Thursday, December 31, 2009

20 Minutes and Counting

It's almost 2010 here in Northern UT. In 20 more minutes I will say goodbye to 2009.
It's been the year that pretty much sums up my life's motto... it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I was really blessed to have a job, with some flexibility (at least for the time being), to have a family and two new beautiful granddaughters, a home, and many things that I probably take for granted far too often.

I am blessed to know of a God who loves me and Jesus who died to reconcile me to him.

I am grateful to be relatively healthy (albeit now minus one gallbladder) and I'm very aware that not everyone has been so fortunate this past year.

I'm grateful for friends both on and off the internet, and a church that feels like home.

I'm very fortunate to be able to attend lots of concerts and take photos which I love to do (well, most of the time... someday I'll be really good at it.) LOL

Okay, so this isn't thanksgiving, but if I were to have a New Year's Resolution, it would be to every day remember the good things that I have and not to dwell on the trials. I see so many people who are so miserable, and I think a lot of it is that they just can't see what they have already. Granted, I feel I have more than many, but this year has not been without it's share of trials some of which it wouldn't be too appropriate to share on the www.

So, suffice it to say that I am grateful for what I have, and committed to remembering this in 2010 come what may.

Happy New Year!!

God's blessings to you and yours,

P.S. I will try to blog about my Christmas tomorrow... procrastinating already. LOL

Friday, December 18, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Winter Wonder Slam

Winter Wonder Slam (hereinafter referred to as WWS) wasn't coming to Salt Lake City. That is nothing new, and not particularly surprising. However, WWS was coming to Nampa, Idaho (and for those unfamiliar with Idaho, that is just a bit outside of Boise.) Also, for those that may not know, Relient K is the main opener for WWS, and if you read my blog at all, you know that Relient K is my favorite band.
Now, it's not really all that unusual for me to drive to 5 or so hours to Boise for a concert once in a while. However, I have a rule: No Boise concerts after Halloween. The weather isn't usually to bad before Halloween, but after that date, one just never knows. I broke the rule one time before. You'll never guess who I went to see in Boise in February. LOL But it was Relient K, so I broke the rule. I bought a ticket for WWS on December 8. Then I hoped and prayed for decent weather. When the weather-types were predicting snow the day of the show, I wasn't surprised. I think my exact response was: "That figures."

Originally, the plan was to stay at the Nampa Hampton Inn the night before, and drive home after the show. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at things, Metallica was playing the night before and the hotel was booked up on December 7. I got on the waiting list for a room.

Oh, to make things even more interesting, I decided to see "A Christmas Carol" at the Haile Theater in West Valley on the 7th. The show started at 5 p.m., so I hoped to be out early enough. After some thinking, I decided that I should be able to sleep about 7 hrs. or so and then head for Boise about 3 in the morning on the 8th, and then just stay the night. So I got back online and booked a room at the Hampton for Dec. 8. I think that was the better plan in reality.

On December 7, I actually slept decent. I had everything ready to go, except I needed a few personal items. I made a trip to the mall to take care of that business and dressed up in my new top and new green satin skirt. I thought I might be a tad overdressed, but dressing up is fun and I wanted to look festive. I think it worked out.

The play was remarkable. I went with a group of friends from church. A group of us went for a couple of years running, but then stopped. I was really happy to be able to go again. A Christmas Carol is done with lots of music, smoke, things that move and go bump in the night. Scrooge was very animated. In the end when he was happy, you felt like dancing with the guy. It was really a lot of fun. Afterwards, the group of us went to a Chinese restaurant nearby. It was a challenge trying to moderate the fat content there, though. Hopefully I did okay. The food was pretty good and so was the fellowship. I arrived at home somewhere around 10:30ish, and made sure I had everything together. I decided to set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. I woke up before it went off.

I got up and tried to get everything by the door, dressed, and ate breakfast. I unburied my car from the snow, and decided to shovel the sidewalk, since the snow was not too heavily stuck, and I figured it would be later. It was bitter cold out (somewhere between 3-6 deg. F) and my fingers really began to hurt badly by the time I was finished. I went inside and warmed them up with cold water! Then I finished loading up the car and headed out at exactly 4:06 a.m. It's a good thing I had plenty of time to get there. Even on the freeway the top speed was 45 for the first hour or so. Then 45-50 for quite a ways. Still, I arrived in Nampa I think a little after 10:30 a.m. I parked my car at the hotel, and went inside. The staff was wonderful, and let me hang about, watch tv, make some tea (I had cup and teabags, I used their hot water. LOL) and kill time until about noon, where they got me into my room early. I took pics of my room and the view from my window. I went downstairs and used the computer in the business center (very slow, but hey, it was available and free.) I killed time until a little after 1 p.m., and then went to check out the venue. I came back to the hotel and warmed up until about 2:15 or so when I decided just to wait it out at the venue until show time. Yes, I am certifiable!
IT was another hour and a half or so before anyone else showed up. It was too cold... definitely too cold. I did okay except the last hour or so when my toes pretty much began to ache, much like my hands did after shoveling the snow earlier in the day. A family showed up early and took turns in line. Then a couple of gals showed up and we chatted a lot. They watched my place in line while I bugged people at the will call window about my photo pass, and stressed over it a lot (I should really quit doing that, it's not an endearing quality.) IT was close, but I got my pass in time. One of the gals kinda freaked me saying it might get there before doors, and it might not. (This was gen. adm. entry I waited hours for? And they wouldn't let me in with camera without it, even though the security and one of the in charge gals both knew it was coming. And it had gotten to late to take it back to my room. Sigh. Hence, the stress.) Anyway, I was relieved when the pass showed up.

In spite of me freaking myself out, I made it to the floor in front with no problems. It's not that I wasn't slower than molasses, because I was. There were also a few hitches, but no one was running, and the dance floor really wasn't at all crowded. It was kind of nice, actually. NO pushing, no being squished within an inch of my life. I could really get used to that. LOL My right foot hurt extremely badly as it began to warm up, but it eventually quit. I played around with my camera, chatted, checked out the merch table, came back and waited. Finally it was time for the show to start.
B Reith was the first one to perform. I really am not a huge hip hop fan, but he actually had more singing than rap, and he was just a lot of fun! He had I "heart" Boise on the bottom of his shoes. His set was very short, but enjoyable.

After B. Reith was Stephanie Smith. Stephanie absolutely rocked. The girl can sing and I loved her music. Later I would go up and buy both of her cd's. I was impressed. I was able to get some decent photos of her as well.

After Stephanie it was time for Relient K. Hoopes was still out for a family emergency, and there was another guy filling in on the first song. All but of a couple of the songs played were acoustic. Ethan played drums on the first song, and guitar on the others. Hoopes was definitely missed, but it was still a great set, and it was especially awesome to hear, "I Celebrate the Day" live for the first time. A good bit of Relient K's set were Christmas songs. Someone shouted out "I'm Getting Nuttin' for Christmas" at one point. That made me laugh. I have the same complaint everytime (although probably more truth to it this time than most) which is that it was just too short.

I had some gift cards for Relient K, and I tried to get Jon's attention, but without much luck. Then I went up to the merch tables, and one of B. Reith's guys said he would get the gift cards to them for me. (And he did, so that was pretty awesome.)
I met B Reith briefly and had a photo taken with him.

Toby Mac's set was starting, so I headed back down to the barricade. Onstage, Toby has an amazing amount of energy, and he surrounds himself with very talented people. I've seen him a few times before, and he always has a great show. I was surprised that I knew and/or recognized as many of the songs as I did. I did laugh at one point when he did a medly of songs, most of them I recall from when I was younger. I definitely knew those songs. LOL

After the concert was over, I headed back upstairs. I met Stephanie and her band and had a photo taken, and bought her cd's. Stephanie seemed really sweet. I talked to Travis Culver or KTSY - he actually spotted me first, and I had a photo taken with him before I left. I figured I'd better leave before they kicked me out, so I headed back to the hotel.

When I arrived back at the hotel, I was tired and hungry. I went to my 4th floor room, and got ready to take a dip in the pool before I went to bed. I figured it would help me sleep to swim a few laps. So, I swam about 8 laps of the pool and then sat in the jacuzzi for a bit. It was hard to leave just because it was so toasty warm. :) I dried off as best I could and went back to my room and changed again. I went to use the business center and to ask for a wakeup call. A gal came into the hotel lobby to leave flyers for their Deli. Their food was all organic and home made, and they were open and delivered until midnight. OF course, I ordered right there. Then I stayed in the lobby and chatted until my food arrived. I ate, got ready to sleep, and slept well.

The next day it was time to head for home. First I stopped at Calvary Chapel to drop off some gifts for Luke and bandmates, and then I stopped to visit a friend who was working at a nearby mall. She bought me a late lunch, even. I did a small bit of shopping and headed for home. By then it was nearly 4 p.m.

I drove probably less than an hour before I started to feel sleepy. Now, that is an issue with me on long drives sometimes, but not usually only an hour after heading out. I did't think that was a good sign, but at least the roads were clear. I ended up stopping twice at rest stops to take naps along the way, but I finally made it home around midnight.

I'm not sure I'm anxious to do this again too soon, but I am very glad I made the trek. I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

Kudos, to any "novella" readers who made it through this whole post. :)

Peace out,