Tag Archives: rock

Billy F’n Joel

I am home, back with the wife and kids.  It was a long two months away, but everything is back to normal(ish).  We have done some family things like buy stuff from Target, eat some food, go to the botanical gardens and watch movies since I’ve been back.  There were a couple posts I published using my phone, but decided to wait until I was back at the computer before publishing the rest.  Over the next few weeks, or months, I’ll be cranking them out to catch up (personal goal).  This little ditty was from about a month in, a couple weekends after my wife came to visit and the world almost ended (previous post). So grab a whiskey, beer or juice box (for you underage types) and enjoy.

I’ve been in my hotel room for a month now. I keep it low key mostly, mainly gym and laundry (no tanning salons within walking distance). I’ll go to the driving range a few times a week to break up the monotony. This past weekend I decided to adventure to Chicago.  I had scheduled an appointment with my stylist at Trunk club for Friday afternoon. I stopped at the farmers market and brewery in Lake bluff, then hopped on the train into the city. Once the train arrived at Ogilvie, I hoofed it to Trunk Club. It had been a couple years since I had visited.

Trunk Club is a service I began using back when I got divorced.  I wanted to upgrade from jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops. Basically, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try something new (tends to be the M.O. of most newly single individuals).  My stylist Brittni has done a great job since I became her client, and it will be a bummer not to be able to continue on with it while in Japan.  Anyway, back to adventure time.

After meeting the front desk associate, he directed me to the bar where I received a complimentary whiskey-ginger. IMG_2855A couple minutes later, Brittni came by. We exchanged pleasantries and made our way to one of the fitting areas (I guess that it what you call them?). I was in the market for some golf shirts and maybe a nice button up. She came back with a cart full of clothes to try on.  After a bit, I narrowed it down to a couple golf shirts (snagged one at a discount) and a sweet, comfortable Vineyard Vines Crosby shirt (I have come to appreciate nice clothing and it lasts a while to boot).  I paid the man and was on way.  It had been a pleasant stop-in at the club.  As I was leaving, my stomach began to make some noise. I decided it was calling for pizza and made my way to the nearest pizza joint, called Pizzeria Ora. I am a huge fan of pizza, but this place wasn’t my jam. I had a small deep dish and it didn’t meet my expectations.

By this point, I had already alerted my cousin I was in the city. She asked if I had any plans and if she could get another ticket, would like to go see Billy Joel. I responded with a resounding “Hell yeah!” (obviously she did get another ticket, otherwise I would just be wasting your time) Regardless if I had gone or not, I still wanted to drop my bag off before any further adventuring happened. I caught an Uber and headed to her house (Uber should pay me for referencing them so much, ha). As soon as I arrived, I ditched my bag and hopped in another Uber with my cousin’s husband (she followed us a few minutes later) and headed to dinner prior to the show (looks like another ticket was scored, high five!).

We arrived at Fahlstroms Fish Market and met one of his friends. Since I had just eaten a less than delicious pizza, I tried the tuna tar-tar, and it hit the spot. After my cousin arrived, we had a couple drinks, exchanged some witty banter and rolled out. Did I mention this concert was at Wrigley field? We walked from the restaurant to Wrigley. It was a madhouse, I had to beat up a family of four just to make it to my destination! We arrived at the outfield entrance gate. After a quick security check and a couple left turns, we walked out onto the field.  While the field was covered with an interlocking plastic floor, it was still an amazing sight and feeling to be standing out there.  The stage was erected in left-center field and our seats were 7 rows back.

The crowd went nuts when the lights went dark. The cheers were deafening. The piano began to ring out a sweet intro. A single light appeared on the piano. It. Was. Him.

The intro finished and he welcomed to the crowd.  He was blown away that he still sells out his concerts since he hasn’t produced anything new since 1992. The fans were a mix of young and old, but mostly older.  There was a younger cat a few seats down who could not contain his excitement. He was sweating by the second song from partying so hard.  Billy Joel wrapped his main set. The crowd of course called for an encore, the stadium lit up with cell phone lights. It was a neat sight from where I was sitting.  IMG_2864Moments later, the crowd was once again jamming out to more of Billy’s sweet music (Check out the clips below).  He played some more hits and we bounced before the main mob left.  After some zig-zagging and skirmishes we arrived at the car. The consensus was we needed a snack. We went to the Wiener Circle, famous for charde-dogs. The ladies who ran the joint were rude, but you could dish it right back.  Soon we were stuffing our faces with fully loaded Chicago dogs. There was some small talk and we headed back to the house.  I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. 

The wrap up for this post has been a struggle. My notes are all over the place and ramble on.  I was in full fly by the seat of my pants mode. It’s been my usual since being here up at Great Lakes for school.  It’s not every day you get to attend a Billy Joel concert at Wrigley Field. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I jumped on board.  It was a simple decision, because I was the only person I had to worry about at that moment.  Now, you’re probably thinking, is this guy going to break-down a fun time, over-analyzing the circumstances, and math and stuff? Yes. Yes, I am. If my circumstances had been different, I may not have jumped at the opportunity. Whenever situations like this arise, I like to ask myself “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Or as my Theresa (my cousin) and I discussed as she gave me a ride back to my hotel, how does this situation nourish one in an emotional or mental way (her way is more hippie)? Just because the opportunity is there, doesn’t mean you have to take it.  You could be acting of pure emotion with zero logic, and that could lead to disaster. But then again, it could be the best decision ever (debatable) and give you a great story.  So, jump at the opportunity. Or don’t. You won’t know until you decide.

If you want to check out Intentional Nourishment, I recommend it.  I have been a repeat customer for the past couple of years and have learned a lot about myself when I take a dive into her programs.  Hell, it was after I did the first cleanse through Intentional Nourishment that I bought the domain name shortsandsweatbands.com and started me on this path I am on today. (Here is the link to a post about it: www.intentionalnourishment.com )

Also, if you feel the need to step up your wardrobe and don’t know where to start, check out Trunk Club. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t like it. If you use this link, you’ll get a $50 credit (I get one too, thanks!).

https://www.trunkclub.com/my/invite/J7WQVJ

Do work, be rad

Mustache

An adventure, the devil, and great-grandma

This trip snuck up on us.  We had planned it a couple months out, and next thing you know it was here.  I almost wanted to break this story into two parts, but then I stopped being a little girl and finished it.  I become impatient when I write sometimes, especially when my message or story in my head gets ahead of my notes.  I know how I want it to end, and sometimes rush to get there.  I am listening to Childish Gambino (Camp), drinking a Cattywompus (it’s a fancy IPA by Devils Backbone), and Hot Rod is in his high chair eating some cheerios next to me.  Kash was a party pooper (she felt a little under the weather this evening) and fell asleep watching Zootopia on the couch.

I began finalizing this on Memorial Day.  I have found the best way for me to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, is to no let their death be in vain. Celebrate them, raise a glass, and continue to live your life. Enjoy the freedoms you have, but never forget those men and women who have died defending those freedoms.

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James River off of the Monitor-Merrimack Bridge Tunnel

It was 430 AM on Saturday morning.  The sandwich maker and I rolled out of bed and drug our ass’s downstairs to get ready for our mini road trip. I immediately went for a quick shot of strike force and took a shower. We quickly loaded up the jeep (we forgot the watermelon) and started on our short journey to Krissi’s great-grandmothers house. The kids had spent the night with Maw-Maw, and rode with her for the duration of our trip.  For the record, Krissi’s mother is a lunatic and in denial. And no, we are not talking about the river in Egypt. But, we love her anyway. She is a great Maw-Maw and is always down to take the kids off our hands. The kiddos love here and Gran-daddy (probably because of the brownies the eat over there, ha). We wouldn’t trade them for the world. It gave Krissi and I some adventure time without the kiddos.  The drive up was relatively quiet, minus some a-hole driving dangerously around some 18-wheelers.  We stopped for gas in Crozet, VA and had a quick bite at Legacy Markets. This ended up being the best gas station ever. Made to order breakfast, walk in beer cooler, and an upstairs patio to enjoy the view.  The breakfast burrito I had was delicious and so was the coffee (if you are ever traveling on 64 near there, check it out).  We hopped back onto the highway and continued on towards Natural Bridge State Park (we were stopping the before going to grandma’s).  We met up with Maw-Maw at the Pink Cadillac Diner for some more breakfast.  Another neat joint.  It was very 50’s-esque and the building was, wait for it…… pink. There was a small wait, enough to make Hot Rod antsy and fussy.  He had been satisfied through the trip thus far, but he was itching to move around.  He attempted to eat most everything he could get his hands on, but soon discovered how some things aren’t that tasty.  Once we sat down, it took both Krissi and I to keep Hot Rod from tearing down the building.  Kash was focused on eating her food and “brought her manners,” as she says. Lincoln figured out he could stand in the restaurant high chair (it didn’t have straps) and would attempt to grab anything but his food. He somehow was able to snatch a piece of toast off Krissi’s plate (he really just caught a moment when Krissi and I weren’t watching him).  Once he had that toast, he was content. He propped his foot up and chowed down.  We wrapped up breakfast and finished our trek to the natural bridge.

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The bridge isn’t bigger than her personality

The Natural Bridge was amazing.  Words and pictures will not be able to capture it’s size and glory.  As you walked underneath, it would rain on you and there were plenty of smalls streams along the trails.  We were able to borrow a toddler carrier for Lincoln and we used the Boba for Kash.  The toddler carrier was perfect.  It was easy to get him comfortable and simple to adjust for comfort. It was rad listening to Lincoln baby talk his way throughout the hike.  I would occasionally use my phone to see how he was doing (I later discovered a small mirror attached to it, after the fact) and record his monologues. He would play with my hat and want to touch the surrounding nature.  The layout of the trail followed Cedar Creek, a tributary of the James River.  Along the trail was a living history camp set up.  It was of the Monacan Indians, and it had a few hut’s, frontiersman trading post and live cooking demonstrations.  One lady was building a new hut, tying together the timber used to build the bones of it. We continued on along the trail to a creek crossing. I took advantage of a sweet bench by the bank to put Hot Rod down for a few minutes. IMG_0321Kash saw a bunch of snakes and of course wanted to pick them up.  They weren’t deadly and seemed used to the traffic, they didn’t flinch at all when you got close to them.  The trail doubled back from that point, continuing along a limestone wall on one side and the creek on the other.  It was a fairly straight shot from there until the end.  I gave Lincoln the opportunity to touch the rocks, and of course he tried to eat them.  Once we made it to the end (or turn around point), we sat down and took some obligatory family pictures where the kids weren’t looking and I have the same smile in all of them.  Both kids were tired at this point. Kash didn’t know if she wanted to ride in the Boba or walk and Lincoln was upset when he couldn’t touch anything.  As we headed back, Lincoln fell asleep.  Kash pressed on, enjoying the ride on Krissi’s back.  IMG_0362We passed by all the attractions we had seen before, but once again slowed down and took in the sight of the bridge.  It still hadn’t lost any amazement. The real kicker in the trail is climb up the stairs you walked down in the beginning. And it’s a steep climb. My legs were burning at the end.  We loaded back up in the vehicles and made our way to grandmas’.

We didn’t initially realize it, but we had driven past her (grandma’s) house and hour before we arrived at the Natural Bridge.  So, on our way there, Krissi and I broke off to go check out Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company.

Devil’s Backbone makes one of my favorite beers, the Vienna Lager. It’s a go-to beer for me.  Their other brews are delicious, but not as common as the lager.  We pulled into the parking lot, and immediately became excited to see where the magic happens.  The crowd was small, as they had just opened. The tasting room was smaller than expected, but the assortment of beers was great (as it should have been).  We went super-touristy and grabbed a flight (for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a sample of X number of beers to see which ones you like).  There were fancy beers and down to earth beers, all were delicious. At the brewery is where I began to jot down my notes for this post. Once we were finished, we grabbed a case of beer (for $20, I might add) and set out for our destination.  We finally arrived at g-ma’s house.

We took a load off and Krissi’s brother gave me a tour of the place. There is a lot of history in that house. From the foundation (it was literally built on a rock) to the pictures of relatives from the late 1800’s.

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The rock

We checked out the shed’s and garages and found some neat (in my opinion) stuff. There were some old woodworking hand tools, an early model chainsaw, and a dead snake.  Grandma showed me her porcelain doll collection and some of the tools needed to make them from scratch. Later on, in the evening, Krissi and I went out to dinner in Harrisonburg.
One of her friend’s son goes to JMU and works at a local joint in town. We had some food and drinks and made our way back to the house. By the time we got back, everyone was asleep. It was like being an adolescent again, sneaking through the creaking house hoping not to wake anyone.

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Block plane

The next morning, we held a small surprise breakfast birthday party for Krissi’s great-grandmother.  All of the aunts and uncles on Krissi’s mom’s side of the family showed up with some food and conversation.  I cooked the bacon and Krissi coordinated the rest. The whole family crammed into the tiny kitchen to sing her a happy birthday. Once the cake had been dispersed and reminiscing had quieted, the crowd began to filter out.  Kash was outside with her cousin, attempting to bust open a geode we bought at the natural bridge. Krissi used a pick axe to break it open finally.  Hot Rod had some fun with all of the relatives and crashed out in his pack-and-play.  Around noon, Krissi and I loaded up the Jeep and headed home. We hit fog early on and stopped in at one of the scenic views to check it out. It was smooth sailing until we hit Ft. Eustis. Typical fender bender causing a ridiculous amount of traffic. Once we got home, we unpacked, showered and relaxed until the kiddos arrived.  It was good to have them home. Kids went into the tub and then it was movie time.  We all crashed early that night. All the fun and adventure of the weekend had finally taken its toll.

 

Do work, be rad

Mustache