This past weekend I made my way back down to the NYC area: specifically Jersey City, NJ to hang out with some of my most favorite people on earth.
The Black Hollies (3/5 of Rye Coalition) were playing a fund raiser for Harsimus Cemetery – a historical cemetery in Jersey City so I’m into Halloween and ghost hunting and all that fun stuff. Why not? Also somehow persuaded my friend Dave to show up as well. Then Emily & Veronica came along as well and we all had a great time just hanging out at the cemetery – listening to music and ended up going to dinner that night. Time really got away from me and somehow I looked at my watch and realized my bus was leaving from Manhattan and I was still sitting in Jersey City so I stayed longer and just grabbed a 3am train back to Boston. Fun times.
Here are a few photos from the evening. I feel sure that sometime soon in the future my home will be in Jersey City. That’s no joke.
Me with Jon:
Emily with Jon:
Dave and Nash with Emily:
Dave & me:
Emily & Herb:
Herb & me:
The rest of this year is crazy-busy for me. I leave this Thursday for Texas for about a week. My best friend Claudia turns 40 on Oct. 30 so there’s a birthday/Halloween party taking place. It’s somewhat for my birthday too since I’ll turn 40 only 17 days after her. My costume is Alice in Wonderland…. my all time favorite thing ever. I love all things Alice. I come back on Monday and then turn around again on Friday, Nov. 5 and go back to New York. This is the annual “Scorpio Holiday” weekend and we’ll be there through Monday the 8th. My friend Patrick and his sister are coming up. My friend Joey and her husband. My friend Dave will be around too since his birthday is the 8th. We’re going to try to catch his & Ralph’s new band “Cold Fur” (seriously) over in Jersey City. The Black Hollies are playing too that weekend. Patrick got us tickets for Jimmy Fallon too so it should be a good time.
The 16th is actually my birthday – then the next week is Thanksgiving. Back to Texas for that and then back again for Christmas. I haven’t been home since last Christmas so it will be good to see family/friends.
In other news, I was just asked to help run / update the internal website for the hospital where I work. It’s actually for the I.T. department where I work, but I’m sort of proud of that. I went to my first meeting today to sort of learn my roll so I’m eager to help out and maybe learn how to run other types of websites. I know how to run mine, but not sure how to do something that has a medical background to it. Obviously the information will be time sensitive etc. so I’m really proud of being asked to work on that project.
So there’s a small update. See you all soon with Halloween photos!
One of my best friends had a birthday in June. Since she had never been to NYC, and I was in a position to do something about it, I bought her a plane ticket to Boston from Dallas and spent a huge chunk of time coming up with a great trip. I planned it all. Amtrak down to NYC, Hotel, Broadway, Statue of Liberty, etc. It cost me a few pretty pennies, but that’s ok. It wasn’t about that. It was about spending time with her and showing her a city that she’d always dreamed about. My mom – who had visited NYC with us last November – was on the phone with me during the planning process. I could tell by the tone in her voice that she wished she could come along for the ride.
“Mom, you know you’re always welcomed to come along with us.” After all – we’re all family. She practically raised my best friend. The woman booked a flight faster than you can say round trip ticket.
The vacation was planned for the weekend of Aug. 28. For two months I planned – and my friend & I talked daily about how we couldn’t wait for the trip. We let her choose which Broadway play we would attend since it was her first trip. My mom wanted to see Jersey Boys (story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. This is her music era.) and my friend wanted to see Rock of Ages (80s hair band music. This was our era.) My friend chose Rock of Ages. We bought the tickets. Mom was fine with it. “As long as I get to go to a play, I’m ok. And I know all that music. I lived through it right along with you kids.” I know my mom though. She really wanted to see Jersey Boys.
2 days before this vacation, my friend text messaged me and backed out. Her reason I’m sure was important to her. I call bullshit. Let’s just say that I was not happy. This is something that has happened before and quite honestly, it’s one of the reasons why I bought trip insurance on the ticket. In the back of my mind, I knew something would happen.
I don’t want it to seem like I’m talking shit on my best friend. I’m just really let down, disappointed – you name it. Instead of saying, “hey Leecy, I know you spent a lot of time, effort, money etc. on a birthday present for me” all she said was, “I’m gonna have to reschedule.”
There’s no rescheduling. I’m sorry. Hotel is paid for, tickets are paid for – I can’t drop another $1000. I’m on a budget here. I wish I wasn’t, but I am. These are things that I would say & have said to her. She could read this blog post and there’s nothing in it that wouldn’t & hasn’t been said to her.
Long story short, she is somewhat in the process of rescheduling. I’m not holding my breath. When she lands at Logan airport, then maybe I’ll believe that she’s coming to visit.
I don’t get Gemini people sometimes. They’re definitely the twins of the Zodiac. One person one minute and another at any other moment. I mean we’ve laughed about that before & she’ll point out how I’m the intense Scorpio and how I end up taking things too seriously at times, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing taking friendships so seriously. I just don’t get how you can pretend to be one way at one moment and then pretend to be something else another moment to satisfy what might be going on at the time. Just figure out who you are and be that person. It’s exhausting otherwise!!!
I’m off of my soapbox.
So – my mom flew up from Texas and I decided either I could be completely pissed off the whole weekend or I could take the opportunity to spend a weekend in New York City with my mom and have a lot of good memories. I chose the later. You know what? I had a great time with mom. She’s a trooper. She’s a lot of fun, and you know what – she’s really a best friend. She’s the sweetest thing.
The second I knew I had an extra ticket to “Rock of Ages” I called up my friend Veronica over in East Rutherford, NJ (my Foo-traveling buddy) and said ‘wanna meet me Sunday night at the Brooks Atkinson theater?’. She didn’t hesitate. Mention anything Rock N Roll to her and she’s there.
Mom & I got there on Saturday afternoon & checked into our Westin Times Square hotel. I Priceline.com’d it – got 2 nights for $500 which normally would run us $2 grand at that hotel. Maybe good karma or whatever was with us because they upgraded us to a suite for free and let me tell you – this suite was fantastic. I never get free upgrades – hell, as long as the room is clean, I’m not picky. I just want a place to close my eyes and sleep for a few hours with no worries. Perhaps take a shower or change clothes. I’m just happy to be there!
Mom on the way to NYC:
After settling in at the hotel, I told mom we should head out to Times Square to see what was going on. My real plan was to hit the Tickt’s booth to see if I could afford some discounted “Jersey Boys” tickets. There was a show at 8pm that night and I just felt like I really wanted to take her. Luck was still on our side and we scored two tickets for that night. I honestly can’t remember a time where my mom was so excited. She was like a kid. “When should we go stand in line?! I can’t wait to see this. This is MY music era.. I just love this music. I bet it’s really good. I mean, it’s Broadway, right?? They have to be good!”
“Mom, they probably sound as good as the original. It’s Broadway.”
Happy Mom after scoring tickets:
We grabbed some lunch after getting our tickets:
We did a little souvenir shopping (I try to warn the entire NYC area beforehand that their souvenirs are not safe when my mother is in town). Mom wanted to head over to the theater to ‘check it out’. I swear….. where does this woman get it from? Hanging out at venues hours before the shows? Hoping to catch a glimpse of ….someone …? Maybe have her photo taken with the lead…singer? Geeez. How embarrassing!
Of course, me being me, I noticed the venue next to Jersey Boys:
Mom text messages her friends on how she totally got tickets to Jersey Boys & how they’re probably all jealous:
I told mom that if she REALLY wanted to see some Jersey Boys, my friends the Black Hollies were playing that night over in Brooklyn. She stared at me like, ‘fat chance’ and ‘nice try’.
So, in honor of my Jersey friends, I took this photo. I salute you all.
Mom with Poster:
Let me just say that Jersey Boys was worth every dime. Honestly? It was better than Rock of Ages could ever have dreamed of being. Of course, it’s two totally different styles of music, but Jersey Boys was just GOOD. I honestly couldn’t tell at times if the guys singing were really singing or if it was the real recording. Amazing. I looked over at my mom several times. She was singing, smiling – even teared up a few times. I was glad that we got to go do that. I bought her the cast soundtrack CD. I even bought a t shirt for me. The thing was that it was cold in the theater – I’m always cold/freezing and so I bought this jersey t shirt and actually put it on during the show to keep warm….so I looked like the big ol’ dork that shows up wearing the t shirt of the show that I’m there to see.. like I’m some sort of Jersey Boys groupie or something. Luckily mom had picked up a few t shirts for my brother as well so I covered up in those too.
When we made our way back to the hotel well after midnight, it was then that I realized that we had tickets to the Statue of Liberty the next morning at 10am. I thought I had booked that for Monday, but I guess not. We made it there on time & spent a good part of the day there & at Ellis Island.
Sunday evening was Rock of Ages & Veronica came over and met us at the hotel. We walked a few blocks up to catch the show. The coolest thing – other than getting to hang with my friend Veronica – was that when we went in to the show they gave us these plastic cigarette lighter shaped lights – you squeeze them and they light up – to be used during that ballads of course. Cute idea. Here we are with our lighters:
Mom & me:
I want to say that the guy that plays the Narrator in Rock of Ages was worth the price of admission. That was HIS show. Funny.
After the show, Veronica treated us to dinner which was very sweet of her. We had a great time. My mom is in love with Veronica now. They’ll probably be BFFs now.
Monday was spent in bed until check out time. I don’t think I moved an inch while sleeping both nights. Forget trying to wake mom. I was the one that had to walk a few blocks to Dunkin Donuts to grab coffee. This is where a guy stopped me on the street and said a line to me so shocking that I’m still trying to figure it out. Not figure it out, but REALLY, dude?? You think saying that is going to make me swoon and say “OK!!” and run off with you? This shit only happens in New York. Seriously.
Our train didn’t leave New York until around 6pm so we checked out of the hotel – checked our bags – hit up Ann Taylor LOFT for some shopping (my new favorite place) and lunch. On our way to grab our bags, mom yelled out “Oh, it’s the NEKKID Cowboy”……
So I snapped this photo of her with him in the background. Then she said, “He’s so gross. Nasty.”
Mom wanted to get a famous black & white cookie so we grabbed one of those. I had recited the Seinfeld episode to her. We got to Penn Station – boarded our train and headed back to Boston.
The thing about eating the Black and White cookie, Elaine, is you want to get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate and yet somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved. Look to the cookie Elaine. Look to the cookie.
She’d kill me for posting this, but I think it’s sort of cute. Absolutely exhausted, but had a great time:
It’s not that I’m a Springsteen fan or anything, but it was all I could think of on short notice.
I fully believe in making the most of my time so when I plan to go somewhere I try to pack in as much as I can whether it be visiting friends or attending a live show I’d like to see or just sight seeing.
So for Memorial Day weekend (May 31) I packed so much into 3 days that I’m still recovering. Not really. I had a great time though.
My friend Veronica, who usually goes to a lot of the Foo Fighters / TCV related shows with me, has the HOOK UP and usually ends up getting us free hotels in NYC which is really half of the battle and is a tremendous help on the ol’ pocketbook. She lives across the river in New Jersey as do a lot of my friends. So I headed down to NYC from Boston on Sat. afternoon before the holiday and met Veronica at Penn Station. We headed up to 57th to our hotel to check in…had a nice dinner outside. The weather was perfect. We got caught up since we hadn’t seen one another in about 3-4 weeks. A lifetime!!! ;-p
I adore Veronica so much. She is originally from Argentina – I don’t know how to tell you how amazing she is – I just love her. My favorite story about her is from last October when we were trying to buy Them Crooked Vultures tickets online and Ticketmaster was giving us fits – we were texting, e-mailing back and forth trying to find out who had scored what tickets to what shows. Then when the February Roseland NYC show rolled around, we sat there again for the presale all nervous that we wouldn’t get tickets. I told her ‘God I hate the few minutes before the presale – my stomach gets all nervous – I’m afraid I won’t get a ticket… ‘
In her true, passionate way, she said very emotionally: “I hate it too! I KILL MYSELF IF I DON’T GET A TICKET!!” to which I had to just laugh and say, “Calm down! We’ll get you a ticket.. no one’s gonna die over it..!” Shit – at the most we’ll have to buy scalped tickets, but we’ll be there! Veronica’s one of those people I can sit with and not say a word and have the best conversation ever. Someone can just walk by & be a total idiot and all we have to do is look at one another and we know exactly what the other is thinking. Recently in Las Vegas, we sat out in front of New York, New York & people watched and didn’t say two words to one another, but had the best time!
So on Saturday night we headed over to Brooklyn to see my friends Herb, Jon, Justin & Nick of the Black Hollies. We caught the show, hung out and talked & got caught up and then grabbed a ride back from the guys to Manhattan around 1am.
Here are a few photos of me with the boys:
Herb Wiley borrows some of my hair
FYI, Herbie described himself as ‘gross’ in that photo. I think he’s lovely.
And of course, photos with one of my favorite guys in the whole world: Jon:
Adore that boy so much…. and he always looks after me and gives me a ride home if in Boston or in this case back to Manhattan and it is greatly appreciated. A real friend.
We said goodbye to the Black Hollies and I told them I would see them the next day as we would all be attending the social event of the year which really was just the birthday party of my friend Dave’s son: Casey Bonham.
What do you get as a birthday gift for a kid named Casey Bonham? Well…. :
Sadly, he was more interested in the bag full of He-Man figurines along with his Castle Grayskull which Herb so lovingly feeds beer to here:
I gave Casey some Iron Man toys and his birthday cake was half Iron Man and half Spiderman:
Casey’s baby brother, Nash was not excluded. I brought him a Toy Story 3 Dinosaur that made a great sound when squeezed….
Nash with Dave:
This was the first time that I had met Dave’s parents which was really cool. Dave’s dad Jack is AWESOME. And you have to love a mom who insists on calling him David rather than Dave and brings Italian meatballs to the party. “Now how do you know David?” After giggling for a moment I told her we met years ago when he was in Rye Coalition and that he was just a great friend to me. “Yeah, how DID we meet?” Dave asked. “In Dallas, Texas.”
Dave’s dad said, “Don’t you MISS Rye Coalition??” Of course my answer was yes. Big yes. What a guy.
Speaking of Rye Coalition – this had to be my favorite moment of the day. It’s too bad Justin missed it….
Herbie is PeeWee Herman:
Sadly, the day came to a close and I had to leave as I had to meet back up with Veronica so that we could head further south into New Jersey to meet up with our friend Emily for the rest of our weekend. But before leaving, I had to take my picture with Dave.
I can’t tell you what great friends these guys are to me and how much I just love and adore them. Really. I say it over and over, but I really just dig them. Thanks to Dave & Pam for inviting me and letting me hang out all day Sunday. I had a blast.
Herb offered me a ride to the train station as he was passing by on his way to drop Jon off at his place. I mentioned to them that I really liked Dave’s dad. “Jack’s awesome,” Jon replied, “he’s got a million stories – all good.”
We got to the train station, I told Herbie & Jon goodbye and I’d see them soon.. and to behave themselves.
I miss you guys already. Fuck it, I’m moving to Jersey.
So I’m not sure what was going on with the buses from New Jersey to New York, but I made it back to Penn Station by PATH & was waiting on Veronica when she text messaged me to tell me that she wasn’t even on the bus yet and that I should head up about 25 blocks to the hotel to pick up my checked bag. “Take a cab!!” she said.
I checked my surroundings and noticed that traffic that holiday weekend was exceptionally heavy and in the interest of continuing my healthier lifestyle, yours truly decided that I would walk it. 25 blocks ain’t so bad, right? I was really proud of myself for turning down a taxi ride and keeping it real. Plus, I kind of needed to walk off that Grilled Cheese sandwich that Veronica forced me to eat the day before. Forced I tell you. I can’t be responsible for eating that along with those French Fries. I would never make such a rotten decision, so Veronica that one’s on you.
Not only did I make it up to the hotel in record time – I do believe there were points where I out walked native New Yorkers and even a small instance where I might have sprinted. I can’t be sure.
Got my bag, paid the nice man – went to change clothes and thought I’d wasted enough time so I’d better grab a cab back because Veronica was probably waiting on me.
I should have walked back. I’m really pissed off that I had time to do it and took a cab. This is not Veronica’s fault at all. I blame Metro transit or whatever it is….
By this time I’m getting text messages from Emily wondering when we were leaving. She was at a BBQ. It takes about an hour by train to get down to her town in New Jersey. We would catch the next train out as soon as Veronica showed up.
Emily had her own thing going that weekend so couldn’t make it up for the Black Hollies show. Girlfriend always has some theme party she’s invited to and this weekend was no exception. She had text messaged me earlier in the week to tell me that she’d just been invited to a ‘White Trash’ BBQ. So everyone needed to show up looking as white trash as possible. I believe other themed get-togethers in the past were “Ugly Christmas Sweater party” & if I remember correctly there was an “Ugly Prom Dress party” in there as well. They always sound like a lot of fun. So how come Emily felt the need to contact me on what to wear to a “White Trash BBQ”? Because I’m from Texas? Is that it??! Because we BBQ or we’re just White Trash or have more experience in the white trash-ness of life? Anyway – I totally helped my friend out with her outfit.
“You know what you need, Em? You need to go to Wal-Mart and get some of those pink, spongy type hair rollers/curlers. That shit is WHITE TRASH..”
“OMG…!” which I knew meant she was on it. What can I say about Emily:
Check out her 40 & her cigarettes strategically placed…
How can you not love her? Real Deal.
So, Veronica & I are officially ready to board the train and we got caught up again on our short ride. I told her about the birthday party AKA: Social event of the Year and she told me about her BBQ. I secretly think mine is better because Mrs. Leto brought Italian meatballs, but what do I know?
We text Emily when we get to Princeton because we’re the next stop after that and she’ll leave her BBQ once we’re there. We crash at Emily’s on Sunday night and hang around talking and playing with Emily’s cat Ella:
My friends back home call me the ‘Cat Whisperer’. I never met a cat I couldn’t charm. Ella is no exception. Easy.. Oh sure, she tried to play shy, but my persistence paid off. I probably could have taken her home with me. Probably.
Also, Emily’s got a great apartment. A very nice place to crash. I am very impressed, my friend. I shall crash again in the future.
We decided that we would sleep in the next morning and that we would go to Dunkin’ Donuts for – dare I say it – FRESH PO…meh, nevermind.
We were going to take our time heading down to Washington, D.C. for the 9:30 club’s 30th anniversary party. We had tickets – it seemed like we were only three of about 7 or 8 NERDS to put it plainly there to see Dave G. It just seemed like it was going to be laid back some where we wouldn’t have to fight for a place up front. Emily even said ‘if I don’t get up front, no big deal’ which I rolled my eyes at her because she always says that shit and then ends up in the front anyway.
We ended up getting in to D.C. around 5pm-ish – and only stood in line about 20 min. before they let us in. Our friend Risa met up with us (she was my +1) and we met up with Brad & MJ as well. And what can I say – here we are – a bunch of NERDS.
Looks like MJ is offering you some nachos. They had all sorts of treats there, including:
I didn’t partake in any cupcakes or nachos. Again, keeping it real and staying away from those sorts of things. Trying to be a bit more healthy these days. I ain’t getting any younger, you know? Plus, braces + chocolate cake are two things that just don’t go together well. I could just see me smiling at whomever might be on stage at the moment and cake all up in my grill. No thanks, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
We were sort of worried about how ridiculous is it of us to go down to D.C. to see Dave for about 15 minutes, but the truth is the entire show was amazing. Not only that, I’m now a fan of Clutch and have illegally downloaded their music! Go me!
And big deal if it was a silly thing to do. I had a great time! I got to spend the weekend with really good friends – got to make new friends at the birthday party – got to see a few shows over the weekend and just get the hell out of Boston for five minutes. I’m always up for that. For whatever reason I always feel sort of claustrophobic in Boston.
We had to head back to New Jersey that night because both Emily & Veronica had to work the next morning. I could tell the way Emily was acting that she was exhausted and wasn’t really up for driving back, but we had no choice. We were in her car and I offered to drive. I know it must be hard to turn over the keys to your car to someone whom you have no idea how their driving skills are, but I assure you I have 25+ yrs of driving experience and I’m good. I almost had to interview for the job. Really. I understand, Emily. I get it. It’s hard to know if you’re doing the right thing. At the same time, you’re falling asleep and I’m wide awake. Have faith in me, darlin’.
She handed over the keys – jumped in the backseat – Veronica in front next to me and I drove out of the McDonald’s parking lot where we had stopped to get some grub. (Emily & I split a Quarter pounder.)
It took two turns – one right turn out of the parking lot and one right turn on to the Freeway for both girls to know that I was a good choice for the job and in no time, they were both snoozing away.
I drove us through Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and into New Jersey no problem. I actually enjoyed it. When I moved to Boston, the lease on my car was up so I turned it in and opted for public transportation. I gotta tell you – I miss driving a lot now. Not at first, but now I do. So it was nice to drive at night where it was quiet and hardly anyone was on the road – the radio on softly and a million memories from the weekend to think about. We crossed the border back into New Jersey right around 3:30am and I drove us straight to the train station where Emily woke up and took back control of her car. We said our goodbyes to Emily and she left to get a few more hours of sleep before work. Veronica and I caught the 3:53am train to New York Penn Station and I officially was tired. I slept until Secaucus, New Jersey. We pulled into Penn Station at 5:21am.
Once at Penn, I said goodbye to Veronica as she headed back to East Rutherford, NJ. I caught my train back to Boston. Couldn’t sleep a wink. So I was on about an hour sleep for around 36 hrs before I took a nap. I woke up 45 minutes later around 5:15pm and didn’t know if it was am, pm – how long I’d slept; if I was late for work or what. That’s a good weekend, friends. When you are completely unaware of what the hell is up at the moment.
My friend Patrick & wife Cheryl took their oldest daughter, Harper (4 yrs old) to Disneyland this past March. Harper is my BFF and she’s wearing the pink princess dress that I (Auntie Leece) bought for her at Christmas at one point in the video.
Harper has me by the heart strings. She’s just absolutely the most beautiful child and I love her very much. I get all teary eyed watching this – there’s not much of a girlie girl in me – I was always one of the guys – but this does get me choked up.
So if you weren't aware or just don't pay attention or care – I now live in Boston, Massachusetts after living in Texas for the most part of my life. I've lived in Florida, New Mexico, and Colorado as well but those are somewhat close to Texas and in ways similar.
Boston / New England is a whole other ballgame. It's like moving to another country really. That's the interesting thing about the United States. It's just so massive that when you think about it on a much bigger scale, there's no way that we as a country will ever see eye to eye on a lot of things because we all live and lead much different lives. There's a smart ass "street" girl that I work with that never fails to remind me that I wouldn't "know" this or that because I'm from Texas. Yet somehow I have found a way to survive the mean streets of Beantown. The reality is that she wouldn't last five minutes in my hometown and I promise you that I have traveled my country much more than she ever has….
There's one thing in particular that I sort of began to notice after moving to Boston and that's a saying that everyone seems to use around here. "All Set". Apparently this phrase can be used for anything. ANYTHING.
I was hired as an Executive Administrative Assistant for Children's Hospital Boston in the Information Services Dept. This is basically I.T. Anything computer related / website related / telecom related / security in I.T. related … that's what I help out with.
I support three directors – one who happens to be a Doctor as well. My life is busy at work. I usually go home at night and collapse. In addition to supporting the Director of Operations, Director of Applications & Development and Dr. Harper – the Chief Medical Information Officer who works the Emergency Dept in his "spare" time – I help support all of their staffs – I'd say anywhere near 20 -30 more people. I'm not complaining in any way at all. In fact, I love my job – I love working for the people that I work for and am proud to be employed by a hospital that is in the top 1% of my country. This place does amazing things for kids.
I digress… again….
When I went to work here, I noticed that people worked at a really fast pace – which is fine by me. I just had to get used to people wanting a million things all at once and today it's like a second nature. I can anticipate what will be needed now and usually have things together before I have to be asked.
Of course there's the learning curve. So I asked a lot of questions in the beginning and I started noticed that everyone's response was "No, don't worry about that – you're ALL SET."
"Hi – I need to order business cards for Joe.. do you need any?"
"No, I'm all set."
"I'm ordering lunch for the noon meeting tomorrow – Do I need to reserve extra time in the conference room in case you guys run over?"
"No, we're all set."
"Would it be possible for me to work a little earlier tomorrow so I could leave early for a dentist appt.?"
"Yeah you're all set – just put it in my calendar that you're leaving early."
How I went through life not knowing that I was "all set" is beyond me.
Not only did they say this at work – I noticed that when shopping – rather than handing me my bag full of clothing and thanking me for spending that hard-earned money in their store, they handed me the bag and said 'you're all set' which I have come to learn basically means 'now get the fuck out of my face. I'm through with you.'
God forbid you eat at a restaurant. I learned the hard way NEVER let your server ask you if you're all set and reply with a yes – because you will NEVER see that server again. Once you tell them that yes, you're all set- they disappear and if you go find them because you decided to order coffee – they'll actually tell you to your face, 'But you said you were all set." As if "All Set" is the end-all, be-all of statements. Like I'm not allowed to change my mind because I declared on this, the 1st day of April 2010 that I was "All freakin' SET". I wish I was exaggerating – even in the slightest, but I'm not.
One of the other Directors here at work lived in San Antonio, TX for about 12 yrs, so he feels my pain. He understands my frustration with "All Set". We don't say that in Texas. When asked what we do say – I tell people that 'well, if I purchase items from a store, usually the response from an employee is 'thank you'."
"You want to go out tonight?" "No thanks."
What is this 'all set' crap?
So we laugh about it from time to time and he even sent me an article from a newspaper discussing All Set. The writer's frustration was that he didn't understand it either. 'What does that mean??' If we're together and hear someone else use the phrase – we usually work in a 'what does that MEAN???' line.
So that leads me to something that happened to me a few days back. I spent the day at a Microsoft training class where at the end of the session we were asked to fill out a survey. After reading the survey, I got to the bottom and to my utter shock and surprise – stumbled upon the final question. I was so amazed that I had to take a photo of it. You'll note I didn't bother choosing the "None" option for obvious reasons.
Who adds 'I'm all set" to the 'none' option? This is insanity. I thought about it on my way home on the train that night. I also turned my iPod on to listen to some music and my shuffle landed on 'Skin & Bones' by Foo Fighters where Dave G. ends up singing "The more I give the less I get, But I'm all set, I'm all set."
In my spare (ha!) time, one of my hobbies is genealogy. I don't mean just keeping a small notebook with family names listed – I'm talking full-blown research.
I was always interested in genealogy for as long as I can remember. My mom & dad always had scraps of paper laying around with homemade "family trees" so my family history was always there for me. My great aunt Bertha on my mom's side was the go-to gal for any and all family related information. Bertha's now entering her 90s and I have taken over for both sides of my family. Any info you need, I'm the person that gets the phone call to answer questions.
It seems like my life theme anyway is trying to always search for deeper meaning or look for bigger & better answers for anything and so family tree research sort of helps me quench that thirst so to speak.
I think I got really serious about it probably about 10 yrs ago. My father was diagnosed with cancer and only had months to live. He was somewhat estranged from his side of the family and I figured that I needed to gather anything that I could before he was gone. Just FYI – you can never ask enough questions or get enough answers. I knew who my grandfather was and where my last name somewhat came from but that was about it. My dad couldn't even tell me the name of his paternal grandfather. That was my first obstacle that I'm happy to say that I've uncovered.
I mean – it's kind of silly but when you finally get that death certificate in your hand and there's a name – it's like a whole other world opens up for you. Ed. That's it. That was his name. But he was finally identified. He actually did exist. I honestly don't know much more about him at this point, but I know his name and if not for him I wouldn't be here. I know he was with my great-grandmother for a while and they had my grandfather and his sister, and then divorced and pretty much that's all anyone knows about him.
I guess it's sort of like putting a huge puzzle together and it's so satisfying when you've looked for that piece that doesn't fit anywhere only to find it right in front of you.
The countless hours I've spent walking graveyards in Texas, Oklahoma… keeping in touch with family members who might travel to Tennessee or Virginia (where both of my families come from) to get them to stop off at random cemeteries to get information. In doing all of this, I seem to have inspired my younger sister & brother as well. So it's nice when they can uncover something too.
If you're going to start on Family Tree research, I recommend "Family Tree Maker" software. It's simple to use and all you have to do is enter the information into a database and it can print out your family history in several ways. There's several versions out there now and different prices for them depending on your needs.
Some of the cooler things that I have discovered:
Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie & Clyde fame) was my cousin. This is on my mom's side. Aunt Bertha swore me to secrecy on that one, but I don't care. I'm sure back in the day it was probably scandalous to admit being related to that clan, but it's more interesting to me now. I just finished reading a new biography on Bonnie & Clyde "Go Down Together" by Jeff Guinn. It was amazing to read that book and know exactly where in the Dallas area these two hung out and where they killed a Police Officer on Hwy 114 in Grapevine. I lived a block away from there for almost 10 yrs and never knew.
Carl Hubbell was my cousin:
A left-handed Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Giants – he was called "King Carl" or "The Meal Ticket". He struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx to name a few. He married my great-aunt's daughter. Actually he's my First cousin twice removed in-law. That's what the software tells me (!)
My mother's family – the Tucker family – came from England and settled in Bermuda. Anything in Bermuda named Tucker (and there is a lot of it) is my family. I'd love to go there someday. After Bermuda they moved on to Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg to be exact. The St. George Tucker house is still there as well as many monuments to Judge Tucker.
The Tuckers were also the first in Williamsburg to have a bathroom with running water so you're welcome, Virginia. The Tuckers knew what was important.
I sort of neglected my research last year. I'm hoping to get back to it this year in full force. I should plan on trying to at least research one person a week. Time to dust off the ol' form letters to different county clerks with the ability to pull birth & death certificates. If you're lucky, sometimes you'll run across someone in the clerk offices who is really into the genealogy stuff as well and they'll pull a little more for you. Thanks very much to the clerk in Wichita Falls, TX who not only provided certificates to me, but also some newspaper clippings and burial plot locations. It sounds crazy, I know, but it's part of your history and for future members as well.
I'm off now to research these crazy, German bastards – the Bishop family – on my mom's side.
I'm aware that there are some issues with people being unable to leave comments on this blog. Sorry about that. I'm not sure what the problem might be. I don't know much about this software so if you do want to comment, feel free to send me an e mail. email@example.com
I can't remember if we knew that TCV would be on Saturday Night Live before they scheduled another date at Roseland or the other way around. I do know that when I found out about the SNL thing, I made up my mind that I would try to go. Emily wasn't really sure that she wanted to try to go to SNL as she had done that previously when Foo Fighters played a while back. Veronica, Krista & I really wanted to and thankfully, Veronica had a hook up and ended up getting us a hotel room for free for the entire 3 nights that we were in New York. If not for her, we wouldn't have been able to do it. I knew Emily would end up coming because she always stresses over the situation (that IS a Jersey Shore reference since she's a Jersey girl) and claims she's not going. We all know better by now.
It probably was a good thing that she came up to go anyway because southern New Jersey and Philadelphia (where both she & Krista live respectively) got slammed with snow and they probably wouldn't have made it up for the show on Monday. The weird thing is that I live north of all of them in Boston and we didn't even get the slightest hint of snow.
So I worked on Friday and then caught a train to New York Penn Station. Krista drove up from Philly & picked up Veronica in New Jersey just across the Hudson River from NYC. They got to the hotel, checked in, and headed over to stand in line for SNL tickets and to hold a place for Emily & me. They were in line by 6 o'clock-ish. Emily had to work but took a train up right after work. There were 8 people in line ahead of Krista & Veronica. Emily got to the line around 7:30 or 8:00pm (I believe that's correct). I got to Penn Station around 10pm and after throwing on 15 layers of clothes and grabbing a cab up to Rockefeller Center, I was in line by 11:15pm. Officially, we were #s 8-11 in line.
There weren't too many people in line at this point. Less than what I figured. The line grew all night long up until ticket distribution at 7am.
So let me quickly describe the way that SNL works.
Every August, NBC hands out tickets to people who request them via e mail. The shows are set but the hosts & musical guests are not necessarily decided at that point. It sort of becomes a lottery and NBC sends out random tickets to random people. For example, if I request tickets, I have no say-so in what date I would get tickets for; I would only receive what they send me and then I would plan to be in NYC at that time. Guests & Musical guests are announced a few weeks or even just a week ahead of time.
The people that had tickets to the live show and the dress rehearsal for this particular show had no idea back in August that this is who they would be able to see.
Now we stood in line for stand-by tickets because there's a good chance that some of the people that requested tickets in August would not be able to show up for whatever reason. Weather (especially in this case) or just other plans or situations came up.
When you stand in line for stand by tickets, you have the option of choosing which show you want to see: Dress Rehearsal or Live show.
So at 7am when they promptly start handing out tickets, everyone in line gets a ticket, but it's still not a guarantee that you'll get into the show. Also, the tickets are numbered on the back and when you come back that evening for the show, you have to stand in line according to the number on your ticket. I like that because if you were there hours before others in the line, you're still in the same order so if you were there for 24 hrs before some guy that showed up at 6:59am you're still ahead of him. I hope that makes sense.
We chose the dress rehearsal for several reasons. Don't think we didn't talk in depth about this before and did the math and polled the people in front of us (what show are you choosing?) etc. etc. We weren't born yesterday. We know what's up. This requires a lot of chance, mathematical deductions, Dunkin Donuts coffee & luck.
Not to mention at dress rehearsal we would be able to see things that might not necessarily make the live show (which we would also be able to see on television).
I think we always sort of had a good feeling that we would get in. Only one person in front of us chose the Live show, but not sure if anyone that chose live got in. I know that for dress rehearsal, about 34 of us made it in.
As I said on the website, I know that we were called 'crazy' or 'nuts' or whatever for standing in line all night. I have to laugh at that. It was a small inconvenience for a few hours and the end result was very cool. Where's your sense of adventure? I grew up watching this TV show from Studio 8H. In the late 70s I watched it with my dad. I was a kid, but I laughed when he laughed and we were spending time together, so I loved it. I always watched it in the 80s and once when Mike Myers joined the cast I wrote my first fan letter (give me a break, I was still a teenager) and the dude wrote me back almost instantly with one of the funniest letters I ever read. Sure, he's a diva now and a little on the weird side, but he still took the time to do that. I know people knock SNL all the time – how it sucks – how they hate it. Whatever. I don't claim to watch it every Saturday now, but it's still very much a part of American television tradition and it's not something that I ever thought I would have the opportunity to attend. I'm glad I waited and got in to the show.
So back to our little in-line adventure. We had a lot of people stop to ask us what we were waiting in line for..? Most people were visiting from other countries and when we told them, they had no idea what we were talking about. I met 2 lovely women though from Ireland and had a nice conversation with them and they wished us luck.
I think I slept for a couple of hours and so did Emily & Veronica. Krista didn't sleep at all. There were a few trips to Dunkin Donuts for coffee and food and a few trips to McDonald's for bathroom breaks. There was a trip or two back to the hotel a few blocks up to drop off my bag and to grab a few things, but other than that, looking back, it seems like time went by really fast.
There was a couple in front of us that had bought a tent and brought it and set it up only to be told immediately that they had to take it down. The guy behind us was from Switzerland and had lived here for 4 months and had a light jacket on and no blanket or anything else. Dude, you were from Switzerland – why weren't you prepared better? He actually found a cardboard box and slept in it. I ended up giving him a blanket but jeez…I gotta wonder what you were thinking. We had sleeping bags, blankets, chairs, cots, wool coats, ski coats, LL Bean hand-warmers, snow boots – you name it and we had it. This is why it wasn't so bad – we were prepared.
The funny thing was that we seemed to be the only FF fans there. Everyone else was QOTSA fans or Led Zeppelin fans. Someone told me that some girl on twitter or some social networking site said she would probably be the only girl out there. HYSTERICAL.
As 6am approached, we had to start loading everything up and making more of a proper line to stand in. Photos, videos etc. were taken and then promptly at 7am, the tickets were handed out. Again, we had the choice of dress rehearsal and Live show. I told the girl handing the tickets out that I wanted dress rehearsal and she said "Dress Rehearsal?" as if to say 'that's a dumb choice' which made me somewhat question my decision for a split second. I grabbed up #8 as 1 person ahead of us went for Live and that was that. We were #s 8-11 for dress rehearsal.
We gathered our things and headed back to the hotel room. We crashed in no time and were up that afternoon to get ready for more standing in line.
We had to be back at NBC by 7:15pm. The people with confirmed tickets were in line and were sent upstairs to the studio as we stood in another line (in # order). We were told that the first 100 people would be moved into the other line where the confirmed ticket holders had been. This meant nothing. We were not guaranteed a seat until we were in the studio sitting in it. As we were standing there in line, we could see the metal detector that we would have to go through. I looked to my right and Josh walked in right past me. Of course this sort of surprised me and I was even more feeling the sense of 'oh man, if we don't get in this is going to really suck.' A few minutes later they took the first 30 of us up to the metal detector and into the elevator area. That's when Alain walked in. Yeah, you know exactly what went through my head at that point. Dave was going to walk in probably and then they would tell us the studio was full and to turn around and leave. For the record, I never saw Dave walk in. I don't know if he was there already or if he came in after we got upstairs. I sort of think he was there already.
Poor Emily. At the TCV show in Washington D.C. back in October, she had just got over a cold and still wasn't 100% and fainted in the front row; now here we are standing in the elevator area at 30 Rock and she starts feeling like she was going to faint. I don't know what it is with her and TCV shows – she just gets light headed and goes down. Luckily she held it together and was able to take the elevator up. We stood there for a while and with every passing minute you start thinking that the studio is probably more full than you thought and they won't need you. Finally they took the first 30 of us up and we got our wrist bands and walked down the hallway to the studio. Veronica and I were in front and right as we got past the check stand, they stopped Krista & Emily. Veronica & I had to go on, but once I got to the doorway I could see that there were plenty of seats. They were just trying to give the others a chance to get seated.
We were on the opposite side of stage where the band plays which sucks, but we were still there. There's TV monitors everywhere so you do get to see it all.
Studio 8H is really small and it's very interesting how they move sets all around the room and tape the skits all the way around the audience that is sitting in the seats that are on the floor. I always sort of thought that maybe they film everything where the host usually does the monologue. Not true. In fact, the house band sits there through the whole show.
For dress rehearsal everything runs exactly the same as it would during the live show. They count down for commercials and act as if they're live. Before the show Jason Sudeikis did a little stand-up and told us how things work and waved to us in the 'shitty seats'. Again, at least we were there. He told us that we would get about 30 more minutes than the Live show and we did. After watching the live show I know of one skit and one SNL commercial that was not aired at the live show.
Veronica & I sat next to one another and Emily & Krista were right behind us.
The first few skits were done & the Vultures came out to get ready for "Mind Eraser, No Chaser" and while it was good, I think there were sound issues maybe (not their fault…). As soon as the song was over they left the stage area and we didn't see them again until "New Fang". I gotta say it was a little surreal sitting there and oh there's Dave.. just walking by. Maybe at some point you would think that I would get used to it, but I don't. I still get really excited or happy to see him. I just adore the guy. What else can I say? I felt like when they played "New Fang" that they really sounded great. I think after listening to both songs at rehearsal and then again watching them on the live show on television that "New Fang" at rehearsal was the best.
Now one of the topics as we were sitting outside in line the night before was 'why don't they put Dave into a skit??' Everybody thinks it – everyone knows he'd be great at it.. why don't they? I almost hoped Lorne Michaels would have been around so we could have asked (ha) and let me just say that before the Facebook group "Let's get Betty White to host Saturday Night Live" started, that we considered starting some sort of petition for Dave. (Not really but now it would just look like we're stealing Betty White's thunder).
After "New Fang" was over and they cleared for commercial, Dave immediately jumped up and ran out of the studio. I looked at Veronica and said, "That's a man on a mission…" and Emily & Krista leaned over and said they thought him running out so fast like that meant that he was getting dressed / changed to be in a skit. Why else would he be so quick to get out of there as the other Vultures took their time? We sat through what would be a commercial break and the next skit – a wedding skit – began.
In a few moments, the "band" was introduced and Dave walked out in the best wig ever. We didn't even see his face, but knew it was him and I'm sure the four of us laughed louder than anyone else in the studio. The thing is that the skit that aired live was much shorter than what we saw. The intro was different as well as Fred Armisen talked much longer and gave a little more information on the band. I'm sad that some of it got cut – I hope someday they'll put the dress rehearsal version online. Dave seemed to giggle a little more with his 'unlike my prostate' line and even smashed a tray of champange glasses with his foot at one point. I know that there were issues with his microphone at the live show, but there were issues with it at the dress rehearsal too. Still, the 4 of us couldn't believe that first we actually all 4 got into the show and that we happened to be there when he finally was in a skit. It was great. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. A great experience.
After the show was over we headed out to grab some dinner really quick so that we could get back to the hotel to see the live show on TV.
The weird thing is that the order of the skits were completely different and they didn't air a SNL commercial "Tooter" that featured TCV. Also a skit got cut (thank GOD) of some bar scene / country hick music – honestly I can't even remember what the deal was with it only that it was awful and should have been cut. I was afraid that they weren't going to show the wedding reception skit but of course it was the last thing to air on the show.
We decided not to hang out and try to see them leaving NBC or anything like that. Honestly – I don't want to do that a lot because I don't want to bother Dave etc. too much. I got a nice wave at the show Monday night from him and that's cool enough for me. I just don't want to become a nuisance and be standing there every time that he turns around. I doubt he had any idea that we were at SNL. He never saw us that I know of – never looked in our direction which again is fine by me. Just trying to be respectful is all.
I'm sure there are a million other little details that I have overlooked but in a nutshell, that was our SNL experience.
First of all.. Christmas turned out really well. Delayed in Dallas on my flight out to my mom's, but other than that it was good to be home. Between the three of us kids, we hooked mom up with a nice down payment for a new car which she desperately needed. She's so happy about it now we can't peel her off of the ceiling.
Obligatory Christmas photo of the Anderson kids at the airport….
So it's a new year, and my self-improvement phase continues. ;-p For the 2nd time in my life, I sat my butt down in the orthodontist's chair and got braces. This one's on me because as a teenager, I had my first round of braces removed and basically laughed in the face of my retainer. It was the 80s – I looked at it and yelled, "AS IF!" 20+ yrs later I wonder why my smile is not what it used to be. Why that one 'snaggle tooth' as my dad called it continues to haunt me. No matter. On Monday I headed over to Dr. Riz's office and he hooked me up..literally. It's a 12 month deal. Pretty teeth in a year? Sign me up! My sister just finished her treatment and my brother is at the end of his, so far be it for me to not get in on the dental upgrades. It's really just an excuse to keep appointments up at my regular dentist Dr. Cook who is beautiful and cool and loves music. I love going to the dentist!!
On the downside..well.. I look stupid. I had three "compliments" yesterday: "you look miserable!!" THANKS! Also: thank God for yogurt, bananas & soup… and applesauce. I have a feeling that you will be the only cuisine I eat for a year. No joke. I'm in pain. My teeth have drastically shifted in the past 4 days. I can't imagine that I'll ever eat correctly again… or for a year. Maybe they'll feel better in a week… just in time to have one of them pulled to make space. Which means it will be a week or so before I'm over that…just in time for another adjustment.
One thing's for sure…. I'm going to smile my ass off in a year.
Normally I wouldn't draw so much attention to it, but I've had issues with my teeth for as long as I can remember.
I had what "they" call "Cleidocranial Dysplasia with multiple supernumerary teeth". This means I had three sets of teeth rather than two. My baby teeth, the full set I have now plus another full set of 32 teeth. FREAK. I know. I blame my dad who was stationed on nuclear submarines in the 60s and literally slept underneath a nuclear warhead. Thanks, dad for the radiation! Oh it's funny now, but when I was in 3rd grade and had to check into a hospital for surgery to remove 32 teeth…not so cool. 30 yrs later I'm still dealing with this shit!
There will be no Leecy photos for 1 yr. I'm goofy looking enough as it is without posting my nerdy braces online.
So that's what's going on with me now…other than trying to put together this birthday book for the website which is sometimes a full time job. Not complaining about it one bit though. It's nice to see all of the entries from all over the world and to read all of them and give people an opportunity to let Dave know how much he is loved & appreciated for his music.
Also, as I sit here freezing to death, I'm considering another move. Boston is cool and all, but it's not where I want to be for the rest of my life. The last time around when I considered leaving Dallas I had two options…. California or Boston. I really wanted to go to California, but then a health scare sort of set me back and my sister lived in Boston so I opted to move to Boston to go to work at Children's Hospital. I got some sweet benefits and had a surgery that kept me in the Brigham hospital for well over a week. (Best hospital EVER). That was two years ago and I'll never regret moving here if nothing else than to sort of basically save my life. Boston – I had my choice of some of the best doctors in the country / world. Two years later I'm extremely healthy and doing well and am sort of ready to move on. It will take me a while and I find myself still thinking about California, but at the same time I've spent a lot of time out in Seattle with my friend Linda and I am really starting to love Seattle.
Cold and rainy though… I'm tired of that and snow. So I have to decide. I put together a plan that will have me out of here in another year or so. Weighing my options.