But lately, I've started painting again, with the thought that maybe someday I really will be an artist. And, I'm going to attempt Nanowrimo again. Nanowrimo, for those of you who don't already know, is a challenge. NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. You write a novel in a month. Good, bad, or ugly, it doesn't matter; the goal is words on paper, not quality. I can DO that. I actually DID do it, once; I have the certificate I earned for finishing it on the wall in my laundry room (Where I have all my certificates, and a few notes. I put them there to help motivate me to do some real work, once in a while.) Last year, I tried and failed. (Failed at both Nanowrimo AND at doing real work once in a while.) Oh well.

With my paintings, I'm trying to find light, especially the light I feel inside when I'm outside in the dark. Like the Pearl Jam song says, "See the path cut by the moon, for you to walk on..." So I've gotten a few started. I'll post details when I have some. But I'm trying to paint a certain feeling I get.

And with my novel -- for which I really don't have much of a plot yet -- I'm going to try to write some Young Adult Fiction (am I crazy?) about the feelings that all of us have, but as teens we don't seem to realize are universal.

I've always wondered about writing a novel. How can you write a story that isn't about yourself, or about someone you know? But I've read that if you make up the character, and the situation, and then you just go with what the CHARACTER wants to do, you'll have the story. So that's my plan. It's not going to be about anyone I know. I'm naming the main character Tyler... I think... that might change. And it's filtered through my eyes and my experiences, but it's not about me or anyone else, in particular. I'm going to TRY to make it about the universe. About the light inside of everyone, when they are outside and in the dark.

I might be brave and post some of it on here. Or I might not. The goal is writing it, not necessarily having it read.

Wish me luck!
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I'm truly happy that I have the house to myself tonight... I was really looking forward to it... but then, I got home, and realized I'm missing it...

Tonight's the 2nd Philly show. Frank, Nick, and my nephew Steve drove down to college, picked Frankie up, and are heading over to Philly to see the show. I could have gone. But how would I have made it to work in the morning?

I will get to a show... one... just not tonight.
And I was very happy to be home with the house to myself until I started surfing all over Youtube, watching the videos from last night...

On the positive side, this will be Stevie's first concert (I think) -- definitely his first Pearl Jam concert. And it's gonna be a nice male-bonding thing for the family. I didn't need to be there.

So I'm still watching Youtube.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Waking up in the Dark


I hate waking up in the dark
too early, but already running late
on a rainy tuesday

I really wanted to hide under my bed today

But I managed to fix my mood a bit
with two cups of tea
and an Excedrin for Migraines
And looking at some beautiful leaves and clouds
and then some nice conversation in work
and some music and a delicious lunch
and a little time to myself to make a list
of all the things that have to get done
that are hanging over my head

And thinking that tomorrow will be a better day

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The Golden Ticket

This is the week of the big PJ shows...
Frankie is totally obsessed. He's gonna be there every night. Tonight, with his friend Bri, who has NO idea what she's gotten herself into. Well, maybe she has. He's been updating his facebook every hour with Pearl Jam updates. I must admit, I'm a little worried about the two of them heading into Philly alone. He might be an adult, but not REALLY.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Why do so many people seem to WANT to be miserable?

Maybe it's all brain chemistry and hormones.

There is a pretty good case to be made for that, because there have been PMS days and weeks when I have been totally out of control of my emotions and my thoughts and I have been miserable, and I can't seem to stop the negative thoughts running through my head.

But lately, all that has settled down -- thank goodness -- and I'm back to being happy.

If it IS brain chemistry and hormones, can it be fixed?

I've heard the quote that "religion is the opiate of the masses." Maybe it was a better option. At least religion is a more positive opiate than, say, opium.

After experiencing an interesting day yesterday, I discovered something very interesting about myself.

When there is strife around me, I react with avoidance. (Well, at least this was true yesterday. Is it always true? Maybe.) I don't take notice. I pull the wool over my own eyes and change the subject. Especially when the strife doesn't really involve me anyway, when I'm just on the edge, watching someone else spiraling out of control. And especially when I know that there are no positive solutions or easy answers. And I stay in my own little happy world, with the sun shining and the wind blowing. And I forget it all as fast as I possibly can. 'Cause really, I'm pretty tired of that kind of thing.

But today, I am wondering, can people help themselves? Is the drama addictive? Is it beyond their control? Are they choosing to be miserable, or is it thrust upon them? They blame everyone else but themselves. They say, "I can't take this" or "It's not my fault" or "It's so HARD," or "You don't understand, it's never happened to you." I really hate that one, because... well, no, you can't really argue it, because it's true, but it's still just an excuse.

No one can solve anyone else's problems. Especially the big ones. I have to remember that. I don't even want to try anymore.

And I go back to dealing in my own little pollyana way.
Ignoring and avoiding whatever drama I can, I guess, and praying for what I can't ignore.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Changing of the Guard

It's the end of an era
And I'm gonna miss it
But ya know ya can't go back
time keeps marching forward,
and the boys keep growing,
and things change no matter what else happens.

OK, another long rambling post, I guess, because I have a lot of emotions to work out... sorry, if the rambling bothers you, check in again maybe tomorrow; for now, I plan on being WORDY. But tomorrow is Wednesday. For now, it is still only Tuesday.

Tuesday has always been boy scout night, ever since the boys were in 1st grade. And tonight is a big Tuesday for me...

Tonight marks the end of an era. Actually, maybe the end of two eras... and of course, as always, every ending means another beginning...

Tonight, we got word that one of the old Scoutmasters -- a guy everyone had a lot of respect for, (actually I've never even met him, he was way before my time --) has passed away.

It happens to also be the night that I officially retired my leadership position in the troop. I've been Advancement Chair for several years... how many? Since Nick was in I guess 5th grade? And now he's in 11th... yup, sounds about right.

I have so many great memories. Memories of when I first came in to the troop, with maybe 15 boys in tow?... Into a fully male dominated organization, and I was offered a VERY hesitant welcome... mainly from the Scoutmaster (who was burning out from trying to do it all) and from an Assistant Scoutmaster who was probably happy to be contrary to the opinions of the old guard. And who was actually only a responsible kid we'd met at Summer camp. And a wall of "old" guys who wanted to know, why was a MOM trying to get involved? I tried to be an Assistant Scoutmaster. I wanted to shake things up and make changes. And I faced the wall of guys - all very nice guys, mind you - and I was firmly told, "No, THIS is the way we do things." And I fought about it for a while, but after a while, and with a lot of help - especially from the Assistant Scoutmaster, who was really good about teaching ME the program at the same time he was teaching the kids... I finally learned. It's a team, it's a history, it's a tradition, it's not just my project... I learned to change what I could, and accept what I couldn't change, and learn to know the difference, as the prayer says.

More Moms became involved. I feel like I helped break a few barriers; it was a boys club, and became a parents club... and we had SO MUCH FUN over the years... The memories are some of the best in my life.... I remember setting up summer camp in the POURING RAIN... and the first time Alison used an official Boy Scout outhouse... and sitting around the campfire until 3 AM with Ellen and Joe and Ted and Erwin, and we LAUGHED AND LAUGHED until we were gasping for breath, and the boys slept ... Walking up mountains and along trails, alone, with children, with friends... I remember WORRYING like CRAZY from the beginning, about every detail imaginable... I remember watching the boys, geeky, awkward, children, finding friends, showing that they cared for each other, learning to be independent... learning to work, which I would never have thought -- yes, these spoiled children will pack and tote gear and set up and cook and wash dishes and NOT EVEN COMPLAIN (much), even though it's pouring rain, or freezing cold, or even though they WANT TO PLAY MANHUNT NOW!

I've watched them become Eagle Scouts. Not all of them, mind you. But a good number. I'm so proud of the Eagles that I feel I helped even just a little, find their wings: Nick W.... Matt... Chris... Frankie... Casey... Travis... Devin... Gerry... George... and now Mike... and Ryan... and to some extent, Andrew S... and maybe more? And I was honored to receive a mentoring pin from Nick and Matt and Casey, and of course a Mother pin from Frankie. That quote about "To have succeeded..." - I can measure my biggest true success in my life specifically from the small part I had in helping every one these boys, even the ones who never accomplished Eagle, but are still growing up to be great guys.

So tonight, I handed over my papers and information... and I let go.

And I watched the next guard taking over, railing at the system and the chaos that they've been given, their energy and will to change everything. I want to stop them and make them understand -- you CAN't change everything!!! It's this way for a reason!!! There is a history here, and it's this way for a reason!!!

And I can see the echo of the old guard, all the "old" guys I wrested my position from, saying the same things to me... and I see they won't listen. And I hope they'll learn, like I did, although my teacher has gone as well.

And I really miss those old days. I could actually cry.

But, everything does end, and everything changes... it's the way it's supposed to be. And everyone needs to be able to let go. And it's time for the next stage in my life to come forward. And yeah, I'm still a part of scouting -- a tiny part of this group for a while longer, and a bigger part of the Venturing group, which is the right program for Nicky right now... and I've got my own personal projects that I'm going to work on (as soon as I've made the room in my life!) I know it's right and good and appropriate for the end to be here...

... but I really miss you guys...

I just can't help it.

More Avetts. I'm totally engrossed in them. I sit on youtube and watch videos for hours at a time. !!!!
This was the ending of a GREAT CONCERT... No one wanted it to end...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Friendship (again)

Today, I've been thinking a lot about friendship...
and maybe worrying, to tell the full story...

I usually wonder about the meaning of life. Sometimes, I wonder about the meaning of friendship. ... so many questions, so many aspects to consider... meditating on the truth, what is real, how to convey the lessons I want to convey...

... and what do you think? I had a day full of unexpected friendship and it's been wonderful! The rain poured down, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more, my cup overflowed with answers to my questions and my concerns!

Work friends that are true friends, friendships with family,
scout friends being helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty and the rest... :)
old friends found,
and new friends extending a hand,
extreme happiness and sadness, concern and worry and calm peacefulness all in one light being focused...

it's been lovely all around......and I wish you peace and beauty, and joy and truth, and friendship and aloneness as you need...

Thanks, everyone! ...and Thank you, Universe!


What a concert!
We saw Avetts at Terminal 5 in NYC tonight, and it was just as great as I hoped it would be! They are amazing... I can't understand why EVERYONE isn't addicted to these guys.

First we had a great meal in the city, including a bottle of nice wine and dessert, and then we headed over to the venue. We'd heard bad things about the place, so we got there early to try to stake out a good spot. They let people in early if you wanted to go up to the rooftop bar, which of course we did, and so we hung out up there for a while and had a few drinks; then, when the doors officially opened, we found a place in the second level on the rail behind the sound guys. It was the perfect sound AND line of vision.

The opening act, Jessica Lee Mayfield, was decent, although we didn't really know anything she did. But I couldn't wait for the Avetts.

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They came out strong and played a lot of their new songs... they played I and Love and You, January Wedding, Laundry Room... and The Perfect Space, another great song, which really rocked! They also played a few older songs -- some I didn't recognize, towards the end, but they also played Bella Donna and Salina, which I love.

I can't wait to surf Youtube tomorrow and find some of the concert posted. I tried to videotape, but it really didn't work out that well, and I couldn't send it to my email. Maybe Nick can figure it out tomorrow; I've gotta try to download it off the phone.

UPDATE: I didn't take this one, but it's the best video I've found so far:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Il Melograno
Dinner in hell's kitchen NYC at a place called Il Melograno on 10th. Mmm!

Tonight -- Avett Bros at Terminal 5 in NYC!!!

I'm so excited, I can't wait!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursdays are rough.

I'm sitting here at the computer and it's 6:26 AM, and I'm WAY toooo tired from a late night last night, which I can't seem to prevent because I've got too much to do, to make it to bed on time...
And I'm eating a strawberry pop tart, which is the "Breakfast of Champions" -- but which I'm really disgusted by -- but I eat it anyway, because I can just sit down and shove it in my mouth...

It's getting colder out and the nights are getting longer, and the mornings are getting later, although the weather has been rather pretty. But it makes me want to stay in bed longer.

My best hope for tonight? LOTS OF RAIN. Because then Hockey will be cancelled.

Nick's doing great in Hockey. And it's actually been a lot of fun to watch. But tonight, I'll be sittin' there by myself again because Thor has to work on a big project.

Although I don't actually mind sitting there by myself.

But it does mean that I HAVE to go, because Thor won't be able to take Nick.

And what I REALLY want to do is go to sleep.

Anyway, here's a picture of Nick at Hockey, sometime previously...

And now? I've gotta go get dressed, because I'm gonna be late, because I'm tired and I don't wanna move.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sign of the Times

I was having a very pleasant drive on Sunday, running a few errands around my town. I was rather disturbed when I saw this....


... well, that isn't the ACTUAL sign I saw; I didn't take the photo myself. But I did see a guy with a "Will work for food" sign, standing in a parking lot, not far from my own neighborhood. And I drove past, on the highway, doing 55, heading towards the store for some food shopping.

(This photo I got from Google Images. I googled "will work for food" and plenty of images came up, most of them jokes. This one looked legit, which is why I used it. I got it from the website "Business As Mission", in case you are interested.)

I always tend to think that those kinds of signs, and the people they represent, are kept isolated in the City. I see tons of them in NYC. My hometown is quite city-like by many people's standards, but to me, it's my neighborhood and NOT the city. To me, it's the middle class suburbs. And seeing a sign like that was very disturbing to my sense of order in the universe.

When I was little, I lived for Gram's stories. She always had great ones. One group of stories was about the Great Depression. She was quite happy through the depression. Her family had a roof over their heads and food to eat. In fact, her family often helped people who didn't have anything. They had a huge house, and kept boarders. Sometimes the people who stayed with them came in cold and hungry and broke. Gram's mother took them in and fed them and kept them. She had many great stories about these kinds of situations. I don't remember any negative stories. I don't remember any of the stories where the guy turned out to be a bad guy, and stole from them, or anything like that. (Well, one or two stories about drunken brawls, but it seems that everything all worked out right in the end, and half the time it was one of her brothers that were involved anyway!)

Of course, that was a different time and place. Well, it wasn't actually a different place; it was rather near here. But it was light years different from the world we live in now.

Why didn't offer that guy a job? I was having a big dinner, I could have fed him too, after he'd weeded the backyard - a job that seriously needs to be done! Why didn't I pick up groceries and drop them off for him? Because I'm such a suspicious person, I tend to believe that he probably didn't really want food. Or to work. But I didn't stop and ask him, did I? No. And there are plenty of people out of work right now. Plenty of people that need help. So, really, he COULD have been legit.

I hope I am never in the position where I am hungry and legitimately need to stand outside with a sign. No one would believe me, and they would probably assume I was a drunk.

And if YOU are ever in the position of being that desperate, please call me and let me know. I would rather not let anyone starve, if I can help it.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Video of the Zipline!

I finally got the zipline "video" done. It isn't perfect... and it isn't actually a video, it's actually a picture slide show. The quality is rather ~eh~. But, I still like the way it came out. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


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Last week, we had a lot of fun. It was exhausting, too. And to tell the truth, I still have a lot of camping gear all over the house. And laundry. And bills. Stuff to do. From LAST weekend.

Last weekend, when I looked at the calendar, I saw that this is the only free weekend we have this month.

So last weekend, I said to Thor, "MAKE SURE we don't make plans. We are going to sit around the house, clean, and not spend money. We do NOTHING, even if I rreaaallllly want to." And Thor agreed.

That was last weekend.

This week, about Thursday, one of the teachers I work with asked me if I had seen the Bruce concert. "No," I replied. "Tickets are too much, and we have a few other concerts this fall already."

"You should go," he responded. "Everyone going to that concert bought more tickets than they know what to do with. It's at the stadium, and the field is General Admission. If you go stand in the parking lot, you can find someone who wants to get rid of their extra tickets, and is willing to let them go for cheap."

So, I thought about it. I had never seen a Bruce concert. I LOVED Bruce as a teenager. I'm from JOISEY, for 'chrissakes'. Seeing Bruce, with the E-Street Band, at Giants Stadium? And if I don't go now, when will I ever get there? On the other hand, the plan was to stay home, clean, and save money. And I've never gone to a concert that I don't have tickets for. So I didn't really think much more about it.

Yesterday, another teacher mentioned she had tickets for a food, wine, & beer tasting. All the restaurants in town demonstrate their specialties. I thought about going. But the cost, at $30.00 each, seemed high. I'm supposed to stay home and save money. Part of me really wanted to go. I almost bought tickets... but I didn't have cash on hand anyway.

And I thought, if I'm willing to consider spending that kind of money on food, why shouldn't I spend it on BRUCE instead? I eat all the time. How often do I get a chance to see BRUCE?

Surprisingly, it didn't take much to convince Thor. He didn't try AT ALL to remind me of what we discussed last week.

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So we drove up to Giants Stadium last night. Instead of a fancy food tasting, we went through Taco Bell and wolfed down a soft taco. We knew that we might not get tickets; but we decided that even if we didn't, the parking lot tail gate party would be a fun night out. We were quite surprised to find that the parking lot cost $25.00 to enter! People were POURING in to the lot, at $25.00 per car.

I stood around for a while waiting for Thor, and watched the guys work the crowd. Jersey is a gritty place. Sure, there are a lot of nice people. There are a lot of civil service guys, construction guys, family guys. Jersey girls of every age, some stylish, some 'plain', and some very brassy broads.... some really lovely people, some quite loud and abrasive. There are a lot of people with hearts of gold, who will doing anything for you if you are their friend... but if they don't see you as one of 'their' people... FUH GET ABOUT IT! They will not budge an inch, and if you push them, or if they just THINK you are pushing them, they will knock you OUT. And there are a LOT of people. People everywhere.

The three guys I was watching working the crowd were doing a booming business buying and selling tickets. Thor had gone to the portajohn, and was waiting in line. "Got two tickets," the one guy yelled. "Who needs tickets?"

I walked up to him and said, "How much?"

"Face value," the guy said.

"I don't know, my husband is over there. I gotta ask him."

"Ya gotta get 'em fast before they're gone."

"I don't know, that seems like a lot. I gotta ask him." (We had already discussed this -- we didn't want to see the concert if we had to pay face value -- $110 each. Our goal was $20 each. Our upper limit was $40 each. On the other hand, I was afraid they'd be gone before I got there.)

So I walked over to the portajohn line and asked... "Nah, way too much," he said.

I went back to 'da guy'. "Too much. He doesn't wanna spend that."

Da guy wit da tickets said to me, with heaping scorn and derision, "No way. Whaddya TINK yer gonna get dese tickets for?" as he walked away.

So I kinda gave up. I was fine with just hanging in the parking lot anyway. But Thor went out on the search.

The first time he came back, he had no tickets. But the second time he came back, he'd gotten two general admission tickets for $40 each - face value, $110 each. "I'm kinda kickin' myself," he said. "I coulda done better."

We went right in, and got a great spot. General admission is all one level, and I'm only 5 feet tall. I hate to be surrounded by sweaty, drunk guys that are 6 foot tall. So we scoped out a spot on the rail next to the sound booth. Being on the rail is good, so I've got a little air; And it was a PERFECT view.

Turns out, this is the LAST concert ever being held at the old Giants Stadium. (And later in the month, we'll be seeing the last few concerts at the Philly Spectrum; Pearl Jam is closing THAT venue.) And Bruce was in perfect form, rocking out for about 3 1/2 hours... He opened up with Wrecking Ball, and later he played "Last Time" by the Stones, acknowledging the end of the old stadium. It was very encouraging to see a bunch of "old" people - and by that I mean people my age - still rocking that hard. Although I did wonder at one point if the drummer, Max, was gonna have a heart attack. And Bruce looks GOOOOOD. Maybe not a teenager anymore, but who is? And yeah... reallllly good. Everyone was singing along like crazy, although I must admit that since I don't listen to Bruce like I used to when I was a kid, I don't really remember all the words like I do with the Avetts and with Pearl Jam. Plenty of dancin' in the dark, though, and singing and screaming, and even fireworks....

It was high energy all night long, and he barely took a break. He closed the show with Jersey Girl. It was earlier than anyone expected, but in fact, he hadn't had a break between songs for most of the night. And when the lights came up, and the recorded music came on, everyone seemed really surprised and disappointed.

But the crew had obviously been watching the weather channel. Because we hadn't been out of the stadium -- (open air stadium, no roof) - for much more than a minute, before the sky opened up, and the rain started to fall. And we were on our way home, sitting in traffic in the middle of the night on the New Jersey Turnpike.
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Tonight was the last show in Giants Stadium... and yup, we got in. And it was good. Very good.... REALLY good.
Maybe not as good as the Avett Brothers or Pearl Jam. (We'll have to see.)

More tomorrow. It's pretty late.
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Friday, October 09, 2009



Another picture from this weekend... this is Bashbish Falls
I don't have anything to say, but I felt like posting anyhow, so here ya are

It's getting to feel like fall a bit now, around the edges. There are still plenty of green leaves here at my house, but a lot of things are drying up and blowing away.

The weeks fly by but even so, I can't wait for the weekends... This weekend should be a nice one, very relaxing, the only weekend this month that isn't booked solid with things to do. Of course I'm looking forward to all those activities, too... but right now, the best idea I can think of is to sit on the couch with a cuppa tea and a book and an afghan and read and listen to music. And play on the computer with my photos, and maybe cook an apple pie and some stew or something for dinner.

Only a few more hours of work to get through and then my time is my own again! What a lovely thought. Work is good, and I'm glad to be there, but I'm so happy to be home too...
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Thursday, October 08, 2009

AVETTS VIDEO....... yeah, I know.....

... I know... you think to yourself, "so what???"....
but SERIOUSLY.... These guys are AMAZING....

.... and I can't wait to see them on October 17th!!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Scary Story about Catamount Adventure Park, NY

I am still stressed about this, so that's another reason I haven't written it all down yet. And then, I wrote this whole thing down, but wondered if James would mind that I posted it. So I checked with him first, and he said go ahead. So here ya go. The scary story.

(With all this build up, y'all will probably think it isn't scary at all. But it's scary to me, and to James too. In fact, my heart still pounds thinking about it.)


When you do high adventure kinds of activities, there is always an element of risk. In fact, the FEELING of riskiness has been around ever since the kids were little and I took them camping and stressed out over whether they would attract wildlife with food in their tent or overheat because they didn't drink enough water. And yet, as they are getting older, and the activities are getting more risky.... my stress over possible problems is getting less pronounced. I take a lot more in stride now than I did when they were little.

Planning a zip line trip, I felt comfortable with the activity. I looked at the info from the place, and they said that they were certified and safety inspected; they usually operate as a ski resort. It isn't a "fly by night" organization. We had liability waivers to sign. We've signed similar waivers for things like skiing, or horseback riding. There is a risk, but how bad of a risk? We trust the people who are running this organization to create a safe environment, in spite of the fact that we are signing an acknowledgement that "accidents happen."

We had a group of teenagers to be responsible for. Their parents had either signed the waiver before we left, or they had come with us. But the parents have faith in US, that we feel it's a safe activity. They sign, but I'm sure they feel that "if it was dangerous, you wouldn't do it."

And yeah.... of the group of 13 or 14 people we were with who went on the zip lines, we had 12 or 13 who were completely fine, had a great time, challenged themselves, managed their fears, learned something about themselves and their abilities. And even James, who had the "problem," kept going afterwards; he didn't quit, he did a few more courses, and he said it was still a worthwhile activity and he was glad he was there. He had fun, he said. (Was he just saying that to make me feel better?)

So. The "scare". In brief.

James is a big guy. The regular harness didn't fit correctly. The staff acknowledged this, and said that he should wear the "other" safety harness. It was a bigger harness, a more safe harness, not just around his hips but also around his upper body. But they were joking around as they helped him put it on that they really didn't use it often. I definitely got the feeling that they didn't know how it worked, especially in retrospect.

James "zipped" through the adventure park obstacle course for a while with no issues.

But then he got to the trapeze section.

Two safety lines get attached to a carabiner at each point, one at a time, at each element of the course. Safety is certainly an issue, but it's up to you to be sure that you clip yourself in like you are supposed to. That seems like the most dangerous issue. And there is no one watching to make sure that you clip yourself in. But that wasn't even the problem.

So if you slip off the trapeze, which James did, your safety lines catch you. And James' safety lines did catch him. So that part was OK.

He slid, on his safety lines, to the end of the "trapeze" line, where he would get on to the platform, except he couldn't get up on it. He was too low. And I don't know exactly what happened. But they started to tow him back to the starting platform. I was snapping pictures from the ground, with his dad, not thinking anything of it. In fact, I didn't even realize he'd slipped off the trapeze until later, when I looked back at the photos.

(my heart is pounding again, just writing this and thinking about it.)

And I heard James say, "Hey, my leg strap just snapped."

I thought to myself, "Well, this is a good time to go get someone from the Staff. Probably no big deal, I'm probably over reacting like usual. He'll get here and James will be on the platform already, and everyone will laugh at me. But that's fine." And I started yelling, "EXCUSE ME! STAFF! WE NEED HELP OVER HERE!" But no one was listening, and I wasn't running or really freaking out, because like I said, I thought I was over-reacting.

I finally get someone to pay attention to me, and the guy walked over with a drill. I guess they get a lot of people freaking out when the tree platforms loosen up. And at some point, I hear someone say, "The other leg strap snapped."

I yell at staff guy -- "It isn't the platform, it's his harness!!!" And at the same time, I see the staff guy register what happened in his mind.

We look at James, and he's holding on to the platform, hanging on by his hands, and attached by shoulder buckles to the safety lines. But the shoulder harness is NOT the harness that is supposed to be holding you up there; the leg parts are. And both sections of harness around his legs have come undone and are dangling.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law Steve is trying to help James get up onto the platform, but is having no luck at all.

The employee dropped the drill he had grabbed and ran to the end of a zip line, took a little motor out of his pack. He zipped up the line in a flash. At that point, I think my eyes glazed over, because I don't even know what they did, but they finally got him up on the platform and hooked his harness back up -- the way it was supposed to be -- and let him sit and get his breath back.

Me, too. I had to sit and get my breath back.

I was so glad to get that kid down from the tree in one piece!

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And yes, after he got down, and the employee (and his dad) checked out his safety harness, he got back up there and zipped around a little while longer. It seemed that what must have happened was that the buckles must have been threaded wrong, which allowed them to come undone. They have to be done a certain way.

James was most certainly the bravest kid up there this weekend. Because after all, the other kids didn't even see what happened. They felt brave just being up there in the trees and on the tightropes. James, though, actually FELL. And his equipment malfunctioned. And he obviously didn't get hurt -- and he also didn't give up.

I confronted my own fear, as you see, because my own fear is being responsible for these kids while they are being kids. I do believe they need to take risks, and grow, and be brave. I even believe that they need to get hurt once in a while -- hopefully only scrapes and bruises, though! C'mon!

I was less than thrilled with the safety of the Catamount Adventure Park. And they didn't make any effort to make me feel better about it. After the whole James incident, James' Dad and I stood around and watched while kids forgot to hook themselves in, and while little kids were doing courses all by themselves with no adult supervision.

So, yeah. It was a lot of fun. It was almost really bad, but everything worked out OK.

But for the future, remember this:

When someone asks you to sign a safety liability waiver,

Assume that it's because there IS DANGER.

(James, I'm glad you are OK.)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

More about the zip trip later.

I just wrote a huge story, about every single detail about what else happened. But then I thought, I really should check with the guy involved, before I put the whole story on the web. He might not really WANT to be on the blog. So, I'm stalling a little longer, sorry.

Anyway, here's another great picture. And besides this picture, and the whole long scary story, I've also got about a million photos for a video... which is how I'll be spending MY weekend this week!

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Lessons to be Learned


There were a lot of lessons to be learned at the zipline adventure park. The posts below are only some of them. But that's not the whole story.

The story was scarier than that, for me.

I'll tell ya more later tonight; I've gotta get to a Scout Meeting.... talk to ya later!
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Teamwork, Trust, and Responsibility


Working with other people, especially in a situation full of fear, you need to trust them. And they need to trust you. Which means that each one of the team needs to understand their responsibility -- and fulfill it.

Do you trust them?
Do you trust yourself?
Do you trust your gear?
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Do you depend on others too much, or do you depend only on yourself... too much? It's gotta be a balance, I think. You need to take your own path, and take care of yourself. You can't expect other people to know what you need as well as you do. But you also have to be able to work together, express your needs, and accept help, graciously, when it is appropriate. Finding the right balance will only make you stronger, in the long run.
What is that right balance? I don't have any idea.
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Do you have the strength to finish what you start? Sometimes, once you've made the leap, you have no choice but to go forward. Will you always know that you can handle it? Or sometimes, do you find out when you are part of the way through, past the point of no return, that you over-estimated your abilities? But then, will you also discover, that as hard as it is, you can actually accomplish your goal -- you can rise to meet any challenge, no matter how difficult and impossible?
Is that a good reason to make a leap like that -- a leap beyond your limits?
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What are you afraid of?

Are you afraid of heights? I am.

I didn't go up there.
But I still have fears of my own to confront from the ground.
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Monday, October 05, 2009


It's all about risk and liability and facing your fears.

I've heard that if you have a fear of something, it's good to face that fear head on, and confront what you are afraid of, and prove to yourself that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

On the other hand, what about the fact that fear serves a purpose? It helps keep the species going, it keeps us safe?

Anyway, another day, another dollar. I had too much to do today to really post what I wanted to. (see following post, done at Nick's hockey game, as case in point.) And now, I'm tired, and I've gotta go to bed, so you'll have to wait another day for the story of the zip line weekend. Sorry. But at least I got (some) of the camping gear away...

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Shut out 3 - O, nicks team wins
Nick's in the game again! He gets alot of playing time!
Metal bleachers stay cold no matter how long you sit in one spot
3 - O with 4 minutes to go in the 2nd period
Score! 2 - O in the second period
I need tea
End of the first period 1 to nothing, nick's team is leading
See the path cut by the moon .... For you to walk on
Nick.s team scored!
I am sitting at the hockey game

Tea Bag Tag Wisdom

I have a lot to write about, re. the weekend trip we just took. In fact, I'm backed up-- I've got a lottttt to say and haven't started saying any of it yet.... and right now it's break time and I only have a few minutes left.

So I'm starting on Thursday, and I'll work forward from there.

On Thursday, I had a nice cup of an expensive brand of tea. This tea is expensive because it is very tasty AND because it gives you words of wisdom on the tea bag tag. Wisdom does not come cheap.

My tea bag tag said, "To those who feel, life is a tragedy. To those who think, life is a comedy."

And I really liked that, and it seems very wise and very true.

Personally, I am glad I am the type who likes to think rather than the type who likes to feel, because I would rather laugh than cry.

OK, I'll write more later today... See ya then....

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mom - this one's for you -


I can't post more yet, but I know you are waiting...
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