Friday, November 29, 2013

Pearl Jam and Thoughts on Rock n Roll

One Saturday morning... that's when I found out Pearl Jam tickets were going on sale in an hour. Cue the freaking out... should I buy? Can I go? Do I have the money? Add to that the fact that we were getting ready to go to the lake with our friends, and waiting for tickets to go on sale would push back our departure time. My friend is awesome, though, and she was all pushing me to buy them. "You can always sell them later on Facebook," she said. Yeah... good call! She sat with me while I looked up some tickets. No time to think, really. Were those good seats? I don't know! Russ, are we going? I was too chicken, so I waited another minute and then looked up tickets again... this time the best available were in the upper bowl! What?!?!? They were selling like it was 1995! Rapid heartbeat, shaky, sweating... I reasoned that some of the people who were in the process of buying tickets would not go through with it and some lower bowl tickets would pop up again. When they did, I pounced. It was super nerve wracking until the confirmation page popped up with, "Stacey, you're going to Pearl Jam!" It was all excitement from there!! And then the waiting began... and after a few months, the night finally arrived...

While we were sitting there waiting for the show to begin, I couldn't help but giggle to myself when I saw all the bald heads. It was funny to think these were probably a lot of the same people from the 1995 and 1998 concerts I remember, only older, driving nicer cars, looking more sophisticated, a little pudgier... and waaaaaaaay more boring.

K, get ready for tons of pics of the stage, and yeah, my cell phone pics are pathetic.

Just sayin', those tickets were worth every penny. The band played for nearly three hours straight... some new ones (new to me, at least), but lots of old favorites as well. No mosh pits, no crowd surfers, and not really a lot of energy... in fact, a lot of people sat down half way through the concert. But not me... oh no, I was rockin' out all night long and only wished I could have gotten general admission tickets on the floor.

Like I did in 1995... when Pearl Jam was all anti-Ticketmaster and we had 6 people dialing like mad for the 10 minutes before they sold out, but only scored 4 tickets. Ended up going to that concert with my dad and two sisters because they had to reschedule and my boyfriend had already left on his mission. It was so fun because my dad said, "Just do what you would normally do at a concert," so we jumped over the rail from the lower bowl to the floor to bypass security, and he came right along with us. Coolest dad ever.

And I honestly don't really remember this one, except that Eddie Vedder had declared at the last concert that we could bring cameras and recorders from then on. So I did, despite what the ticket said. Imagine trying to prohibit those items these days... yeah, impossible.

I guess it's bound to happen to all of us at some point... here I am, hating on most of the music that comes out these days and pining for the "golden age" - the 1990's when I went to concert after concert in venues large and small because there was just so much good alternative rock music to be had! Always loved concerts at the Electric Ballroom (KMFDM, Sponge, Helmet, Flaming Lips, etc.), multiple U2 concerts, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Primus, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, Everclear, White Zombie, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day, Bush and more! I even took in 311 and Blink 182. Had my bedroom walls covered in posters.

Best concerts:

KMFDM at the Electric Ballroom, right against the stage, close enough to reach up and "play" Pig's guitar. KMFDM in Hollywood. KMFDM on Halloween night in Pomona, CA (they were once my favorite band).

Primus in Tucson... painted "Primus or Bust" on the back of my Camaro. How can that not be fun?

U Fest... don't remember the year. Didn't even really know the main bands, but I was wearing my KUPD shirt, and some guy came up to me and my sister and showed his badge to get us to the very front... which meant we had a front row seat to the mayhem that erupted when the Deftones incited a riot. Beer flyin, stage curtains comin' down, speakers knocked over, chairs pulled out of the ground. Yeah, the band left and the police eventually came in with tear gas. My parents watched the news in horror, thinking, "My daughters are there!" We were fine because we mostly stayed in the seating area to watch everything unfold, and we left before the tear gas came in. It was exciting and memorable anyway.

And more recently, Aquabats in San Diego with Russ and his brothers. SO.MUCH.FUN!!!

Feeling old.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Nope, the trip to Tucson was not the end of our birthday celebrations... we had to have cake and ice cream! And Sunday dinner. The weather was nice, so we ate out on the patio.

Russ finally got to hold my newest niece, Gemma Abigail.

Paige was really wishing for an American Girl doll, which I think are totally overpriced, so she had to get that from Grandma. She named her Marissa.

My dear sister, Lori, gave me an awesome Sephora makeup set.

Birthday girls!

Thank goodness my mom took it upon herself to bring the cake...

Or, I should say, CAKES! My first very own birthday cake since Paige was born! Wait, Russ bought me a NY cheesecake once.

Time to dig in.

I mustache you a question...

How'd you get so silly?

Now that American Girl would be worth the money!

We celebrated like crazy this year... it was a whole weekend of fun! It kind of made up for not being able to go to Joe's barbecue for my free birthday meal this year... kinda :) <--(that is a really pathetic smiley face... I think I need to change my font soon!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Sad Day, a Happy Day

Trying to celebrate your kid's birthday and your own birthday at the same time can be a little tricky. This year to make sure we both felt special, we went to laser tag and Bahama Buck's Friday night for her, plus we had her cousin spend the night, and then we took her cousin with us on a day trip to Tucson on Saturday for me. Since we both got to participate in all the activities, I guess you could say it was a super birthday weekend.

Super, except for the part about my mom's dog being put down Saturday morning. Marley was born in 1997, before any of the grandkids came along (except Will, but we didn't know him back then). She has been around for all sorts of adventures and family gatherings, so she was pretty much a part of the family. That sweet little dog will be missed.

We got off to a late start because we went over to my mom's house first to sign Marley's box. It was a sad day.

Better late than never, though. I chose Tucson over going up north because it would be warmer and it looked like Sedona and Flagstaff might be getting some rain. Then we decided to drive up to the top of Mt. Lemmon, and it was in the 40's anyway. Good thing we brought jackets just in case. The wind chill was brutal! Kallie carried an extra blanket along.

Brandon was frozen, but he managed a smile for me.

When we went down in elevation a little bit, the mountain was blocking most of the wind, and it was actually a pretty nice walk with some great views.

I tend to notice the little things in nature, and I can't resist stopping for a picture. Russ is so patient!

The girls on the mountainside overlooking a valley.

Thought I'd get a picture of myself in there... sort of. Hello!

I call this Pine Cone Symphony.

Kallie was a trooper.

Brandon fell quite a few times, but he shook it off until the very end when he just couldn't take it anymore. It was great exercise carrying him on the uphill climb at a higher elevation than I'm used to. The elevation at the peak of Mt. Lemmon is around 9,000 feet!

We began the drive down just as it was starting to get dark.

With a full moon, and a perfectly timed sunset, I just had to stop for this picture I call Moonset.

And I quickly rolled down my window to capture this scene as it was flying by. Near the bottom, we had nice view of the city lights with the silhouettes of mighty saguaro cacti in the foreground, framed by the slopes of the mountains... would have made a great picture, but I didn't ask Russ to stop anymore. Everybody was hungry.

Too bad for them, though, because Trail Dust Town was close to where we came off the mountain, and the restaurant I had chosen was several miles farther. We stopped in to check it out, and the first thing we noticed was the candy shop! I had said to Russ earlier that I wanted to go to a candy shop, and boom, my wish came true! We all got some candy to hold us over, and then checked out the town. Right away we ran into the outlaw Josie Wales!

The old west town was pretty cute.

We stopped in the shooting gallery to try our aim.

After all the people cleared out of there, I got one last picture of Paige, and everything started going off at once! The kids were like, "Get us out of here! This place is haunted!" It was cousin Josie who figured out it was the flash of my camera setting everything off. We had to take several pictures after that to delight the kids.

On our train ride, we didn't just get a tour of the town... we also saw "Boot Hill" cemetery, skeletons dancing, two cowboys singing around a fire, a mineshaft with miners (and a rock slide!), and an Indian village. It was pretty cute.

Around 8pm, we finally made it to Mi Nidito Mexican restaurant for dinner. When Paige's tooth popped out unexpectedly, she got a completely stunned look on her face and exclaimed, "My tooth just randomly fell out!" I couldn't help but think of my friend... you know who you are! Haha!!

With full bellies and a bit of exhaustion setting in, we finally headed home for a late night arrival in Chandler. It was a happy day.

Veteran's Day Concert

Paige has a quiet but sweet voice, so this year she decided to join the choir. She went to rehearsals for a couple of months and ended with a concert during the Veteran's Day program at her school. Here she is with her friend who shares her first and middle name, only in reverse. They were destined to become friends (or enemies... polar opposites?).

And here they are singing... Paige is on the right in the middle row.

It was a great program where they honored many veterans in our community.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Plaster Blastin'

My parents canceled their farm party this year, so what to do? Well, you know, I'm a lucky girl to be in love with a guy who leans a little to the geeky side (just how much is up for debate). As soon as he got word of the cancellation, he got all excited and asked, "Does that mean we can go to Plaster Blaster?" Uh... I dunno, what the heck is that? He explained that it is a big rocketry event held near El Centro, California, in a place called Plaster City. Hmmm... weekend, travel... OF COURSE!! We left Friday night and stayed the night in El Centro, and then headed to the event in the morning. Russ' co-worker and friend, who told him about the event (yes, the same one that got him into the autonomous vehicle race) met us there with his teenage daughter, along with another of his co-workers and his kids.

The first rocket that we saw take off was huge, traveling up to around 18,000 feet. It left us with a question...

We walked around and checked out many of the rockets that were preparing to be flown. This event lasts the whole weekend, with some night flights, too, so we only got to see a slice of the action. The rocket in this picture sounded like it was going to be quite spectacular, with booster rockets and all, but we had bad timing and missed its flight while we were getting lunch.

The kids near the model rocket shop.

It was a hot, sunny deserty day with no protection from the sun to be found, so we turned our car around and sat in the back to watch the show. Next year, let's bring chairs and a shade tent, shall we?

Russ' friend decided to fly his rocket, which is called the Pandanator. He has a level one certification, so his rockets are bigger than what the average person is allowed to fly, but nowhere near the size of some of the monster rockets we saw fly that day.

We have lift off! (I know, it looks like the Cowanator to me, too)

Along with heat and sun, there was also a lot of dirt. That suited Kallie and Brandon just fine.

I told Russ I must have a picture of him looking up at a flying rocket. Boom.

And then I decided to get creative and attempt a picture of me watching a rocket. Such an artistic selfie... haha! To tell the truth, there wasn't even a rocket in the sky when I took this.

I used my burst mode setting to get photos of a few of the rockets taking off. Up, up, and away!

Whenever a loud rocket took off, Brandon would say, "That scared the heck out of me!" Eventually, it became too much for him, and he started crying until we let him just play around in the car with Kallie.


Fun day.