Hey, Hey, It’s My Birthday

37

It’s the normal human body temperature…in Celsius

It’s the number of plays written by William Shakespeare

It’s the number of weeks Michael Jackson’s album, Thriller, spent at #1 (coincidentally, also the first album I ever owned)

It’s the number of vertebrae of a Tyrannosaurus Rex

It’s the most commonly chosen number between 1-100

If you choose any single digit (1-9) and write it out three times. Say 3. 333, then add the sum of those numbers 3+3+3=9 and take the three digit number 333 and divide by the sum 9 and you get 37. Works for any single digit number.

It’s the age deemed officially too old to work for the FBI (and Homeland Security, and Treasury and the CIA)

It’s the year Amelia Earhart disappeared (1937)

Richard Nixon was the 37th president

Rubidium is the 37th element on the periodic table

It’s the television channel reserved for radio astronomy

In roman numerals it is XXXVII

It is also my age for the next 365 days. Now that my future no longer contains the option of becoming a profiler and working for Hotch, I shall strive to find a way to go on. But so far, 37 hasn’t treated me too poorly. I got a call from about 20 8-year-olds (and one 37-year-old) who sang me happy birthday. It’s not really your birthday until you hear all those tiny voices singing confidently….until they reach your name! But it was a terrific way to start my morning.

In the manner of technicalities, I’m not actually 37 until 5:00pm today. At that exact time, my mother and I will be watching a movie, it starts precisely at 5:00pm. And no birthday of mine is complete without a handsome man, which is why I chose London has Fallen with Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart. (Okay, that was mostly because there is nothing else out I’d want to see but I do want popcorn on my birthday). Of course, my favorite handsome man, Christian Kane, has been singing to me since I woke up this morning. Literally my fave CK playlist has been on repeat, nothing better than hearing his voice on my day.

Lastly, I’m treating myself to Jimmy Johns for lunch today. Seems a good way to celebrate. I’m also leaving work early, another good way to celebrate.

Happy Birthday to me, and thank you to all of you who reached out to me on this day.

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(gratuitous photo, just because it makes me happy and it’s my day. Also, this was now FIVE years ago)

Luke Bryan

I’ve been noticeably absent from the blog for a while. And, as the author, I’m just assuming my absence is notable. At any rate, I want to share this cute story with you.

Last night, I was out with my brother Zack for his birthday. Now, it was way later than I usually stay out and I just wanted to go home, but it was his birthday, so I manned up and decided to go have another drink with him. He chose Demoris. Fine. Haven’t been there in YEARS, but fine by me.

Let’s pause to go back to this weekend. Saturday, I am catching up on email. I get a newsletter from K102 with country updates. I don’t always read it, but this time it said Luke Bryan in the subject line. I love Luke Bryan. Love him out loud. I’ve been saying for a couple years that I’d go see him the next time he came here. Of course, I somehow missed when the tickets went on sale, even though I had it marked on my calendar, and the concert sold out. So I don’t get to see him. Disappointed, but I’ll live.

Anyway, this newsletter was about the upcoming concert. Evidently they’ve partnered up with Miller to do a promotion called Luke-ing for Luke. They’ve put cardboard cutouts of Luke Bryan all over the Twin Cities. If you find one, you take a selfie with it and Tweet it to K102 and then you’re entered in a drawing to win tickets. Now, the newsletter made it sound mysterious, like you had to hunt for these cutouts. I immediately thought it was a cute idea and about 10 years ago, I’d have called up Kelly and we’d have spent a Saturday driving around town hunting down these cutouts. But I don’t do that now.

Back to last night. Zack and I head into Demoris, which is a nondescript sort of place in Oakdale of all cities. We sit at the bar, I just settle on my stool, when I see, across the room, a lifesize cutout of Luke Bryan!

I jumped (okay, not really, the boot doesn’t allow jumping, but I mentally jumped) off my barstool and grabbed Zack’s arm and said “come with me”. I dragged my brother across the bar and gave him my phone and made him take a pic of me with the cutout. “I don’t do that now” apparently doesn’t hold up when I’m faced with the reality of Luke Bryan’s handsome cardboard face.

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So I explained this to Zack and he said, “so of all the places in the Twin Cities they put one of these at Demoris?” See? We both thought it was weird. I said I guess so and then proceeded to tell the bartender who also had no idea why we were taking pics with a cutout.

Today, I looked up the rules, in order to Tweet it, which I did, and as of this posting, my Tweet is featured on the page (this link here) explaining the rules. I imagine that will be true until someone else Tweets with that hashtag. Turns out that on the website they give a list of all the places you can find a cutout, which was not in the newsletter. I thought it was way more of a contest. But still. If you see one, take your pic with it and Tweet it in. And please take me to the concert if you win.

And that right there is why it is worth it to sometimes say yes when you actually want to say no.

Mom’s 60th Bash

Not much of a bash, as we were all gearing up for surgery, but we managed to sneak in some fun. Just sharing some of the amazing photos.

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Reading the card with Grandma

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I couldn’t love this any more. Simon was taking photos and he took this.

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And this is one of my new all-time faves. Uncle Chad is beloved by the kids, but this? This is too cute. Someone will be getting this for a birthday gift.

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Like I said, Simon was taking photos.

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Uncle Nick stopped by for a visit. He’s pretty fond of Cam.

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And this, he’s playing dead on her lap and she’s just letting him. Then he’ll get bored or she’ll say, “Simon, you’re too heavy” and he’ll move. They are so funny together.

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Now Arionna has the camera and Simon darted away, he was playing my guitar next to me on the couch but wouldn’t be in the picture.

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And lastly, Grandma with her Grandsons. How darling and perfect. And they were tired, this was the end of the night.

It was a lovely family day and I hope Mom enjoyed it as much as I did.

The Second Year of Cam

I honestly don’t think I ever blogged his first birthday. It’s cool. But I wanted, not to recap the whole Curious George party, but just to post a couple of the photos, to remember.

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Big sister, and Cousin Layla

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A smattering of guests

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A birthday party? And so no one will yell at us or tell us to stop banging on the piano!?!

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Family unwrapping station

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He started to cry when they took the cake away to cut it. I really think he thought it was all for him!.

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Oh, much happier now. And who needs cake AND pudding?

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Last, but not least, my darling little nephew, all happy to be 2 and delighted by Curious George. Happy Birthday, Cam, Auntie Livi loves you bunches and bunches!

Best Mom Ever Turns 60

Happiest of happy birthdays to my favorite mom.

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Today, she turns 60 years wise. Without even trying I could name 60 reasons I love her. Or 60 things she’s taught me. Or tell you 60 wonderful stories about her. But I don’t need to, because at the end of the day, it all comes down to one simple thing.

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She. Is. The. Very. Best.

 

Green Bay and Door County

As previously mentioned…road trip to GB. In truth, I was not impressed with GB. The city was kind of lame. Not much nightlife, few tourist attractions, just kind of boring. After the Jake Owen concert, we wanted to grab some food and some beer. We were out at just before 11pm and, seriously, everything was closed. We did find this awesome sign….
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And eventually found a place open to midnight. We were the ONLY customers. We ate and got the hell out so the guy could close up and go home. It was fairly lame.

Friday morning, we got up and Elena and I headed out to Lambeau Field. It’s iconic. One of those things. Neither of us are huge football fans, but it seemed like something you should see. So off we went. Kind of a long story about bad signage, security who don’t know anything, and Lane and I ended up hopping fences and breaking in to Lambeau. Okay, we didn’t really break in, but it felt like it.
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Once we got inside and into the line, it was cool. We were going to do the tour then meet up with Nance and Ryan for lunch. Then when we got up there….turns out the tours were FULL. The next free tour was 3.5 hours away. No way. I mean, it would have been fine, but I am not waiting that long to tour a football stadium. Unless Tom Brady is giving the tour, but I doubted that was the case. So instead, we walked around and took pictures of ourselves AT the stadium. It was fine. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, that’s good enough, right? (Probably for everyone in the world except my Aunt Kate, right Sara?)

See? I was there.

We regrouped and decided that GB was lame enough we were going to drive up to Door County. We headed north and ended up in Sturgeon Bay. We had a nice lunch and then walked all over the cute little town, ducking into different shops and just hanging out. The town was so cute. Bought a few nice gifts…then we found a wine and olive oil shop. Um, awesome? Oh yes. They had free samples of everything. Olive oil. Cheese. Snacks. Wine. You could sample any of their wines, for free. Then they had a distillery sampler. I did this. For $5 you got to sample three distilled alcohols and you got a free shot glass. Seemed more than worth it to me. I tried cherry brandy, single malt whiskey, and cherry/orange bitters. Then I mixed the bitters with the whiskey for a down and dirty manhattan. It was good. Potent. After slugging those shots, I think I was a little tipsy. Good thing I wasn’t driving.

Sturgeon Bay is proud of its heritage and there were fish (presumably sturgeon) sculptures all over this town. Finally I decided we had to have a pic of at least one, so here is Nancy and the sturgeon.

No one really had a plan, so I said, we couldn’t come all the was to GB without, you know, actually seeing Green Bay, and since Door County is an isthmus that sits between the bay and Lake Michigan, I said we should see both.

First stop….Lake Michigan.
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Of course since it is the end of July, it should be cloudy and about 68 degrees….yeah, it was cold. We were all in jackets. Crazy weather. But it was still amazing. Beautiful.

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I wanted a nice picture of all of us. Luckily Ryan has crazy long arms, so he did a nice selfie with the camera.
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On the shores of Lake Michigan.

And then Nancy grabbed my camera and took this.
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Wow! I love this so much. My new favorite photo of us.

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My toes in Lake Michigan. That one’s for Kelly.

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Please note the choppy water and crashing waves. I was wearing knee length capris, but the waves were crashing so hard it was splashing up to my thighs. I was wet by the time we left the beach.

Next stop….Green Bay.
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It was just about sunset, so we got there just in time. Note how calm the water is. The bay is protected, so the water was super calm, even though we were only about 10 miles from the Lake on the other side. Weather was the same, but the water was very different.

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These photos were taken in Egg Harbor. At the Egg Harbor Marina. Do you see those big rocks? Well, they were perfect for climbing and seeing the bay, but they also housed giant nests of oversized SPIDERS. Freaked me the fuck out. No kidding. I almost had a meltdown. Surrounded by thousands of giant spiders. Not cool. I was not enjoying this at all.

Elena finally found me a spot that was spider free. So she said. I’m guessing it wasn’t, but she said it was and I chose to believe her. There was no beach so you had to climb down the rocks to get to the water and I wanted to dip my toes into the bay.
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Notice my hand resting on the rock? I’m barely bending. Those rocks were HUGE. It was an effort to climb up and down them to get to the water, but I’ve officially dipped my toes in Green Bay, so I’m happy. And no spiders came near me.

Then, as we’re walking back, Ryan kicks a spider web. On purpose, “just to see what would happen”. Freaking boys. Of course the spiders freak out and start running madly all over the place. AT ME. I was screaming and running. Not cool, Ryan. Elena finally had to tell him to knock it off, because I was not enjoying this trip to spiderville.

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Our group shot in front of the bay.

Before we left, a woman was fishing and caught a little fish. She said what kind but I can’t remember. She told us she was going to feed it to the gulls.
So she tosses this fish on the sidewalk. This giant seagull lands and the poor fish is flopping desperately, then:

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He picked him up…and swallowed him whole. It was crazy. Impressive, even. Circle of life, I guess.
Here’s the victor, digesting his meal.
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We left spiderville and drove the hour and a halfish back to GB. At some point, I forced everyone to stop at an historical marker. I love these things. I always stop on road trips to see things you never expect. We stopped at a cool cemetery and learned that Door County has a strong Belgian population, but that was not as cool as this.

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That’s right, we literally drove halfway to Santa’s house. Take that. Incredibly awesome if you ask me. I wished it weren’t cloudy so we might have seen the North Star at a 45º angle, but alas, that’s what happens when you’re just rolling with it.

When we got back, we rapid-changed and ended up cabbing all over town, in order to end up at a karaoke bar walking distance from the hotel. Whoops.

But karaoke was the point. Elena had it on her bucket list. Somewhere in the mess of my photos, there is a video of her singing but I am not uploading it for many reasons (I can’t find it, it’s long, I need to upload it on YouTube first, I don’t have her permission) take your pick. But if you want to see it, just ask, it is on my phone.

I also got Nancy to sing, she and I did a duet of Wrong Song by Rayna James and Juliette Barnes (from the TV series Nashville). I was Rayna (the amazing Connie Britton, who I might actually like to be) and it was fun. She almost chickened out, but she had to go up. I couldn’t sing both parts. I physically dragged her on the stage. There is also a video of that somewhere. Ask Lane. And I was wearing a dress. True story.

Mostly we just drank, hung out with the locals, and made fun of Jesus. Oh, did I forget to mention that Jesus was there? A young, dark haired man, was at the bar, wearing a caftan and birkenstocks. Couldn’t have looked more like Christ…well, unless he had a beard. Maybe it’s true and he’s come back. Not sure why he’d choose karaoke at Mikey’s bar in Green Bay, WI, but who am I to judge our Lord and Savior? Which is exactly why, at the end of the night, when we were about to walk back to the hotel, when he came outside and asked me to dance, I accepted. (No one thought to take a picture, but this happened). Somehow we drifted into the road. And that is the story of how I danced in the street with Jesus Christ. Because one day I want to get into Heaven and I figure St. Peter will appreciate this story.

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Elena grabbed this gem just before we were leaving, mere minutes before my dance with Christ. (That gets funnier every time I say it).

The next day it was up and at ’em as we headed for home. We had long since planned the long route home, in order to detour past the Mouse House Cheese House. My stories about this place are always at the end of super long blogs, but oh well. That link will take you to my last visit there. This visit was similar and no less awesome. That may well be my favorite place in all Wisconsin. The food, the cheese, the fudge, the cheese. It’s heaven in Windsor, WI.

That’s a lot of religious references in this decidedly secular trip. All in all, it was a fun couple of days and good to go away.

I first started writing this post about a month ago (Ha! Exactly one month ago, August 18 is when I started this draft), and hope I didn’t forget anything essential. My life has gone a bit sideways since then, but that makes it all the more important to get this published. When I look back on the summer of 2014, I will probably think of my mom and her illness. But I don’t want to forget Elena turning 35 and our fun getaway to Green Bay.

And dancing with the Son of God.

Alone With Him

This year, for her birthday, Lane found out that a country band she likes, The Cadillac Three (TC3), were opening for singer Jake Owen, ON her actual birthday. The catch was, they were performing in Green Bay, WI. She asked me, her sister (Nancy) and Nancy’s husband, Ryan, to road trip with her.

*I* was super excited. I am a Jake Owen fan. Elena didn’t know much about him and Nance and Ryan don’t even like country music. An odd group, but still, it was to celebrate the birthday of one of our favorite people. We drove to GB the day of the show, checked into the hotel, and then headed out to the show.

It was at the Resch Center, the big arena next door to Lambeau Field. Our seats were pretty far away, but directly facing the stage. Imagine, for the locals, being in the Xcel Center, and the stage is at one end of the arena, and you are at the other, then up two levels. This is important, because I got a new camera for Christmas and this was my first chance to test out the amazing zoom.

We walked in and TC3 was coming on the stage. On my phone it was 6:57, the show was set to start at 7. Apparently these guys are crazy prompt. They were a rocking good time, super entertaining. I was not a fan when we went in, but now? I love them. High energy, fun, great sound. It was so loud it almost hurt to listen to, but even so, they were terrific.

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There they are. Notice how it seems like we’re pretty close? We aren’t. Amazing zoom this camera has.

Then there was a second opener, Parmalee. I do not like them. During their set, we wandered around the Resch center for food and beer. Ryan took a photo of me and Lane, since it was her actual birthday and all…

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I love that picture!

Finally, after what seemed like a really long time, Jake Owen hit the stage.

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He popped up right in front of us. That’s without the crazy zoom. And blurry because I was excited to see him right there. And surprised.

Then he walked through the crowd up to the stage.

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I know, it seems like we are super close, but we weren’t. And yes, he is barefoot. Was the whole concert.

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I mean, seriously? When I got home I told my mom, (who gave me the camera) “I LOVE my new camera!” Because I never would have gotten these amazing shots otherwise.
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I have a bunch of video, too, but I am not posting those because it’s a pain and really, no one really cares but me. But if you’re curious, ask me in person and I’ll show you.

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About the show….this guy was AMAZING. Honestly, I liked his music. But I probably wouldn’t have set out to see him in concert if this opportunity hadn’t come up. Now? I am a HUGE Jake Owen fan. He is an incredible live performer. One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen in my life. By my count, this was around the 40th concert I’ve ever seen, and very possibly the best one. This guy is magnetic, he drew in the crowd and every person in there was having fun. He would allow nothing less. He was interacting with the crowd (he kept reaching down and stealing people’s phones and taking selfies and giving the phones back, it was so cool) and had such high energy.

Then at one point, the music started and he wasn’t on stage….where could he be?
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Oh, there he is. On our level, IN THE AUDIENCE, in a random section. Just showed up next to fans and stood there, singing the whole song. The whole time he was twisting around so everyone nearby got a chance to be in a photo with him. It was amazing.

Then when the song was over, he walked through the crowd back to the stage. On his way, he saw a mom with her two little girls. They were small…maybe 6 and 8? He grabbed the girls by the hands and invited them up on stage. The mom got to go, too. But he had the girls go around the stage and play instruments with his band. He gave them drumsticks, then, he brought them center stage and knelt down next to them, and sang to them. Then he gave the older one his mic and let her sing part of the song. I was melting. It was so cute. Mom was on the edge of the stage taking pictures the whole time. Then when the song ended, he walked them back to mom and knelt down between them, with his arm around each of them, and let mom take a picture of him with the girls. It was so cute and he was singing the whole time, so the concert didn’t drag, it was just what he was doing during that song.

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He was truly incredible. I want to go see him again, that’s how good he was. When the show was over, I said to Nancy and Ryan (who are NOT country fans) “what did you think?” Ryan said, “it was awesome, I think I’m his fan now”. Nancy said she loved it, too. Neither one had high expectations, but both were blown away. Elena thought it was incredible. And it was. I cannot say enough good things about this show.

And I will end with one more thing. Jake Owen has the whitest teeth of possibly any human being on earth. They were blindingly white, and since he’s got a huge and infectious smile, we saw those pearly whites often. I kept saying that night “man his teeth were so white” and I don’t want to forget, so I am including it here.

Now the very last thing….
This is my favorite photo of the night.
P7240427Next up is a post of the rest of our trip to GB, but this is the concert recap.