Random Saturdays – Concert Edition: Maroon 5, Neon Trees, and Owl City

Early Wednesday evening, my boss offered me two tickets to the Maroon 5 concert on Thursday night.  She and her husband bought tickets for their 10-year old for Christmas, but they got better tickets via work (they both work for the same company).  So, she offered them to one of my managers, who turned them down because she had a bunch of family obligations that night and only knew Adam Levine from The Voice.  My manager suggested that our boss offer the tickets to me.  My first reaction was, “Wow, what a nice gesture!”  My second reaction was, “Well, it’s a School Night and I don’t know if I like Maroon 5 enough to stay out late on a school night.”  My third reaction was, “Who do I know that could go at the last minute?”  My fourth reaction was, “I’ll have to deal with traffic and crowds.”  My fifth reaction was, “I need to pull the stick out of my ass and go.”

After talking things over with my boss (who agreed to let both, me and Erica, get off work a bit early so we could go and who also assured me that my manager volunteered to cover my on-call duties for that evening), I decided to go.  My boss did warn me that one of our out-of-town coworkers would be using the third ticket, but I was willing to brave Stranger Danger for a Girls Night out with Erica.  I was afraid that Erica wouldn’t be able to go because she has a husband and a baby that don’t allow for much last-minute-concert stuff, but Richard cordially agreed to watch Eva for the night.  At work, the next day, my boss told me that the third guy backed out, so we now had an extra ticket.  Erica’s sister-in-law, Julie, accepted our offer to go.  She had a baby a month after Erica did, and neither of them have really been out and about as adults without babies and/or husbands since then.  We were all very excited.  Julie was also a full-blown Maroon 5 fan, so we knew she’d be lots of fun at the concert (to be honest, she’s fun shopping for toilet paper, so you can only imagine how much fun she’d be at a concert).  Erica swore she didn’t know any Maroon 5 songs and only recognized Adam Levine from tabloids and The Voice.  After a quick YouTube search, she realized that she did know and like Neon Trees, though.  At least we were all going to the concert together and at least one of us recognized at least one song from each band.

It’d be cool to go see Neon Trees in a smaller venue sometime.

Normally, I only go to concerts to see New Kids on the Block (the first band that I learned about on my own and liked as a kid, and they are way hotter in their 40s than they were in their 20s, so it’s too bad that I peaked when I was 6).  My friend, Heather, flies in from out of town and I have a group of local gals that are equally devoted to the New Kids.  We make it a huge event and shake what our mommas gave us like we’re trying to make rent.  It’s so much fun!  When it comes to other concerts though, it’s so expensive, such a pain to deal with parking, I don’t like crowds, and did I mention that it’s expensive?  So I usually prefer to just listen to music and tune in for a performance on SNL if I’m feeling adventurous.

The first single off their new album that’s due in April.  I love that they still do their Motown dance moves onstage!

I ended up enjoying myself at this concert way more than I expected.  Erica and Julie were fun and we got to talk, joke, and enjoy the crowd together.  We had nosebleed seats, but it also made for great people watching.  We missed most of Owl City’s set, which is fine since none of us were big fans anyway.  Neon Trees were good, but there were alot of young kids in the crowd and the band definitely caters to a teenagers-and-older crowd.  Maroon 5 put on a thoroughly entertaining show, though.  The band sounded great!  Adam Levine was more modest and less douchey than I always assumed he was.  The band seemed to be enjoying themselves, which translated well onstage.  The lights and visual effects were cool.  There was a confetti bomb towards the end that was pretty.  At one point, Adam Levine pointed out a fan who had a sign saying, “Adam You Are My Idol”.  He thanked her profusely, said he was grateful to be where he was, said that he was humbled that she held such a high opinion of him, and then told her that even though he was grateful for his success, his only regret in life is that he didn’t get an education.  Then, he encouraged her and all of the other kids in the crowd to make the most of their opportunities at school.  It was kinda funny and cliché, but also very charming and endearing.  I sang along to most of the songs, bobbed my head, and just enjoyed myself in general.  Erica also realized that she was familiar with most of the older Maroon 5 songs, so she didn’t feel completely lost music-wise.  Julie was a bit embarrassed that Adam Levine kept pointing to her and singing to her because she’s married and it made her feel bad for all of the girls in the crowd that weren’t getting his attention.

My favorite part of the concert, though, was the crowd.  I normally hate crowds of people.  It just takes too much energy out of me even seeing them, much less dealing with them.  Our seats were so far away though, that I just sat and looked at everyone down below.  I also empathize with others (perhaps too) easily.  So, when I’m around people who are in a bad mood, I feel bad.  If I’m around people who are happy, then I’m happy too.  When you’re in a huge arena filled with people standing up, singing at the tops of their lungs, dancing, and celebrating, then you feel it.  I ate it up like it was candy!  I found myself randomly bursting into laughter.  When Julie and Erica went to raid the sales booths during the start of Maroon 5’s set (to avoid the crowds), I sat in my chair with no friends to protect me, and just laughed with joy because everyone else was so happy.  It was truly awesome and amazing because I just felt so connected to all of the good things in people, the world, and the universe.  I don’t know if it’s common for people to feel like this in an arena filled with people when they tend to be introverts who avoid people and strangers most of the rest of the time.  I’d be interested to learn if other people like me feel like this at concerts.

I didn’t recognize this song, but it was a pretty big deal at the show.  After watching the video, I get it — it’s about human connections.

Funnily enough, Amanda went to a smaller free concert in Dallas that same night.  Later, we talked about how going to these concerts reminded us that we actually like concerts because of the happy vibes flooding from the crowds.  So we might start trying to get cheap/crappy seats to more concerts so that we can feed off of other people’s happiness, but, you know, in a manner that isn’t as creepy as this sentence sounds.

Advertisements

Random Saturday – The Buddy Mommas on Spring Break

Olga, Amanda, and I refer to ourselves as The Buddy Mommas.  We came up with the name as teenagers, but that story deserves its own blog post.  Since everyone else is on Spring Break this week, I decided to just steal that for the title of this post, even though none of us are on Spring Break.  Olga just flew in this week to visit friends and family, and Amanda and I took Wednesday off so we could hang out with Olga.

Buddy Mommas wear Converse and corduroys.

Buddy Mommas wear Converse and corduroys.

We started with our traditional brunch at Legal Grounds, which was Olga’s first visit.  After filling up on prom cakes, french toast, and coffee beverages, we headed towards Dallas Blooms.

IMG_1315

This is Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. These people were all over 120 years old before they found it.

IMG_1320

Blooms in Dallas

IMG_1323

Olga — “Ooh, Shamrocks!”
Me — “Aren’t these just clovers?”
Olga — “Yeah, but they’re still pretty.”
Amanda — “Yeah, that’s why I’m taking a picture of ’em.”
Me — “Oh, yeah, they are pretty. Someone could tell me they were called ‘Cow Poop’ and I’d say, ‘Well Cow Poop sure is pretty.'”

IMG_1324

Whoville tree amid the tulips

IMG_1325

The phone in Mr. DeGrolyer’s library as compared to an iPhone. The iPhone came with no instructions. The DeGrolyer phone tells you to call information for instructions on how to place a call.

IMG_1327

Durned pretty flowers

When we finished admiring the flowers and people-watching, we decided to go to the mall.  While there, Olga and I got the brilliant idea to go to the Mermaid Bar at Neiman Marcus to get some of the tea and snacks that we always hear Amanda talking about (she works at the store).  Amanda had some kind of orange spice tea (that I wish I had gotten) and shared some cookies with Olga.  I split a piece of lemon cake with Olga and we both had tea.  I liked the tea, but wasn’t at all impressed by the lemon cream cheese cake – very pretty, very yellow, too sweet, cream cheese frosting tasted like buttercream, cake had good texture, but little-to-no lemon flavor.  Then, we went across the street to kill time at an outdoor mall until it was time to meet Olga’s parents for dinner.  (Yay!  We got to see them afterall!)  We decided to go to Twisted Root since neither Olga, nor her parents, had been there before.  We gorged on great burgers and root beer (this particular location had regular and maple syrup root beer, the last of which seemed to have a richer flavor than the regular root beer).  Then we headed up the street to Krispy Kreme for dessert.

IMG_1319

Olga had that cream filling from her Oreo donut on her face for 10 minutes while she made fun of how ridiculous the rest of us were. She sucked it up and allowed us to take a photo though. Jolly good sport!

IMG_1326

Amanda and I were all class, as usual. Note that I didn’t finish the last bite of my Oreo donut because it didn’t have any Oreo on it, thus, saving space for my donut with sprinkles;  I’m a sensible eater.

After all of that delicious junk food, I went home and worked out…possibly too hard.  Between standing all day and working out so hard, I could barely walk the next day.  I intended to make lime shortbread to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at work on Friday, but I couldn’t stand up long enough to make it.  Even so, all that pain was completely worth it.  Now, without further ado — Quotes!

At Legal Grounds:

  • “They need to be stabbed in the mouth so they’ll shut up.” — Me, we had just told Olga about the last time Amanda and I were at Legal Grounds, then we discussed the trend of people calling you rude when you shush them at the library or during a movie
  • “You get excited and start slobbering…” — Amanda, describing her reaction to someone she knows that talks too much and tends to be overly excited about everything

On our way to the mall:

  • “I don’t even want a guy I like calling me, ‘sweetie’.  He needs to call me, ‘Master,’ or something.”– Me, on how annoying it is to be called “sweetheart”, “sweetie”, etc. by people that you aren’t close to/are younger than you/you have no interest in, as a friend or otherwise

Twisted Root:

  • “Dad’s up to his ass in pope.” — Olga’s Mom, on what Olga’s parents had been doing that day (Note:  Pope Francis was chosen that day.  Olga’s Dad is usually up to his ass in Aldi’s wine and The Weather Channel.)
  • “It’s amazing how many kids turn 15.” — Olga’s Dad, on Quincineras
  • “If there ever was a female pope, it’d be my cousin, Nancy.”– Olga’s Mom, after our discussion on women’s roles (or lack thereof) in the Catholic Church
  • “Roaches scare easier.” — Olga, discussing the downside of grandchildren (Note:  Her parents’ grandchildren, not hers)
  • “Best fried chicken I ever had!  I ate ’til I threw up!  I felt like a Roman!”– Olga’s Dad, on the first time that he went to his wife’s annual family reunion (Note:  Olga’s parents are going to Rome this summer.  I’m looking forward to seeing how her well her dad blends in with Romans.)

Krispy Kreme:

  • “What am I gonna have for breakfast?” — Olga’s Mom, as she sat in front of a box of 8 uneaten donuts
  • (as I took a bite of an Oreo Cookies and Cream Doughnut) “I’ll go to hell if you can drag my fat ass down there.” — Me, responding to our conversation of how certain religious folks cast judgement upon others so freely
  • “Just push on it you numb nut!” — Olga’s Dad, to Olga’s Mom as we tried to leave the soon-to-close donut shop

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Random Saturdays – Tortellini Tofu Soup and Nutmeg Tofu

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet, but I like to cook.  Kinda.  Not every day, but you know, once or twice a week is okay.  Same goes with baking, even though that’s more like once or twice a month, and even less from May – September when it’s over 80° F on most days.  Boo, heat!  I do know that I have previously discussed what a rebel I am.  I cut my hair shoulder-length when I was a teenager, I’m a vegetarian, and I enforce Street Justice via dollar bin socks and portable dry erase boards.  So when you combine my culinary interests with my strong sense of rebellion, you get, you know, dinner.  It also means that I can’t follow a recipe.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been alternating between trying new recipes that I found on Pinterest with trying new recipes that I found in Real Simple.  One of the recipes from Pinterest was for Tortellini Florentine Soup.  The directions are easy, but I still couldn’t follow them.

Ingredients

  • One 9 ounce package refrigerated three-cheese tortellini whole wheat three-cheese tortellini
  • Two 14 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth Buncha homemade veggie broth from the freezer
  • One 10 ounce container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 2 cups shredded deli-roasted chicken 1 container firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomato strips, drained 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • Half of a 5 ounce package (about 3 cups) 6 oz package fresh baby spinach
  • Shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

The results were delicious and I moved the pin from my To Try board to my Tested and Approved board, even though the recipe that I tried was completely different from the recipe on the board.  Next time I make that soup, I probably won’t make it the same way either.  Like I said, I’m a rebel.

I must be the only person left on the planet who hasn't mastered the Instagram food photo

I must be the only person left on the planet who hasn’t mastered the Instagram food photo

I had another package of tofu that I wanted to use up this week, so I decided to just sauteé some tofu and make vegetable fried rice.  I’ve done this many times before, no big deal.  I cut up the tofu into cubes and tossed them into a bowl.  I added Filipino soy sauce (the kind I grew up with and, subsequently, like better than any other soy sauce), white wine vinegar (because I didn’t have any rice wine vinegar), a splash of sesame oil, a splash of peanut oil, garlic powder, onion powder, ground pepper, and ground ginger.  I also added an ingredient so secret that I didn’t even know I was supposed to add it – ground nutmeg.  Nine times out of ten, if you hear about a savory dish with a secret ingredient, that ingredient turns out to be nutmeg or Worcestershire sauce.  (Yes, I’ve done the math.)  So when I realized that I had thrown in nutmeg instead of ginger, I just shrugged and added ginger to the mix.  I arranged the tofu into a single layer in a sauteé pan, turning it once to get it crispy.  I gotta say, once everything was done, the tofu was really great! *pats self on back*

I don’t always cook with tofu, but these two experiments did involve tofu.  I actually made some sweet potato burgers recently, but other than leaving out the panko, I don’t remember how I changed it.  I doubt that I’ll try that recipe again because I have a recipe for kidney bean burgers that I like better than the sweet potato burgers.  I’m trying remember to write down my recipe alterations though so that I can try to recreate them if I get the urge.  Hence, this blog post 🙂

“The TSA is allowing travelers to bring knives on planes again. Here are all the fun things you can do with them.”

“The TSA is allowing travelers to bring knives on planes again. Here are all the fun things you can do with them.”

I can’t believe that I didn’t already think of using a knife to flush toilets in public bathrooms.  Genius!

Progress Report – February 2013

I’m happy to say  that I made some progress on knocking out my goals.  Here’s the run down:

  1. Read 4 books – Finished The Casual Vacancy on February 18, 2013!
  2. Keep up the Debediah project – Nothing.  I’m still focusing on other things right now.
  3. Learn to play an instrument – See above.
  4. Lose 12 lbs – I’m not sure where I am on this.  Last month, I noticed that my weight fluctuates between 2 – 8 lbs on any given day.  This month has been the same, and I can’t see a correlation between what I’m eating/how much I’m eating and my weight.  It’s not like if I overeat on one day, I gain weight the next.  If I eat mostly junk one day, I don’t necessarily gain weight the next day either.  There’s not a week delay.  I can overeat 3 days in a row and lose 6 lbs and eat fewer than 2,000 calories for a week and gain 8 lbs.  I never noticed my weight fluctuating this much in the past, so I don’t really know what’s going on with my mess of a body *shrugs*  Maybe I need a scale that I don’t have to recalibrate every day…
  5. Workout 1 hour per week – This hasn’t been going so well.  I haven’t been able to keep up a regular workout.  I have, however, been doing my morning stretches every day.  I also fit in mini-workouts in the mornings before work and in the evenings while watching t.v. or getting ready for bed.  I should probably time them to see how much I’m actually working out each day, even if it’s not done all at once.
  6. Knit 4 projects – Finished Amanda’s sunglasses bag on February 9, 2013!
  7. Work on The Comic – Nope.
  8. Keep up this blog – Decided to do away with some regular posts, but still staying active on the blog.
  9. Practice drawing/Gimp/Inkscape – Other than the graphics I do for the blog, I haven’t been working on this.
  10. Learn to code – Still nothing

Well, okay.  Maybe I should have emphasized some rather than progress, but hey, I still got a couple of things done this month! 😀

That’s not me (I would’ve accomplished all of my goals if it were), but J.K. Rowling wrote the first book that I finished this year.

Exploring Your Depths – Make Do

Exploring Your Depths — Make Do.

Cathy’s blog today is about making the most of your situation, no matter what it is.  She reminds us that “perfect” is usually a fictional and, therefore, unattainable goal.  Making do with what you haven’t isn’t about suffering or half-assing things;  it’s about making the most out of what you have.

Just this morning, I read an article in O magazine about how to workout regularly even when you hate exercise (the web article has a different, and less compelling, title though).  The key is to set your sights low, to set manageable goals.  I haven’t  been able to get back into a regular workout routine since I hurt my knees awhile back.  I know that I can’t work out for longer than 20 minutes a day (even walking around the mall or Target for an hour starts to hurt my feet, knees, and/or hips and I often get headaches).  If I work out particularly hard one day, it can take days to recover instead of my old customary one-day recovery period.  Finding that balance of working out and not over doing it has been difficult, since it’s not the same ratio that it was just three years ago.  Lately, I’ve been disappointed because I can’t seem to commit  to working out regularly.  However, I have managed to do a number of mini-workouts throughout the day (yoga stretches and a strength move or two when I wake up, a 3-minute workout after dinner while watching TV, more yoga/pilates moves to stretch/relieve the day’s tensions before bed).  Granted, the pounds haven’t been melting off, so I still feel like a lazy loser, even though I feel better physically (less joint and back pain).  Why is it so hard for me to do all of these things in a 20-minute interval though?  What is my problem?!

When I read the magazine article this morning, I found it interesting that the writer started with 10 minutes of working out and that there are actually benefits to that because I always feel like a slacker even if I reach my 20-minute goal, which seems like a pretty pathetic goal anyhow.  Then, I read Cathy’s post, which reenforced the idea that even if my mini-workouts are all that I can manage right now, that’s fine.  I’m making do, and that’s good enough.  If I’m able to eventually amp up my workouts and stick with a regular workout routine without getting frustrated by a combo of injuries, laziness, and lack of sleep, then good.  The mini-workouts are fine too though because I am able to keep up with them daily and the health benefits are fully evident even if the waistline benefits aren’t there.  So maybe the combo of the magazine article and Cathy’s post is the universe’s way of telling me that making do isn’t such a bad thing afterall.