Sunday, July 31, 2011

ZBB in KC - 2011

What a fabulous road trip! I love seeing live music - one of my absolutely most favorite things to do, hands down. This concert was a blast- great performers, AND great company, with my friend Laura, sis Tara and BIL Luke. Laura and I hit the road Saturday morning at 8:30AM, coffee in hand, ready for the three hour drive to friends Garry and Heather's house in north KC.

I made a "ZBB KC Trip" playlist on my iPod, to play on the trip up - and it was a good thing, because Laura really didn't know much about them at all. In fact, she had told someone the day before that we were going to see "Jack Brown, or something like that" ... so I had to make sure she was educated on their tunes before arriving at the concert!   We had a great time, I was so glad that she was able to come with me, and hang out with my family and other friends - she's been such a good friend to me over the past several years, and especially recently, over the past month. 

We got to Garry/Heather's house about noon, and got to catch up a bit with them before heading to the concert.  Garry turned 40 a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't get to make it up for his big birthday bash at one of the casinos... He and I had a cocktail at noon, so he could break out the glasses that he got in honor of his birthday - they say "Established 1971" and have a "40" engraved on the bottom... sweet!

Heather and 13-year-old Ryleigh - she's grown up so much!

I was so glad that Garry/Heather and Tara/Luke finally all met - Garry and Heather are some of my best friends and have met my siblings Ann and Thomas, but have only heard me talk about the rest.   They all hit it off wonderfully, as I knew they would - hopefully we'll all be able to get together again sometime.

With an estimated 70,000 people at this concert (according to Garry, who opted NOT to come and tailgate with us, for that reason),  I wondered how parking would be, and how close we would be to the stadium.  We did fine, not too far from the main entrance:

Holy smokes, was it HOT!   We put our chairs out and sat down to enjoy our lunch.  But about 30 minutes in, this was how we all felt, although Tara was particularly intolerant of the heat (and we had fun giving her crap about this picture!):

Shortly after this we took my Springfield friends Renee and Brad up on their offer to come hang with them in the shade... Luke was impressed with their set-up- the tent, table, and more.  Definitely not amatuer tailgaters like we were!

Laura, me, Tara and Luke

Thanks, Renee, for sharing your shade!

We headed into the concert in the middle of Billy Currington's set - personally, I don't know a single one of his songs, so I wasn't too worried about getting inside to hear him.   Uncle Kracker opened the concert, but we passed on him as well - I was there to see Zac Brown Band, they started at 6:20PM.  

The stadium was FULL, with the entire field set up with seating and a sandbar area right near the stage:

I saw Kenny Chesney with Tara and Luke about three years ago, in St. Louis, and we had a lot of fun then, but this took it up a notch.  This was probably the rowdiest concert I've been to - don't know if it was because it was a mid-afternoon Saturday concert (plenty of time for tailgating), or because it was there in Arrowhead, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, including us!  And because it was so hot, we really didn't have much beer beforehand or during the concert - it was too hot to drink much other than water, and then I think we danced and sweated all that out over the 4+ hours we were in the stadium!

Luke, wallflower that he is, made friends with the guys
in front of us over the course of the evening
 I left my camera with Tara for safekeeping when I went to get a hot dog and drink, and she and Luke had a good time:

Ok, what about the music?  Amazing, both ZBB and Kenny.  Zac Brown is great, but his band is just as big a part of the show- some very, very talented musicians - they played "Devil Went Down to Georgia"
again, and it was just as awesome as it was when we heard it back in November.  As far as getting any good pictures, I was right - I've got to buy a longer lens.  I had to steal these two close-ups from Renee and Brad's FB site, they had a Nikon DSLR with a great lens, and got some awesome shots:

Kenny came on at 8:30 and played for two hours.  When he finished up and the crowd cheered him back out for an encore, Zac Brown came back out with him.   They jammed out for another eight or nine songs, including "Sweet Home Alabama" (Skynyrd), "Dixieland Delight" (Alabama) and Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream"  -  we sang and danced until they played the last chord and the stadium lights came on.  We were tired, and our feet were aching from dancing in flip flops all night, but we all agreed that we got our money's worth and then some.

Garry, Heather and the kids were still awake and had pizza ready for us when we got to their house about 12:15AM - we managed to stay up and talk for about 45 minutes, and then it was time to call it a night.  They fixed a wonderful breakfast for us this morning, before Laura and I had to head back to Springfield.

Great weekend - hopefully I'll make a return trip to KC in September or October.  We talked about taking Jace and Ryleigh to see Train/Maroon 5 in September at the Starlite. I would love to take him to his first concert - he loves music, just like his mom - and I better take him while we still like the same stuff!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Eyes Wide Open (& Still Can't See)

Its Friday - yay!  And I am taking off work a little early this afternoon, which makes it even better.   (And I'm going to KC for a concert tomorrow, but I believe we've already covered that!) However, I do have some work to accomplish today before I leave, and apparently NONE of my three pairs of reading glasses are here at work.  Crap.

I've had 20/20 vision my entire life, although it has been almost two since my last eye exam.  But I've needed to use reading glasses for the last several years... the optometrist says apparently I am a "slow focuser" -- (yeah, yeah, I know. This phrase could have several interpretations... )  However, in this case it means that my eyes have a hard time adjusting when going back and forth from paperwork to the computer screen, etc.  So I tend to get eye strain, headaches, etc. and just do much better with a pair of non-prescription readers.

In the last couple of years I've noticed I've had to start holding the small-print items further away from my face in order to see them, if I don' t have my reading glasses handy.   And of course I also have a hard time keeping track of my glasses (case in point, today)... maybe I should get one of those cords to put them on and wear them around my neck?  Boy, I'll be quite a date for someone at some point, pulling those reading glasses out of my purse to look at the menu.  Nice, huh!?  Way to focus on the positive, I know. 

Ok, back to work, I've seriously considered running over to Target and grabbing another pair for this morning, but I'm just gonna tough it out, only a couple hours left and I'm done for the weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pancake Night & Paigey

Jace and I have had a Wednesday night tradition for the last couple of years - pancake night.  One of my favorite things for many years has been breakfast for dinner - cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, eggs and more.  So, since he especially loves pancakes, we've turned that into our weekly treat.  For awhile he wanted to help me, then he wanted to be the one to make them for both of us (a treat for Mom!).  But the novelty has worn off, and now I'm back to pancake duties - he does, however, get to do the dishes afterwards.

Tonight we had a special treat, in addition to pancakes - Paige came over for a visit, now that she's home from Jewell for the summer.  It was great to see her and catch up; she's done with her research project and working at Andy's again until she leaves for Oxford in September.   I know she and I will keep in touch, even though Dave and I aren't together - she's such a special young woman, and I so look forward to remaining a part of her life. 

Preparing fruit to put on top of the pancakes

Dinner is served!

After dinner, Paige helped me finish planting the perennials I bought last week.  It has been so hot, I've been watering them each day but needed to get them in the ground, soon.   She is going to be here over the weekend while I'm gone to Kansas City; the doggies will love to have her keeping them company while I'm gone!

Speaking of Kansas City, this is a weekend I've been looking forward to for the last couple of months.  I'm heading to KC early Saturday morning with friend Laura, and we are meeting my sis Tara and BIL Luke at Geather's house around noon.  Then we'll head to Arrowhead Stadium mid-afternoon for the Zac Brown Band & Kenny Chesney concert - how cool is that!?   Haven't seen Garry and Heather for a few months, so it will be great to spend a little time with them, before and after the concert - hopefully they'll join us for a little tailgating.  Jana is also going to be there with a friend, and I have a couple other Springfield friends that we'll also hang out with, have seats near us.

As for the concert itself, we have some awesome seats, we're in Section 123, Row 9:

And I couldn't ask for better company than Laura, Tara and Luke.  I saw Kenny Chesney in concert with Tara & Luke in STL a couple of years ago, and we had a blast.  Now to see ZBB and Kenny will be even better!   It has been a little bittersweet, knowing that Dave and I love both of these groups and had planned to go together, and there will be a few songs that will be hard to hear without thinking of him (I may have to excuse myself and head to the bathroom during "Colder Weather").  But truly, I'm just excited to be going with TT & Luke, and now Laura. 

I will hate to miss Jace's tryouts for the Tribe baseball team on Saturday, but I know his dad will be there, and I'll be checking in with him to see how Jace is doing.  In the meantime, I'm still on the hunt for a cowboy hat (think beach-style) for the concert, and cannot find one anywhere!  Luke suggested I check with Dad, since he has a couple of straw hats he wears out on the tractor when he's mowing (thanks, Luke).

I'm excited to take my new camera to the concert, although I have already realized that I need a longer lens - my point-and-shoot didn't take near as clear of pics, but it did have a longer zoom than the 18-55 lens that came with my SLR.  But the longer lens is another $200, so will have to wait for awhile on that... maybe a Christmas present to myself.

Time to close, and finish up some laundry before heading to bed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tonight was Jace's last baseball game of the season - his dad coached again this year, and Jace had a pretty good year, and felt pretty good about it.  He pitched quite a bit, played shortstop, and even caught a few games.  Saturday he tries out for the Tribe team, the school team for his junior high...  keep your fingers crossed!


... And he's SAFE!

Coach took the team for ice cream to finish out the season
(he wanted three scoops, only got two!)

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Nothing feels better than a day at the pool, when the weather is as sweltering hot as it has been for the past three weeks. The water has felt awesome the last few times I've been swimming; none of that gradually tiptoeing your way into the water, to get used to it...  nope, it feels wonderful just to jump right in!  It was really, really nice to take the day off work on Thursday and spend it at the pool with Jace and his aunts and cousins.  Michele was in town visiting her family for several days while Rob was in Kansas City for a conference.

We arrived early enough to get some chairs and space under one of the blue awnings, so the little ones could have a place to get out of the heat.

Henry's goin' for my camera!

Jace and his cousins Landon and Payton were excited about the pool - I didn't get any action shots of them, but trust me, they were all over the aquatic center!  This particular one has a couple of slides, a couple of diving boards and a "surfing" area, called the Huna.    

Sitting still long enough for a photo!

The little ones were a little more tentative, but once they got used to the water, they had plenty of fun. I spent most of my time with Henry, the little guy; he is so laid back!  He was fine in the water, and even almost fell asleep while I was holding him in the water later in the afternoon.  Susan was in charge of Miss Eva, of course - we always joke that she would take Eva home with her if Rob and Michele would let her.

We enjoyed the afternoon, and was just nice to spend time talking to Susan and Michele both.  Jace is also excited for our upcoming weekend in mid-August with Susan, Ron and the boys, when Tara and Luke will be there visiting.   Ron's got a new boat, and Jace's only questions were about tubing and kneeboarding - which are both a "yes!", according to Landon and Payton.

This morning I attended a photo class at the local store where I bought my camera several weeks ago.   They alternate basic classes on exposure, lighting and composition, one per month.  I had hoped to start with the exposure class, but it isn't offered until August.  I learned a lot today though - and am thinking about taking a more in-depth class at nights at the community college where the instructor teaches.

Jace's ball team is winding down their season, with a ballgame at 8pm tonight - hoping it will be a little cooler, since it is later this evening.  Then I'm headed to a friend's surprise birthday party, her 40th! 

Hope everyone is staying as cool as possible - happy Saturday!

Monday, July 18, 2011

- Life doesn't always turn out like you plan... but don't the best things in life sometimes happen when (& how) you least expect them?  "Heart of Life" has been one of my favorite songs (John Mayer, Continuum) of the last few years; has always reminded me that even when things are difficult, life IS still good. -

I started this blog when Dave and I separated 2.5 years ago, and wrote the words above back then...  Now life has taken another turn, and not one I wanted or even expected, until recently.   After almost four years of marriage (this Thursday is our fourth anniversary) we have said our goodbyes, and Dave is moving on, and I'm sure eventually to Florida.   He has said several times in the past few weeks that we are just in different places in our lives- I want to be respectful of him, so I won't go into all of it on here.  But suffice it to say that he truly does not want to live here in Missouri any longer; and I am here, and happy about it, for the next 6+ years, until Jace grows up.  And, I need more than a relationship with him that is lived out in two different states over the next several years.  So, I guess we really are in different places in our lives.   For those of you that know Dave, he is an amazing person in so many, many ways; but some of the very things that I love about him most - his drive, his energy, and just his personality in general - are also the very things that keep him moving, and searching. 

It was two weeks ago today that he moved out, and headed to Dallas,where he's been working during the week for the past six months.  It has been really hard, of course, but I'm dealing with it so differently than I did 2.5 years ago.  I've written a few times on here over the past couple of years about the fact that I've changed more during this time frame than any other time in my life.  Part of that was in my marriage, but part of it was me, as an individual - I know I've grown as a person and in my faith in God, and have a strength- and a sense of peace - that I haven't known before.

He came back into town this past weekend, and we met yesterday for coffee, and talked about the finances and other things that need to be settled.  It was hard for both of us, and I won't lie - part of me is so angry at times, and wonders how he can love me (which I do not doubt), but yet not enough to be willing to stay with me here any longer.  But that is one of the differences between us, and one that he may someday regret.  For me, this goodbye will be final; I can't go back again, even if he realizes in two or three weeks or months that he was wrong.  So I will move on, and start to heal, with Jace and my family and friends.  I don't regret the time I've spent with Dave, or reconciling with him a couple of years ago.  It has been a wonderful time in my life, and I have made so many friends, AND a wonderful stepdaughter and stepson, who will still be in my life.  

It feels good to be able to write this tonight, and know that I am able to do this, and will be okay.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cash in Hand

It is Friday afternoon and I'm home early finishing up my list to do my grocery shopping tonight. When possible, I like to do it early on Saturday mornings, as Walmart is chock full of all kinds of interesting folks on Friday nights.  But no matter when I do it, I always take two things - cash, and a very precise list, with estimated prices out to the side of each item (if anyone is interested, I have an Excel spreadsheet I can share!).    Call me a nerd, but this has been one of those habit-changing (and life-changing) things that I learned from our Dave Ramsey class a couple of years ago, and it has been such a cool thing.    Wheeling that shopping cart  up and down each aisle used to be a temptation-filled trip, and I would always find several treats that were impulse buys - AND were hell on my diet and waistline. 

Not surprisingly, many people have that same challenge when paying with plastic, according to's article: Cash Only Diet May Be Key to Healthy Eating.  A recent study showed that people that tend to impulsively purchase when paying with debit/credit card are much less likely to succumb to their junk food weaknesses when paying with cash.  Hello, that's me!   Do I really need to buy that $4.99 tub of Pillsbury Slice and Bake cookie dough?  Uh, no - and paying with cash (usually) curbs that urge!

It has been a good lesson for Jace as well - he knows I have a certain amount to spend each week, and is used to it after two years.  He sees me sticking to the list and making good food choices that are within our budget.  Although I do let him get some snacks and yummy things, he understands and respects that we won't be piling impulse purchases into the cart, just because they catch his eye.

And what's the other trick I've learned with grocery shopping?  Never go on an empty stomach, because then everything looks good!  So I'm off to grab a little snack before we head out to the store. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Say Cheese

Well, it has been a day - not for me, (well, yes for me also, but that's not something I really feel like talking about) but also for poor Chocko Rocko... stuck in the house from 8:15 this morning until 6:15 tonight... all because he's so quiet in the morning (after he goes out to potty and comes back in to eat) and was most likely in his usual spot when I bellowed "Outside!":

He apparently didn't respond (which is not a surprise - this is the MOST mellow dog ever), and in my haste to get out the door this morning, I just absolutely didn't notice.   So when I walked in tonight, he eagerly met me at the door to the garage, and literally stampeded to the back door to be let out.  What a good boy, he didn't have an accident at all today, held it for 8+ hours!   I'm just going to be better about making sure both of them do make it outside when I shoo them out in the mornings - next time I may not be so lucky!

In other news, I have a new camera - I don't really know how to USE it, but I plan to learn!   It is a fancy schmancy one, DSLR - had looked at a Nikon and the Canon Rebel, but instead ended up with the Sony A55; just liked how it felt in my hands, and it really has a lot of features for me to learn about, so I'm excited.  I've signed up for classes at Lawrence Photo here in town, later this month.

Here are some pics of me and Jace, at my grandparents' this weekend, taken by my brother Rob, with my camera.  Thanks, Rob!   We didn't use a flash - I don't know that we still had the settings where they needed to be to really get the best shots (it was on Auto, so there wasn't much we had to do) but I'll be learning about that in the Lighting class in August.   And I loved the pictures - trying to kiss Jace here, and he was putting up a fight!

Can't believe he's going to be a teenager in less than two months - love him so much, the time is flying by.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th with the family

It has been a long weekend, but I wanted to get these pictures on here before the work week starts - we sure missed Tara, Ann, Susan, Thom and families at PB this weekend, it was good to be there and spend some time with family.

The highlight of our time there was the POOL - Grandmother and Grandpa had actually just had it filled about a week ago, after some repairs and all of the rain/cool weather in April and May. But with the 95 degree temps, the water was wonderful, not a bit too cold! The kids loved it, Jace had a good time being the big cousin to Sam and Eva, both in and out of the pool.

Dad and Dave, enjoying the water and a beer
Jace pulling Sam on the raft

Jace and lil' Miss Eva

Grandpa got his pitching arm back in shape throwing balls for Jace to catch mid-air

Two cool guys in their hats and shades

Sam rode his bike on the driveway after dinner

Grandmother and Eva, ready for church Sunday morning

Isn't Henry adorable!?  Look at that grin!

Grandpa Nick reading a book (shortly after he was
fast asleep with his mouth hanging open)

Henry with his Mimi

Sug and Sugette (about 10pm, all three kiddos fast asleep!)

Eva noticed that she and I both had "shiny shoes" on,
and wanted me to get a picture!
It was wonderful to be there with Grandmother and Grandpa - they have such a beautiful home, and they really enjoy it when we all come to visit.    Just wish we could've all been there together!  Hopefully soon.  Hope everyone has a good week.