I Was Toast

I recently wrote about my love for concerts, so now you have to hear about my “first time.”

Two flat chested, big haired, 15 year olds dropped off by our mothers at The Metro Center in Rockford, IL to see Bon Jovi. (you know you loved Slippery When Wet!) Our moms were good sports. They would go on to drop us off and pick us up at concerts pretty often until we could drive ourselves. My mom loves to recount the story of waiting for us to come out of a Motley Crue concert,  (I was young, ok?), and all she could hear were loud explosions as she waited, terrified I wasn’t going to make it out. Those were the days….lots of fire and loud banging noises involved in concerts.

I remember the excitement and anticipation as we entered the building. First stop would be the over priced t-shirts, which we would eagerly put on in the bathroom, so as not to meet Jon in street clothes.

Since our seats were so far back Jon looked like a little ant on stage, there would be no concern for how our clothing looked. This was back in the day when you waited outside your favorite record store until opening hours, so you’d be first in line to purchase your concert tickets and get first dibs on the best seats possible. Sadly this was the best possible our price range could buy! It remained a mystery for years, wondering what special powers it took to get front row….or even on the floor! With age comes great wisdom, and we would discover later in life a little thing called the fan club. 😉

Hang on….there’s a happy ending to this magical night. We knew Jon’s routine well. After all, we all remember “Livin’ On A Prayer” being played to death on Friday Night videos. I never tired of it….the music quietly playing in the beginning, silhouettes of Jon and the gang walking side by side…Jon’s gorgeous hair flowing in the breeze.

Therefore, during that song I just knew he’d fly. When the moment came, I grabbed my friend’s hand and yelled, “He’s going to fly!” I also noticed a little platform all the way at the back of the arena, very close to our pitiful seats. That was it….my rock star was flying toward the back of the audience and I would soon be able to tell him of my undying love for him. All I’ll say is we made it to the front of the platform, he sang a tear jerker, looked right down at those two little girls with star struck eyes and gave us a wink……I was TOAST!

It was with that same friend I ended up on stage with Jon just a couple of years ago. About 27 years after that wink that sold me on concerts.

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Vinyl, Concerts, and Screaming

After countless concerts throughout my life, I have come to the conclusion that dancing and screaming to live music is absolutely my favorite past time.

Over the weekend I went to see Barry Manilow. I know what you’re thinking….not exactly a crowd to rock out to. I assumed it would be a nice sit and listen to music kind of evening. I grew up listening to my mom’s vinyl collection of Barry Manilow, Kenny rogers, Dolly Parton, etc..IMG_1884



Don’t worry – I have my own taste in music now. But that old stuff brings back childhood memories and I know every lyric. Plus Barry is Barry! Who else can actually convince me I am suffering from extreme heartache, when I am actually, well….not.

Vinyl is a whole other topic. I miss that sound…..the crackling of the needle on the record. We have amazing digital technology now, but that soothing crackling noise on a record player was well suited to some of the old music. Remember the smell of a new album? If you flip the pages of a new book in front of your face to catch the scent of fresh pages, and you are over the age of 40, then you sniffed your brand new, stiff album covers. (jackets, sleeves, whatever we called them ;))

Do you remember what the bonuses were? If it was a folded album jacket that could open up, you hoped to find lyrics to every song written right there, as you carefully opened the stiff new album. Could anything else be in there to top the lyrics which would help you sing every song…even the ones that weren’t on the radio??  Yep – a treasured poster of your beloved artist! You won’t find a poster to hang near your bed in a tiny CD case.

I may have gotten off track discussing the beauty of vinyl, or rather my musings as a now middle aged woman on thoughts of, “back in my day….” Really? I’m there now?

So concerts…..my first was Bon Jovi. There would be a lot of money and time spent for years to come on good ‘ol Bon Jovi. My first concert experience hooked me like a fish to a worm on a hook. Anticipation builds, the thrill of it all happening, then the pain of it ending. Yes, post concert depression is real – I can’t make this stuff up.

No matter who it is I am seeing, when those lights go down and the crowd begins to chant….there’s nothing else like it. My heart races, my arms fling up above my head and I scream. Just scream. No words, just a sound that comes from deep within my soul and exits my lungs in sweet relief that I am at that moment surrounded by people who “get it.” I think those screams represent my suppressed self who can’t walk around acting like she’s at a rock concert on a daily basis. It’s like for about two hours I am not mommy or wife. I’m not responsible for anyone or anything while I sing, scream, jump, and dance. I have often compared concerts to a roller coaster ride. You slowly ride to the top as you wait for your rock star to appear, then when they make their sudden appearance on stage, it’s like the first big invigorating drop on the roller coaster. The rest of the concert is full of laughs, smiles, and more screaming. Finally it slows down and you know it’s coming to an end. If you love roller coasters, you can’t wait to get right back in line and do it again. If you love rock concerts it’s the same feeling.

Time to find some more tickets!










Silver Linings

I’m still in shock. So often in my life, I have been on fire, ready to take on the world, and then BAM! It’s done. Excitement….gone. Big life change….gone. Discouragement….here.

My journey into my new career has come to an abrupt halt. I prepared  for months. My confidence and excitement grew. I made a million lists, I bought grown up clothes and shoes, I hired a sitter, and I went off to training.

Some issues happened and I am now just realizing I guess I better not share details so as not to offend anyone involved. In a nutshell, my children needed mom at home.

When I came to this conclusion during an evening alone in my hotel room where I was staying, fighting a migraine and many tears, I knew it was the right thing to do – to come home. Oh the right thing is so often the hardest! I stood in that room sobbing, considering calling another trainee to let me cry on her shoulder and maybe talk me out of leaving or confirm my decision. At that point I was in my pjs with no bra, my face red from crying, and I had known these people a week. So that scenario was not an option. God seems to like to get me alone in hotel rooms to bring me to my breaking point. Someday I’ll share my other depressing hotel room story.

I prayed, begging God to help me do the right thing. I didn’t want to regret my decision. In the end, I threw all of my stuff together, barely slept and headed home in the morning. Sending that email to my instructor was one of the hardest choices I’ve made. I had dreamt of this flight attendant job for a while and worked hard to get there. Visions of having to tell all of my friends I was quitting, was a humiliating thought.

Although I was exhausted, I was quite miraculously on the mountain top as I drove home to save the day. I felt like super mom and super wife. I missed my family, I missed cooking, and cleaning, even laundry. Weird, right? Being away and hitting rock bottom with emotions can bring a short elated feeling when we climb out of the pit. Then it stops and we wonder what the hell just happened.

So here I am again, feeling like a nutcase. See, after being home 22 years and struggling the past few, I felt like I was doing the right thing by finding something outside the home. I know I need something, but I also love my children dearly and will not trust just anyone to care for them when I am not around. Can I get a witness?? Can we simply not have it all? I guess I have always believed that. I know I can’t give everything 100%. Something has to give.

We all have different personalities. I find being passionate is frustrating. I’m passionate about my children and their education at home. I am passionate about writing. I am passionate about people and very social. As I age I am passionate about finding myself and my own identity away from home. But you mix all that up with what I said earlier….”I love my children more than anything”……and it gets difficult and confusing.

Well like any “writer” I have taken this as a sign that it’s time to take that book writing dream seriously. For myself, and probably many others, taking the time to make it happen is the most difficult part. I am always telling my children to pursue their dreams. Don’t just find a career that’s a quick fix. Do what you love.

I’m not sure I believe everything happens for a reason, but I do try to find silver linings. What other choices are there other than finding the positive? I could easily fall into a depression right now. I have a good excuse and many people to care for me. I could cry off and on through the day, and have a bit. Or I can start again. After expecting me to be gone 20 days a month for the first year as a flight attendant, leaving a couple days a week for some solitude for the sake of writing, won’t seem so bad to my family. Working weekends somewhere fun just to get out a little won’t seem so radical anymore. See how that works? Silver linings. 😉


Silver Lining…..Home in time for St Patty’s dinner at mom’s 🙂