Initially I wasn’t intending on going to Tulsa for the September shows, in addition to holiday weekend flight prices being ridiculous I was trying to tell myself that 4 out of the 8 shows was enough. Well, after the August shows, even with Tulsa holding me hostage for another day, when I got home I decided to book for September. (And now am kind of kicking myself for not trying for July as well – although those flights were ridiculously priced or else I probably would have caved.)
The night before I was supposed to take off, the remains of Tropical Storm Ida came to my area and gave us a month’s worth of rain in one night. There was massive amounts of flooding and I wasn’t even sure I’d make it to the airport, but fortunately I did. My flight out was at 8am and I saw that the 6am flight still had not left yet (despite it being almost 7) It turned out 4 days ago their plane had hit a bird and whatever fix they had done got undone in the trip to Hartford so they were delayed while it could be fixed again. They did not end up leaving until 9:30am and I was very glad for once I didn’t opt for the super early flight. I had 2 little kids in front of me during the first flight that were making up songs about the trip with lyrics such as “we are riding on a plane plane plane and it will be fun!” And I think they did have fun – until their ears started popping. There was also a lot of other layover drama with a woman who didn’t know how to order Five Guys and didn’t order fries (but a stranger gave her hers, which was sweet but… covid?), a guy whose mother passed away getting in a “YOU WERE MEAN TO MEEEE” argument with a gate agent, a family missing their flight by mere minutes and then more littles in front of me on flight #2. (So sleeping did not really happen.)
Thursday night I was hoping to go see the Tulsa Drillers baseball game since I was in town, but it was supposed to be mid-90’s at game time and that didn’t seem like a fun way to spend my evening. (They lost, 10-1) so I ended up ordering some BBQ and hanging out in the room watching Big Brother and Netflix.
Between the excessive amounts of trips to Tulsa and the heat, Friday my only time leaving the room was to go to Antoinette’s bakery for a sack of treats. Friday night’s show was Shout It Out and it was a pretty decent set (until it wasn’t?) I got to hear 2 songs for the first time – Hard to Handle and the new single, Stronger, which I opted to not listen to until hearing it live. I ended up regretting that decision slightly because it was hard to really hear/understand the lyrics and I think that it would have been better if I listened to it just once before the show. Personally, I would have rathered skipping out Where’s the Love and Man From Milwaukee for something else a bit rarer, but it’s not my job to put the setlists together. (Yet?) But overall it was a solid show and I had just thought to myself that morning they hadn’t played “I Was Born” in what seemed like a while so I was happy it made it into the set. They did skip 1 song from Shout It Out – Zac’s “Use Me Up”.
Saturday afternoon we decided to check out Nothing’s Left, a brewery that has beer slushies. I tried a Cotton Candy Chaos IPA which was too bitter for my liking and Deez Nuts Stout which was peanut butter / chocolate and soooo good. I also tried the dole whip soft serve – totally worth the trip right there – but the Strawberry Pina Colada slush I didn’t particularly like as it tasted “too beer-y”.
Night 2 was the Anthem show. I was really looking forward to hearing Lost Without You as full band and not a Taylor solo, and I was able to get my wish. This set didn’t have anything I hadn’t heard before, but I was able to go into hearing Stronger again with having watched the video and heard the studio version and was able to appreciate it more. Before Isaac’s solo, he talked a bit about how he is fans of his brothers.
“So Zac said, oh, you can’t stop us is a hard one to follow. I will go with that’s harder to follow [Zac’s solo]. So I’m going to say something that is, well, I’m going to say what I was thinking. So, one of the coolest things about being in this band is being able to be a fan of the people you are on stage with. I am a big fan of songs that Taylor brings to the table and helps us be a part of in some way or another. Sometimes it’s just little things and sometimes it’s lots of things. But it’s really fun. The same for Zac. When he sits down and goes, here’s this idea and it just wrecks me and I go, well that lyric is brutal and beautiful and important and I love it. So I feel lucky to be in a band with guys that I can be big fans of. So hopefully they feel the same way. No pressure. haha”
I would have liked if they stuck to the setlist and did Tonight as the encore, but it is what it is. (Friday night I watched them change the setlist out on stage 2 times, so there were 3 versions, it seems like they weren’t really able to make up their minds on what to play and I’m very curious to know what else might have been swapped out!) I also didn’t even realize they had completely skipped Tragic Symphony and Annalie until some fans were talking about it after the show!
After the show we waited for the guys to come out and my friend had gotten me a setlist so I was able to get that signed. It was very, very pushy and I didn’t feel stable enough to try and get any photos with the guys this time.
Sunday I had a 3 hour layover in Atlanta and when I got through TSA in Tulsa they pulled my backpack, apparently the croissant from the bakery I hadn’t yet eaten and decided to bring home with me was suspicious. After landing in ATL I needed to get to A18, by the time I reached A18 it got changed to A33 which was nearly the last one in the hallway… and then found out nope, I actually needed to be at B7. Good thing I had such a long layover! Things were much calmer on the way home as well and I made it back to my house by 9:30pm instead of my usual 1am.
I have a lot more concerts coming up this month and then another trip to Tulsa at the end of the month… I’m going to be exhausted… I don’t know how I used to do this constantly!
Saturday night I did my first big amphitheater concert. It had been 1469 days since I had last been at Xfinity Theater in Hartford. Of course, every weekend before they posted all their policies and set times for that weekend but were radio silent for this one. I got to the parking lot early to snag a handicapped spot. There wasn’t that big of a line to go in but heads up – they have instituted a clear bag or small clutch policy to make security quicker and so they can avoid touching all your stuff.
The show started at 7 with Cat Power. She never said her name throughout her whole set that I heard and was pretty mellow. Not many people were in their seats. She dedicated a Rolling Stones song to Charlie Watts who has recently passed. I liked her rendition.
After Cat, it was time for Garbage. I guess being a 90s music kid meant I knew way more songs than I was expecting to going into the show. Their set was really great and Shirley was sure to thank us all for being there plenty of times – even if she did also say we were all weirdos 😉
Cross-Stitch is something I liked doing as a kid, but I never really “graduated” to being able to do designs that weren’t already printed out for me. Since having so much more free time over the past year or so, it’s something I’ve considered coming back to, so I figured I’d check out this book to see if it gave me any inspiration. It starts out by showing you how to do some of the stitches that will be featured in the book and has 30 patterns starting with beginner. (I’m listening…)
I have to say that these designs are all awesome and very positive, but I still feel like they may be a bit over my head. It may be time for me to smart small and circle back to some of these later (I really love all the ones about dreaming big!)
I also liked seeing the different alphabets that are available! Different “fonts” so to speak. Again, not sure I am ready for this but anyone more advanced than me would surely enjoy the instructions included in this book!
I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
The 30 cross-stitch designs in Gail Bussi’s signature hand-lettering style will encourage mindful, relaxing stitching and are easy enough for beginners. Create personalized designs with alphabets provided. Each project includes chart, finished photo, materials list, and full instructions.
Gail Bussi has had her cross-stitch designs published in all of the major needlework magazines in the UK, US, and France, and is the author of several needlework books. Her images and artwork have also been made into greeting cards and other items. After suffering personal trauma, she stopped creating for a time, but has recently found healing through the power of stitching meaningful words in her designs and finding peace in the stitching itself. With this book, she seeks to share this power with others.
I’m not really sure what I was thinking picking a 5am departure time to go to Iowa. I got to the airport before precheck was even open and of course my brace set off the scanner and I had to take it off to push it through the x-ray. I had 2 young boys in front of me on the plane that honestly were not all that obnoxious at all, I slept through most of the flight but one of the boys said “sorry how we acted on the flight when you were trying to sleep” when he got off and I assured him he was fine. (I’ve had to put up with much worse!)
My layover was in Chicago and the gates were supposed to be directly across from each other but of course that was not the case by the time I landed and they also had no wheelchair waiting like I was told they would when we took off. It also made me do a sleepy double take when I was waiting on if I was going to get wheeled or walk and everyone was talking about Tulsa! For once, I was not headed to Tulsa! lol I made it to my new gate and waited to board the tiny plane to Cedar Rapids. When they sent me down the jet bridge at first I thought a van was waiting at the bottom, surely it was too small to be a plane! But no, it was a plane. Also strange was one of the guys on my flight out of Hartford was on the flight too – seated next to me!
Upon landing I found my friend and we were on our way! We made 2 stops in Cedar Rapids, the Czech bakery Sykora and a scrapbook shop. At the bakery I opted for a poppy seed kolache. They didn’t have any of the cookies like my Nana used to make, so I couldn’t compare, but the kolache was very good! The scrapbook store was supposed to open at 10am but no one was there at 11 so we left, turns out they had a miscommunication with who was supposed to be working so we left for Dubuque before they opened at 11:15. Ah well.
In Dubuque we did the Fenlon Elevator which is the shortest and steepest of its kind. It is 5 steps up and out of the car and then 5 steps back down in to go down. I braved it and tried to take a video looking down (I don’t recommend doing that) but never actually hit record! Figures… We also went to see the historic shot tower and drove around a bit to see the port. After a 5am flight I was exhausted so most of the time was spent in the hotel. (And the 2 stops we did make were my only 2 on the ‘to do’ list anyway.)
Monday morning we got up and headed to Dyersville for the Field of Dreams. We started with a tour of the house and then wandered the corn fields, ball field and gift shop. I loved the gift shop because it had a lot of “baseballism” shirts that would go over the head of anyone who isn’t a big baseball fan. They were taking down the MLB field but we were told next year they’d play again and it would be the Cubs. While I enjoyed watching the game, I’m not sure if it’s something that should be yearly because it will kind of kill the thrill about it, but hey if it makes money MLB is going to be all about it. There’s also a museum about the film but was unfortunately closed on Monday so we just took a photo of their mural on the side of the building.
Next up was Ames where we went to the gardens to see the butterflies and the world’s largest (concrete) gnome. The butterfly garden was a lot of fun chasing the butterflies (and them chasing my cane) and trying to get pictures of them. The garden had an exhibit of origami statues so we tried to find all of them while making our way to Elwood (the gnome). I thought the admission prices were a bit steep, but it was a nice mile or so stroll through the gardens and they were absolutely beautiful so when you think about the cost of upkeep, that’s probably where most of the admission price is going to. They also offered free scooter and wheelchair rentals which right there made the admission worth it for those who might need it – and made the gardens a whole heck of a lot more accessible for everyone and I certainly can’t be mad about that!
Then we made our way to Des Moines to get ready for the Iowa State Fair the next day.
We got to the fair about 1pm which was probably the hottest part of the day and started with some cookies and fried cheese curds. We also had fried pickles and corn dogs and I had lots and lots of water. I’d have wanted something stronger, but driving the scooter around all day with people who were freaking oblivious was not going to end well if I was a little tipsy. (I am not sure why all the responsibility of driving it has to fall on me and no one else has to pay any attention at all and can be mad if/when I run into them – WHEN I HAVE NO BRAKES – but it is what it is.) At one point we heard the Beach Boys start soundcheck along with John Stamos singing “Forever” and then we heard Hanson join them for Where’s the Love. A bit later Hanson took the stage for their own soundcheck so we knew that Hanson would most likely be doing Where’s the Love with the Beach Boys and not part of their set.
Finally 7pm came and doors opened. None of the volunteers knew what to do at all… but we managed to get our wristbands and get the scooter parked and I got to my 4th row seat that was pretty much dead center. Most of the people in front of me sat for Hanson and I was able to sit for the whole show and still be able to see! I hadn’t used my camera in so long, it was nice to be getting some decent photos again. I was surprised that Hanson didn’t play any of their 4 new singles – nor did they even mention that they had a new project coming out in November when they had a whole crowd of potential new fans in front of them… but it is what it is. They also kind of seemed to mess up a bit during Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’ but quickly found their groove.
For the Beach Boys encore, Hanson came back out, as we expected – but Mike Love said that John Stamos liked to play Summertime Blues so they started with that song (one that Hanson knows well and has been covering on their tours on and off since 1998 – and was probably included in many of their pre-fame sets as well!) and then went into Where’s the Love as well as Fun, Fun, Fun. It certainly was Fun, Fun, Fun to see everyone up on stage and having an absolute blast. Despite surge pricing, I managed to find an Uber and get back home to the hotel just after midnight.
My flight out of Des Moines was not until 4pm but hotel check out was noon so I got to the airport super early. Despite nearly every piece of signage in the airport saying “mask up” the guy in front of me did not have his on and TSA made him put it on before checking his ID. Then he took it off AGAIN to go through the metal detectors and had to pull out all his bags to find it again and he said he was told he could take it off. (Uh, no, 3 people told you to put it on…) Turns out that wasn’t their most problematic passenger of the day – I was. My purse went through fine, my brace set off the metal detector (belts were setting it off too so it was on a higher setting than I’m used to) so while I waited for a female assist, I saw my bag get pulled off the line. They started saying something was stuck and my cane never made it through so I had to show them where it was and get one of the agents to retrieve it off the conveyor belt. My suitcase apparently had something “bad” in it, but the 2nd agent said he didn’t see anything and was giving me it back. This set off a wild afternoon where: a guy walked into the ladies room just ahead of me and panicked and ran out when I walked in, I got bitched out by a lady who thought I was cutting her for the elevator when she was in a wheelchair and had no one to push her, watched a lady have a meltdown in the bathroom about needing to wear a ‘face diaper’ until January, tried to avoid getting touched by the way too many children at my gate who were fascinated by me, fell out of a wheelchair and watched a guy walk through the McDonalds drive thru. But I made it back to my own bed by 2am only to awake to pouring rain from a Tropical Storm. Maybe someday I will be caught up on my work emails…
This Baby Loves book is really adorable and teaches kids about angular momentum! All through showing them how a Hanukkah dreidel works in related to angular momentum. It’s never too early to teach kids about engineering and get them interested in science and I thought this book was really well done in teaching about how things work!
I received a free e-copy of this book to review from NetGalley. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners.
Baby discovers the science behind spinning a dreidel on Hanukkah! Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores angular momentum, torque, friction, and gravity. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two as well.
This Baby Loves book is really adorable and teaches kids about electricity! All through showing them how Christmas lights work (once an adult plugs them in, of course!) It’s never too early to teach kids about engineering and get them interested in science and I thought this book was really well done in teaching about how things work and how to be safe with them as well.
I received a free e-copy of this book to review from NetGalley. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners.
Baby discovers the science behind Christmas lights! Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores electricity, circuits, and electrical safety. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two as well.