Popping In

I've really lost a lot of steam when it comes to writing anything here on a regular (or even semi-regular) basis.  I think I've been in a bigger funk than I originally thought for a while now.  I can't seem to shake it completely, either.  I'm working on it, though.

To briefly recap what's been going on with me lately (and by lately, we're talking the last few months.)

■ Ken and I finally took our honeymoon in December.  We had a back to back cruise scheduled on the Celebrity Reflection.  It was fantastic.  For the 3 day leg, we managed to con, er, um, convince Brian & Kevin in Danbury to accompany us.  It's always a crap shoot vacationing with someone you've never vacationed with before and I have to say that we hit the jackpot!  The vacation was extremely relaxing (something I was in desperate need of) and we met a ton of people on board.  

■ We decided not to do anything for Christmas this year.  Every year it gets harder and harder to figure out what to get each other, so after having a chat about it, we decided to skip it for each other.  If I want something, I go out and buy it.  Same with Ken.  So instead, we adopted a family.  We'd never done anything like that before, so neither of us quite knew how it worked.  The list you get from social services that the family fills out is kind of heartbreaking.  I mean, I grew up pretty poor, but my parents never EVER let us feel that way.  They'd do what they had to to make Christmas happen each year.  The family we adopted didn't have that option.  Next year we're going to do this differently, though.  We kind of panic shopped for the family because we were gone for half the month of December on vacation.  Next year that won't happen and we'll have more time to do this and not feel rushed.  

■ I've been struggling with my weight.  I haven't been gaining weight or anything, but I feel like I've had to work harder than I ever have before to maintain where I'm at.  I'm running about five pounds higher than I normally like to, but I'm still in a good space.  I know that I've been eating horribly and that certainly doesn't help.  But I don't know if I'm eating like I am as a form of sabotage or as a motivational tool to get my ass to the gym on a regular basis.  Tonight I'm feeling pretty fat after a hearty dinner (spaghetti & meatballs), and since the gym is closed this time of night on the weekends, I broke out the EA Sports Active on the Wii.  I haven't worked out along side that in maybe a year.  I hate to admit it, but as in as good shape as I think I am, it kind of kicked me in the butt.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep up working out with it for the next month.

■ My overtime got cut at work and I'm still just a little bitter about it.  I'm also thrilled beyond belief.  I was working myself into exhaustion.  The overtime was available and I had plenty to do, so I took full advantage of it.  I was looking for a way to cut back on it, but I can get pretty driven sometimes, so it just never happened.  Now that it's cut, I have time to do stuff.  I can sleep in just a little later every morning.  But I'm still feeling a little bent out of shape that some people lost it while others didn't.  I'll get over it.

■ I don't consider myself a vegetarian, but I've managed to cut meat completely out of my diet.  I've been having issues about where meat comes from and it's grossed me out.  2012 was about cutting back on eating meat and I was pretty successful.  I was eating meat once or twice a month tops.  In March and in June I had a week each where I ate a lot more of it, but in August I was done.  I haven't had meat since.  I don't know how long this is going to go on for, but for the time being, I'm quite happy not eating meat.  It makes dining out difficult, but there are usually two or three things to pick from on most menus.  And what's great is I don't miss meat.  I kind of miss bacon, but that's it.  Oh, and I mentioned spaghetti and meatballs earlier.... the meatballs are meatless meatballs from Trader Joe's and they're delicious!

■ That's it for now, I guess.  


Midge Ure

On Monday of last week, I was checking through my email and I stumbled onto the fact that Midge Ure was going to be in town on Saturday of the same week.  I don't know how I missed hearing about this.  I get regular emails from the venue he was going to be playing at.  I guess I just read the subject line in those emails and delete them rather than looking through them more thoroughly.  But Midge's name was in the subject and I got very excited.  I've never seen him before in concert (in any way, shape, form or band) and he's someone I'd love to see.  He's also someone I thought for sure I'd never have a chance to see.  He doesn't tour the US very often and if he did, I can't imagine him coming to a little backwater town like Woodstock, NY to play.  But he did.  I made the decision right then and there that I was going.  I figured I'd be going alone since Ken has been sick as a dog fighting the flu.  And even if he wasn't, he barely knows Ultravox, let alone any of Midge's solo stuff.  I told him I was going to the show and he decided that the had to go.  He had to go because of his co-dependency and not because he's been dying to see Midge.  He really has a problem letting me do things I really want to do without him.  He figured I'd have more fun if I went with someone.  While that's true, it's not necessarily the case with something who has the flu.  But he decided to go and so we went.

Woodstock is about 50-55 minutes from where we live.  We decided to hit up a Mexican joint that's not far from the theater before going to the show.  So we left the house a little earlier than I would have liked to to get to Gypsy Wolf.  It's great food and I love when we have the chance to go there.  As we were finishing up, friends of ours were just arriving.  That rarely happens here at home, let alone when we're an hour from home, but it did.  Our friend Sara was out with her boyfriend for a pre-birthday dinner.  (Her last dinner in her 30's, she proclaimed!)  That was a nice bonus.

Anyway, the theater is a couple doors down from the restaurant, so we headed there, but got there about 20 minutes before the doors opened.  So we waited it out in the car.  No big whoop.

The audience was on the smallish side.  There couldn't have been more than 100 people there total.  But the Bearsville Theater isn't a huge venue to begin with.  From comments the opening band (Right The Stars) made, this crowd was huge compared to the previous night.  They played for about 45 minutes and I didn't think they were half bad.  Never heard of them before, but I'm looking forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Midge hit the stage at 10pm, with the opening band in tow.  They were not only the opening band, but also Midge's touring band.  And he was great.  Just amazing.  He was so on the mark last night.  He apologized for the roughness of his voice as he woke up with a sore throat, but it didn't sound out of the norm to me.

The setlist was a career spanning greatest hits.  He did a lot of solo stuff, he did a nice selection of Ultravox songs and he also threw in a Visage song and ended the show's encore with a solo acoustic version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

The highlight of the show for me was hearing him perform "Vienna" live.  It's one of my all-time favorite songs and one of the most perfect pop songs ever recorded.  I took a video of him singing it with my phone and have included it at the bottom of this post.  I snapped a few crappy cellphone pictures as well.

It was an incredible concert.  I'm so glad I went.  I'd really be beating myself up if I missed this once in a lifetime chance to see him.  Even Ken thanked me for this show.  He said he knew two songs, but loved every single one of them and was so happy he went, flu or not.

The set list for last night's show was as follows:

I See Hope In The Morning Light
Love's Great Adventure
Call of the Wild
Fade To Grey
Cold Cold Heart
Answers To Nothing
Just For You
No Regrets
Dear God
One Small Day
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
If I Was
Do They Know It's Christmas?


Sundays In 2012

Last year I finally motivated myself to work on a fun little photo project that I'd been thinking about doing for a while.  I thought it would be fun to take a weekly picture of something throughout the course of a year to watch how it changes.  The biggest stumbling block I had was trying to determine what it was that would be my subject.  I wanted something that would go through definite changes.  I finally settled on the "forever wild" area right along side my house.  I thought it would be neat to watch the trees bud, grow leaves and eventually lose them.  I thought it would be kind of cool to watch the state of my lawn, as well.  The year before I did this, I was pretty sure I saw it go from brown to green to brown to green to brown over the course of the year, but this way I'd have proof of it.

I chose a spot in the street to stand to take the pictures.  I tried to pick a spot that I would remember from week to week so that the pictures would be consistent.  For the most part, they are, though what I tried to keep as a consistent center seemed to move left or right each week, but I did a pretty good job of keeping the same view.  I also tried to take the picture at around the same time of day each Sunday.  It was generally late morning, though a couple of times I forgot and got the picture later in the day.  Although I have 52 photos, there were 53 Sundays last year.  I missed only one and that's only because we took an almost two week vacation in December.  Luckily not much changes that time of year in this area.

I was fascinated to see exactly how quickly the trees and bushes filled in once they started, and how equally quickly they all died off when the fall hit.  The thing I found most interesting was the constantly changing color of the grass and how quickly it would go from green to brown and back to green and then back to brown.  It was surprising because we have a sprinkler system in the ground and made sure the grass got plenty of water all spring and summer long.

Here are my pictures.  I hope you enjoy them.