Saturday, October 31, 2009

reno 911

reno 911...get me outta here!
....not impressed with Reno. granted, we were literally in the hood and never got to see any more of that city. (so, reno, i'm sure you have much more to offer than what i got to see) i don't even know how to describe where we were, but i tried to take some pictures of it. about a mile down the road was a huge casino called The Nugget. after walking around for a long time looking for food we ended up there and found some. casino's weird me out.
we found an authentic mexican pastry shop and bought these to enjoy while we walked these weird streets

the music venue

across the street was a $5.95 buffet at this casino...we did not eat there

surrounding the venue...

Monday, October 26, 2009

an autumn treat

words cannot even express how needed my visit to Rhode Island was. i couldn't get off that bus of sickness fast enough, but the people i was running to is what made it so sweet.
my brother and sister and niece. (and her wonderful parents too!)
every day we did something fun, and every night was spent with her parents, in their welcoming Victorian house surrounded by the bright colors of fall. it was everything that i had anticipated it would be in the previous months as i anxiously awaited my trip there: crisp fall air (but surprisingly warm enough to spend the days outside), beautiful peak foliage, the cutest New England towns you ever did see, and days filled with fun kids activities.
when she picked us up, it was pleasantly warm for a change, so we headed straight to the park

our first full day there we went to the Zoo! it was little man's first zoo experience...

peaking at the giraffes

petting the sheep...

two little pumpkins...

the next day was going to be the warmest day, so we went to the beach!  at Narragansett..

winter clothes covered in sand...i like it

crawling around with the birds

the moment that 'windy' turned to cold we gathered all our stuff and ran for the car. the kiddos slept while joanna drove me through jamestown, just so i could see what it was like. i've already been to newport and some other parts of Rhode Island, and i just have to say that i think every single part of that state is beautiful. especially at this time of the year, of course. here's some pictures of Beavertail, a spot near Jamestown...

and the next day we went to an apple orchard. i have been wanting to take little man to a pumpkin patch, since he has some strange fascination with pumpkins. whenever he sees one he perks up and strains his neck to keep his eye on it and says "pa pa pa". if i let him hold one he won't give it up without screaming crying. i knew his obsession had reached a new level when i was in a grocery store shopping, and i stopped in the vegetables to gather some things. he saw a bunch of pumpkins on the floor and was looking at them, but i was unaware and so i started walking away. he started crying really hard and then i realized what was going on. they didn't have any small enough for him to hold, so i had to give him a small green squash that was the shape of a pumpkin to hold while i did the rest of my cute. but back to my update.
my sister took us to the cutest little place for apple picking that had a pumpkin patch too. we didn't actually pick any apples, and the pumpkin patch was actually bare except for about 3 ginormous pumpkins. but we still had fun pulling the kids in her red wagon and letting them look at all the pumpkins and apples and fall colors...

jo is one of the greatest blessings in my life. a friend so wonderful, i'm not sure i could have scored her except that she was forced into my life by marrying my brother:) i'll forever be in debt to him for that one! if you've met her you know that she has positively the best personality. one of those people that you just wish you could emulate, but can't. not only is she a great friend (to all of her friends), but she is one of the best mothers i have ever seen, pouring 200% of herself into her child every day. she is my inspiration. i learn so much from her, and love being around her so that i can absorb some of her energy.
and she is married one of my other favorites in this world: my brother, who has always been the greatest friend in my life. (i have two of the most wonderful brothers in the world! i could go on and on about both of them!)
watching him become a husband and a father has been so sweet. i always knew he'd be the best, but to see it is just remarkable. he is a real man-- a man of faith, of character, of principles, of fun, of family...i am so proud of him and who he is every day.
i didn't get to spend as much time with him on this trip as i'd have liked, but did get some, and for that I am thankful. i can't wait til little man gets bigger and his uncle can teach him how to play football (and how important it is to watch it every saturday!)

so after all of that, i had to get on a plane for 8 hours and go to southern california, with all it's palm trees and sun and warmth. usually this would be cause for excitement, but not this time around. i definitely entered into a state of depression for the first 24 hours, and cried a lot. it was hard to adjust.
so here i am in LA. the next tour starts this Thursday. this tour i am very excited about. first of all we get a brand new, freakin' BA tour bus. second of all, check out our schedule: LA, Reno, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Boulder, Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburg, Montreal, Boston, NYC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta.
are you kidding me? so cool! and so C-O-L-D.....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

this can be hard...

after burlington, things got challenging. burlington was a drastic change of weather and some of the guys went out walking in the cold not wearing enough clothes and so, of course, woke up the next morning very sick. but the thing is, when you live on a bus with 12 other people, it's pretty selfish to get sick because then everyone else has no choice but to be exposed to it.
so i spent the week after that vigorously fighting for my family to stay well. but everyone else got super sick. flu sick. in fact, i wouldn't be surprised if we had a bus-full of the swine flu. that alone made the rest of the tour hard. but we also had a beat-down, crappy bus that never felt like home and was definitely never comfortable. so that didn't help. and it used to be Anna Nicole Smith's bus when she was touring for TrimSpa. wonderful.
we need t-shirts that say "we survived Swine Flu 2009 and Anna Nicole's bus"
pretty much I hid inside the bus and hotel rooms for a week trying to keep ndi warm, but here's the places that we went:
Farmingdale, NY: this was on Long Island. we decided we couldn't spend the time or money to go into Manhattan on our day off there, so we headed to Huntington Village, which was only a 10 minute cab ride away. it was a really cute town and we had a nice evening there with the other bus family.
Philadelphia, PA: by far the worst day for me on the tour. i was really excited to go here since i lived there for about a year. philly is my "spiritual birthplace" and forever holds a dear place in my heart. everyone was at their sickest this day, it was cold and raining the whole time so i couldn't walk around the city as i had planned, and i didn't get to see one person that i knew there. i didn't even feel like i was in philly:(
Granville, OH: home to a small college called Denison University. i didn't go in the show but apparently it was the greatest show ever, and the guys realized how fun it would be to go on a college tour (i'm in favor of that as well...)
Charlotte, NC: yep, we stopped in good ole charlotte for a day, but didn't even get to spend the night. they played at the Lowe's Motor Speedway before a big NASCAR race. they had been invited personally by the owner of NASCAR, Marcus Smith, who had been listening to PT for about a year and invited my man to lunch one day to meet him. my sister-in-law and her family got there bright and early that morning to spend the day with us. it was SO good to spend some time with them, we love them so much! somehow i always feel like i didn't get enough time with them, though. especially her. she is amazingly wonderful--such a special woman. my mom and step-dad drove into town for the show as well, so i got to go home and do laundry and spend some much needed time with my mama. it wasn't at all long enough. the day was over before i knew it and i had to go get back on that God-forsaken bus
Toronto, ON: first time the band repeated a city, and the same venue. didn't explore toronto like i would if i wasn't trying to keep my baby from getting sick, but i realized what a cool city Toronto really is, and plan to see more of it when we return again in November
Foxborough, MA: finally, the end! Foxborough is the home of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. the show was right outside of the stadium. music man had finally succumbed to a cough and lost his voice. but the best part was that Foxborough is only 30 minutes from where my brother and his family live. so my sister in law came to pick me up and I spent 4 incredible days there with them, about which i will post my next blog. my brother, little man and i drove back for the show and it was really fun. my brother was excited to see Everclear since he is a 'product of the 90s'. You know Everclear's big song "Father of Mine"? every night before they sang that song they would dedicate it to our band, because they bring their wives and kids on tour with them, and it's a song about changing the cycle and being a better parent than what you got dealt. really cool
On my worst day (in philly) i was thinking to myself, for the first time, "this is too hard. i want to go home." i wanted the warmth of the fire in my living room, my big king size bed, my empty house filled with no one but me and my family; i wanted a daily routine for my baby; i wanted normalcy. i whined all day inside my own head, until suddenly it hit me:
no matter what my life is like, there will always be hard days. there will always be sacrifices that i have to make. even if i were a working mom, it would be hard and i would consider it a sacrifice. even if we lived a normal, stay-at-home, 9-5 kind of family life, i would have hard days and would probably even get bored, and i would consider it a sacrifice.
the point is, THIS is the sacrifice that I have chosen to make.
and i would so much rather see the joy on our child's face when he sees his father every morning, and see the joy on my husband's face as he watches our child do something for the first time, and experience new places together as a family on our days off, than to be cozy at home with a nice routine and normalcy, but without my man. that is why we chose life on the road. it is the harder choice, but it keeps our family together.
some days can be hard...but most of the time it's a blast!

Monday, October 12, 2009

sneaking into dc and family time in burrrrlington

in raleigh we got to see my hubby's little sister. they share the same biological mother, but were adopted by different parents. we haven't seen her since the wedding (!) so that was fun. i've never spent much time in downtown raleigh, i've only visited unc chapel hill, where i wish we could have been for the show. but it was cool to get to visit raleigh, my state's capitol.

then we drove to richmond. i walked around for a couple of hours to explore. richmond is nice...cute cobblestone streets with older buildings. but then i skipped the show because natalie came to pick me up and take me back to DC so that I could spend some extra time with her! isn't she sweet? we met stephanie at Busboys and Poets, my favorite hang out in the world that happens to be in a city in which i don't live. the name refers to Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy prior to gaining recognition as a poet. it's a restaurant, bookstore, fair trade market and gathering place where people can discuss issues of social justice and peace. anyways, we tried to make a 9 pm poetry reading, but it was packed so we settled for just dinner. the next day natalie and i woke up and made the short walk from her anthro-cool new apartment on capitol hill to the Eastern Market. then we met stephanie and her boyfriend for lunch. then i got to walk and spend some qt with stephanie before natalie and i headed over to falls church where the guys and the bus where for their show that night. i tried to get natalie to fall asleep on the bus so i could steal her, but my attempts failed and i had to say goodbye:(

i awoke the next morning as we were driving into vermont, the place i was most excited about going to on this tour. the views from the bus windows were captivating. i didn't even bother taking pictures because i knew i could never do it justice. today, our little family woke up early and took a bus to downtown Burlington. burlington is without a doubt a city that i could live in. the view of Lake Champlain overlooking the Adirondacks, is something that i am so glad to have seen in my lifetime. it was breathtakingly gorgeous. and Church St and the entire downtown area is so cute. it was about 47 degrees and cloudy and it felt like Christmas. i think a blanket of snow would only complete it's perfection. we ate at Magnolia for brunch, vermont's first certified green restaurant, and it was yummy. we walked around all day and now i'm back on the bus and the guy's are sound-checking. tomorrow i'll wake up in Long Island, NY

Sunday, October 11, 2009

i DO love Tucson (and meat-packing district, manhattan)

we flew out of LA and into Arizona...a state that is far too hot to have the inhabitants that it does. but thank God it's not the middle of the summer. i've heard of tucson, but who knew i loved it all along? that's what i'm learning in these travels, that there are so many cities out there that i love and i've never even been there. it's crazy how much of the world that we live in that we'll never see...
so, here's the view of Tucson from our hotel window:

cute right? it's every bit as southwestern as i wanted it to be.
my need for all-natural laundry detergent led me on a long walk to 4th avenue, which happens to be the coolest part of town. very hippie, but 'hippie' always makes for the best areas, right? it was like a southwestern version of Little Five Points in atlanta, but much cleaner, and no homeless people. not that i have anything against homeless people. i love homeless people, there just didn't happen to be any that i could see in this area. i snapped some shots of the street scenes that i liked.

i stopped in this great Co-Op for some natural snacks and detergent, and a little bookstore to buy Twilight. i will only allow myself two sentences of this blog to talk about Twilight, because I am inappropriately obsessed with it: I am reading the Twilight series. It is awesome. There, two, as i promised.
we ate some delicious Mexican food that night, and the next day the band played at a festival at the Fairgrounds there, and then we flew out to NYC. i didn't let myself get too excited about going to new york, knowing i would only be able to have a one day love affair with the city. it's nice to know that we'll be visiting there a lot, so i don't have to try to absorb all of it every single time i'm there. so i could relax a little, and just enjoy what i could.
there's virtually no where to park a tour bus in manhattan, so we stayed in a nice hotel in sacaucus, nj. but the night we got there, our new tour manager was finishing up Fall Out Boy's tour with Blink 182, so he gave us all free tickets to Madison Square Garden! we had never been there before and it was so much fun! in one 24 hour span i lived the life of a typical american teenager: i read 1/2 of Twilight and watched Pete Wentz shave his head on stage. and yes, little man definitely came with us. he never misses a rock show, hence his new nick-name, Indie Rock

we ate at a diner and then took a bus back the hotel to get some sleep. the next morning we drove into manhattan. the show was at the Highline Ballroom, right in the center of the Meat-Packing district in Chelsea, which is my second favorite district after the Village. so i was happy to stay in that area for this trip. it has a completely different feeling and vibe than most of the other areas in Manhattan. it's right next to the river, and there aren't any sky-scrapers. but instead quaint cobblestone streets filled with both old original meat-packing buildings as well as modern new condos and store fronts. i love it. i ate in the Chelsea Market at a restaurant that only uses foods fresh from the local farms (called Green Table), and then had a perfect latte at one of the best espresso shops in manhattan, 9th Street Espresso. i spent time with the other band wife and a band member's new GF, who is beautiful and sweet with the most humble, gentle spirit. as you can imagine, it is very important to me who these boys end up marrying, because i will be living with them. i definitely approve, and i told him so and that he better not mess it up:) he's in love, so i don't think he will.
then we walked on the Highline (a park that they built on an old railroad above the streets that i have blogged about before), and walked around more. stopped in a bookstore to buy New Moon (2nd in the series), a journal and Sense & Sensibility, and then headed to the concert. for some reason we've heard that New Yorkers are the hardest crowd to win over, but for us they are always the easiest. concerts in NYC are always the best--everyone dancing and clapping and going wild. little man now watches the shows intently and points to his daddy and claps between the songs (so adorable!) then, half-way through the set his eyelids get too heavy and he falls asleep for the rest of the night. forget bath time and books and lullabys--this is our new bedtime routine! i just hope he loves me for it one day...
here's some pictures of the area
the beautiful, busy streets

wall art:

views from on top of the Highline:

the next show was in Poughkeepsie, NY which is upstate. it was just a typical small town with nothing to do. the best part about it is that it sits right on the Hudson River. we walked down the long hill to find something decent to eat and a coffee shop

Monday, October 5, 2009


i have to be honest and admit i wasn't as excited about going to cali for the week as i usually am. partially because i had just entered an autumn frame of mind, and going to the heat of southern california wasn't very appealing, and partically because i knew it was going to be a lot of running around, back and forth from san diego and LA, and (what i expected to be) long boring days of photoshoots and video shoots. i couldn't have been more wrong. flying there and back (and everywhere in between) was miserably inconvenient, but other than that, it was the one week in this whole music adventure that i wouldn't have wanted to miss.
so, of course, let me blog all about it

first there was San Diego, which i suprisingly already blogged about (kudos to me),

i was somewhat disappointed when i found out that i wasn't allowed to be in the show with little man, yet somewhat relieved as i was very anxious to get some sleep. i usually spend my first 2-3 days in california delirious from lack of sleep due to the time difference, and i was trying to not do that to myself this trip. i was told the show went well, and i woke up early with my little one the next morning and walked down to the water, and then around 'little italy' in dt san diego, happy for a chance to get some exercise.
then we went back to LA for the rest of the week. we stayed in our same hotel, our little home away from home. it is simple but what makes it nice is that it has everything you need--a good restaurant, a coffee shop, a nice outdoor if i get stuck, which is quite common, it isn't the end of the world. every morning my alarm clock woke me up (that would be my son), and we would sit outside and eat breakfast. it was a daily ritual that i looked forward to, especially once i learned how to beat the system of the $12.95 buffet by ordering a free kids breakfast of fruit and yogurt (which was partly for him, mostly for me), and just ordering hot tea and oatmeal for myself for a lower cost of $7:)
here's our sunny bfast spot:
the night we got back, the band did a private acoustic show an LA radio station. they had about 50 people there, including listeners who had won tickets. the station owns a penthouse condo where they have these types of events frequently. it was interesting, in a good way, to hear the songs played acoustically. they also interviewed them and did some talking. it was a really laid-back event.

next came the photoshoot. unlike the rinky dink one in NYC in the summer, this time was the real deal for sure. Here is their photographer. just visit his website and you will see what a big deal he is. and then there was video shoot, with a legendary director which really sent us all over the edge with excitement. we pulled into this huge space at a dam which would have been empty on any other day, but had instead been filled with Rv's, tents, tables, gear--essentially a mini and temporary village had been set up to prepare for the next 12 hours of shooting. goosebumps chilled up my body as it sank in that it was all there for us. and the food, my God, the food! i'm used to not knowing when and what my next meal will be (on the road), but here there were people that brought out a new meal every 2 hours it seems, and new snacks every hour. i had to really exert some will power so that my stomach wouldn't be sick the entire next day. the point is, we were overwhelmed. in one week we 1. heard the band's song on the radio for the first time, 2. the band went on radio shows for the first time, 3. experienced a real professional photo-shoot with a legendary photographer (i forgot to mention that the guys were able to keep all of the thousands of dollars worth of clothing that they wore in the shoot), 4. had an amazing experience on a music video set. the guys felt like rock stars probably for the first time.

ok so suddenly i have just become self-conscious that i may come off as bragging. you have to understand that i tell all of this in no other but the spirit of a giddy 7 year old on christmas morning. that's how we all felt. we are grateful only to the Lord for His goodness and providing these opportunities, knowing that we are not promised anything more and it could all end in an instant. or the music could simply just not go anywhere. we hope it does, however, to touch billions of lost and hurting souls....

and here's some cute pictures of little man playing in the studio where it all began

ok, there you go. now let it be known that i have sacrificed some much needed sleep in order to create this very long and thorough blog.
and yet I am still not quite caught up. now we've started touring again. so i'll have to save the rest of the update for another sleepless night (sigh)