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Taliesin West

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While in Arizona we visited Taliesin West. Frank Lloyd Wright‘s winter home.

Taliesin West is a national historic landmark nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains outside of Scottsdale, AZ.  It is also the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Wright’s beloved winter home and the bustling headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, Taliesin West was established in 1937 and diligently handcrafted over many years into a utopian world unto itself. Deeply connected to the desert from which it was forged, Taliesin West possesses an almost prehistoric grandeur. It was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations.

Butterfly Wonderland, Scottsdale, AZ

On Tuesday, my folks, Bruce and I went to the Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale. We had been to the butterfly exhibit at Desert Botanical Garden several years ago.  This place had a wonderful movie called “the flight of the butterfly” it was all about the unbelievable migration of the Monarch butterfly.  The movie was in 3D and it was SOOOO cool.  Here are some photos I took.

If you click the slideshow below, you can make it full size by clicking the arrows in the lower right corner.

Here is a link to the trailer for THE FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES http://www.flightofthebutterflies.com/home/

Train, Minnesota State Fair – August 29, 2013

We got to the fair about 3ish.  It was HOT, and HUMID, and all the fat people who were too big to walk and had to use a cart but then had a  big pail of cookies or a ginormous ole turkey leg in their hand they were “gobbling” down just gross me out.  Between that and the heat, i didn’t really even want to eat! Anyways…when we got there it was not at all crowded, in fact i think it was the least busy i have ever in my life seen it.  So that was a bonus. 
The concert started at 7:30 with Michael Franti, who was really good. Super upbeat, great music, and he went into the crowds like no performer i have ever seen.  he kept right on singing but was walking between rows of people on the floor, up on chairs, hugging people, he even came all the way up to the section where we were sitting, which was row 49, and i think it probably only goes to row 60 or something, but we were WAY up there.  So far away that i couldn’t really even see them on the stage, and just watched the big screens.  A camera man followed him everywhere, so you could see him interacting with the people in the crowd. it was very cool and he seemed to be having a great time.  i think he probably played 3 or more songs while in the crowds. I will definitely be buying his CD.
After he was done, they changed over the equipment to Train’s stuff. We were patiently waiting for them to start.  The first song was “calling all Angels”
train 01…during the 2nd song, 2 people walked ALL THE WAY up to the area where we were sitting (again, i am talking NOSE BLEED SEATS).  The girl stopped and asked Bruce a question.  I thought they maybe had seats in our row, so we were going to have to move a bit to let them in.  Nope…she said “is it just you two?” Bruce said yes.  Out came 2 tickets and she asked if we wanted them.  “WHAT???” We didn’t quite understand.  She said, we were in the 6th row/center stage and we came for Michael Franti, do you want these seats?”  OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We ended up in the 6th row, i couldn’t believe it.
view from 6th
pat 01
pat from 6thPat Monahan (lead singer) came into the crowd and sang too, and Bruce and I each got to hi-5 him!  The show was awesome… WHAT A TREAT THAT WAS! I wish I knew her name so i could thank her.  We have no idea why she came up to us, but were super happy that she did!  i took a ton of photos, but haven’t looked at any of them yet…but i do believe they will be better than the pictures i got at Matchbox 20!!!
Before he started singing MERMAIDS he called for all the mermaids in crowd to join him onstage to sing. mermaids 01
mermaid 02
pat on sax
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I have never seen a performer do this…the girls ranging in age from 5 to 35 looked like they were having the time of their lives!
It appeared that one of the mermaids did not make it onstage.  They must have cut the line before she got up there.  She must have been quite sad, because she was even dressed like a mermaid.
Then he said “our new single is called Bruises, it is a duet.  Is there anyone who could come up and sing it with me?” There was a mom frantically pointing to her daughter.  Pat said “does she know the words?”  He was assured that she did.
luckiest non-mermaid
duet
bruises duet
She never cracked a smile, but i bet deep down she was doing back flips!! and she did know EVERY word to the song!
WHOEVER THE GIRL WAS THAT GAVE US HER SEATS….THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

Jill and Nick’s Visit

My wonderful friend Jill came to MN with her son Nick on 8/19.  We moved him into his dorm at St. John’s, and also attended some parent orientation presentations and barbeques. It was so much fun to get to be a part of this experience…1683

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1687 2

 

 

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joke about not using proper pronunciation rules…

FROM A TEACHER —

In the world of hi-tech gadgetry, I’ve noticed that more and more people who send text messages and emails have long forgotten the art of capital letters.
For those of you who fall into this category, please take note of the following statement:
“Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.”
Is everybody clear on that?

Basilica Block Party, Matt Nathanson, ZZ Ward

We got to the grounds about 5:15 or so.  It is general admission, so we wanted to get their early enough that we would get a decent place to stand (correct, no chairs) Kerri and David were running late, so we decided to just meet them there.  They were parking their vehicle in the parking ramp Kerri parks in daily for work and then riding their bikes to the Basilica.  We met up and then walked around to the other stages, got some food and beverages and hung out.  It was a really awesome crowd, very mellow, polite, and holy cow – it had been a while since I had seen so many “pretty people” all in one place!  Bruce even commented that only 1 in 10 people was unattractive, unlike the normal ratio of 1 good looking person in 10!

We were back to the stage in time to see the last part of ZZ Ward’s performance; she was really fun and we all enjoyed her music.

ZZ Ward and Matt Nathanson

ZZ Ward and Matt Nathanson

Matt Nathanson was up next – and he was wonderful!  Played a nice mix of old songs, new songs off his forthcoming CD which was coming out in 4 days, and some cover songs…he even played a bit of Prince and Amazing Grace!! He was funny, and talked quite a bit between songs.  It is part standup comedy as well as awesome music.  He is a great performer.

I brought my Canon 40D thinking I could get some great photos of Matt….well…reason number 257 that I should have an iphone… all the people with smart phones were getting better shots than me.  With mine, most of the images were too dark, plus it is hard to take a photo with the viewfinder up to your eye when there are so many people in the way.  The smart phone users were able to hold the phone over their head and snap away.  I didn’t think there was a reason to bring the camera back on Saturday night. Bruce did get a few good shots…because he is so dang tall.

matt nathanson

When the show got done, we all left out the side entrance that led right to where our bikes were locked up.  All 4 of us biked back downtown.  That is the first bike ride I have been on with Kerri in DECADES!! There was another concert in downtown that evening; Kenny Chesney at Target Field, so there were people everywhere.  Biking was definitely a great idea!

Back at our hotel, there were many people who had been at one or the other concert.  A party must have been going on in the hallway on the 8th floor, where our room was, you could hear music playing all the way down the hall, which made it feel festive even after the show, and we weren’t ready to go to sleep anyways.

So far…loving our first Basilica Block Party experience.

 

 

Basilica Block Party, Saturday July 13, Minneapolis {part one}

Saturday morning, we got up and got to be lazy and just sat around and watch TV for a while. We left in our car, and drove to Uptown for breakfast. We ate the Uptown Café.  Love that place…such a mix of people.  I had a caramel roll…first time I have had one of their rolls.  OMG, delicious.  After breakfast we drove back to the hotel and got our bikes.  We biked downtown.  We went to Loring Park and also my favorite alley for photos.

Loring Park

my favorite alley

We biked back over to the Basilica grounds to scout out the stage location and how to best get to it for the Saturday night show.  Bruce specifically was looking for a curb or something I could stand on so I could see a bit better.  We found a great spot close to the front, off to the side a bit and I would be able to see pretty well. I even decided it was worth bring my big camera because we were going to be in a great position to get some cool shots.

Basilica Block Party, Saturday {part two}

Kerri and David had purchased VIP tickets for Saturday night, so we were on our own.  We got to the grounds a little after 5:00.  We went directly to the spot we had picked out to stand.  We were in a great spot, and I could see the first performer, Kate Earl quite well.

I texted my friend Jill to tell her how much it reminded of me when we all went to see Eddie Money in 1983 or 84.  At that show we were all right in front of the stage. But I do believe we got there mighty early to get those places to stand!

When Kate Earl’s set was done, we started visiting with the other folks standing around us.  We were standing on a cement platform, about 5 to 6 inches high.  There was a fire hydrant in the middle and another pole near it to protect it from cars hitting the hydrant.  There were probably a dozen or so people on the “block”.  Believe it or not, some who were even shorter than me!

It turned out that the VIP tickets Kerri and David had were not for the stage that Matchbox 20 was playing, so they were going to get some free food and drinks and then make their way up to where we were. We were saving spots for them to stand by us. Kerri and I were texting throughout all of this.  I was begging her to bring Bruce and me some food and something to drink.  At this point, it would have been unlikely that if we had left our “block” we would not have gotten back up there.  People were constantly streaming in.

One of the guys Bruce was talking to mentioned having recently been to see Bruce Springsteen.  My ears perked up when I heard that…HA, a fellow Springsteen lover.  I of course wanted to talk to him and swap stories.  I thought he looked a few years younger than us.  We talked about all the places we had seen Bruce S. play. I talked about my trip to NYC when I was 19, with a guy I had just met.  We stayed with his Aunt, Uncle and cousins at their home on Long Island.  The concert was outside at the Meadowlands.  It turned out that the show we had tickets for was postponed, and we ended up staying much longer than we had anticipated.  He told me of all the shows he had gone to, etc.  I was thinking possibly we would come up with a show that we had both been to or somewhere we may have crossed paths.  I then asked him when he saw Bruce for the first time.  He replied that the first time he saw Springsteen was 1999.  HOLY CRAP, my obsession was already over by then!!  First time I saw him was 1983!  So, no….we were never at the same show.  And I obviously didn’t come close to guessing his age correctly!

kate earl and goo goo dolls

kate earl and goo goo dolls

Next up was the Goo Goo Dolls performance.  There now was a lot more people there.  It was a great show.  We could see quite well and everyone was having a good time and being respectful and polite.

Towards the end of their show, it was getting more and more crowded.  We were all really defending our little cement island in the parking lot.  Many people were trying to join us on our block, and I was still trying to save 2 spots for Kerri and David.  When the Goo Goo Dolls were done, the people trying to get in front of us were getting much younger and a hell of a lot ruder! Many people would say they were just walking thru to get up closer.  That was fine.  Some of them tried to stay, but we were tapping them on the arm and telling them to keep going.  The spots were saved.  I texted Kerri and told them it was getting harder and harder to save their spots and they had to get up to us as soon as possible.  Being that we were so close to the stage, we had no idea how crowded it had gotten behind us.  Kerri and David were trying to get up to us…but it was so crowded they couldn’t get there.  They decided to just hang in the back.  They eventually left and went to the other stage where their VIP tickets worked. So we never did see them.  I found one of the short gals who we had made move when she was standing on our block and told her she could join us.

Matchbox 20

matchbox 20 2

After Matchbox 20 started it got even worse…dozens of people were trying to get ahead of us and we were constantly telling them to go back.  There was NO WHERE to go that was in front of us.  It was jam packed with people.  Bruce could see this pretty well, because he too was about 6 inches taller than his normal 6’3!  The crowd was getting insane.  Many times, the person trying to get through would say, well all my friends are up there, I have to get up there.  We believed them and would let them through.  When the 6’5 guy who looked like he played football tried to get past Bruce he said “where do you think you are going to go? There is no room up there.” We stood our ground and would not let him through.  Many other “kids” were trying the same thing, and after a while, I got to be quite the bitch (who me?). One kid I said “no, you are not getting past us.”  I don’t think I said it quite like that…I know I used the f-bomb.  He then asked me “what are you the boss of the concert?”  I said “Punk, get the EFF out of my face.”  Who even says something like that after you are out of elementary school?  He likely just went around and found another way up closer.  As it turns out, they all must have, because before we knew it, there was a pack of a dozen or so kids 6 feet in front of us.  And yes, that included the 6’5 guy.  It was so incredibly jammed with people; it was “skin to skin” contact with the people all around us.  The area in front of the stage and way past where we were standing was PACKED with people and all politeness had VANISHED…and that definitely included me.  I think I am a very tolerant person.  But one thing I can’t tolerate is blatant rudeness….and these people had it by the boat load!  This continued to happen until more than half the show was done.  Most of them didn’t get onto our cement island and we just stood our ground and told people NO. {OK, it wasn’t just NO…it was much more colorful than that.}  I think was the mouthiest one on the “block.” There was a family of 3 next to me, and they had been there all along.  The daughter would look at me when someone was trying to get in front of her.  I would tap them on the shoulder and tell them that she had been standing here for hours and they needed to find another spot.  I could not even guess how many times something like this occurred. It seemed to be almost non-stop.

Back to the kids in front of us…6’5 guy was right in Bruce’s line of sight, so he could no longer see. Then they started putting the girls on their shoulders…OMG, no one could see. Other people on the “block” who had been quiet up until now got pretty upset.  One guy, who appeared to be quite timid was yelling at them “get down, I didn’t pay to see you.” He then threw something at the girl closest to him, but it missed.  He then pulled her long flowing blonde locks and she wouldn’t even turn around.  The guy did later turn around with her still on his shoulders and she was dancing around looking at the crowd, singing along with the band, etc.  She would not get down.  To add insult to injury – she was so stinkin’ cute and looked great atop his shoulders dancing around…made me even madder! {I didn’t say I wasn’t petty!}

The corker was when 2 women (one in her 20s and the other mid 30s) barged their way on to our block.  I tapped the 30 year old and told her that they could not stand her.  30 was fine with that and was trying to leave.  20……….SHE WASN’T GOING ANYWHERE. 30 was practically begging 20 to follow her, kept  yelling to her “come on it isn’t worth it.” But this girl was not budging. She was standing right in front of the girl and her parents.  The girl kept looking at me with a “please do something” look.   The somewhat polite requests for her to get the hell out of our space were going unnoticed.  She planted herself right in front of that family (mostly in front of the girl, but they were all under 5’5 so none of them could see as a result of her standing directly in front of them).  I finally had enough and stood right next to her asking her “who the EFF do you think you are?  What makes you think that you can walk up here and stand in front of people who have been here for hours?”  She replied “it is an outdoor concert; I can stand wherever I want.”  I became even more vocal and my level of pissed-off-ness was nearly bubbling over. I continued to yell at her to MOOOOVE.  She then did a version of “talk to the hand” to me, but she was opening and closing her hand mimicking me talking yelling. I lost it at that point and grabbed her wrist, Bruce instantly grabbed my arm and 30 was BEGGING her to come with her.  Still would not move.  The dad of the family of 3 finally had it.  He got past her and stood right in front of her.  He was shorter, so I think she could still probably see, but she wasn’t moving…instead she yelled at him “oh does that make you feel better standing right in front of me?”  At that point, I think 30 grabbed her and pulled her away. I think we all cheered!

Needless to say…the pictures I got sucked!

THIS IS BRUCE’s VIEW OF THE BANDmatchbox 20

THIS IS SUSIE’s VIEW OF THE BANDrob thomas

Matchbox 20 played an iTunes festival in London and Bruce watches it all the time on you tube.  At one point I asked Bruce if this show reminded him a lot of the iTunes show….he said it was pretty much identical!!   I would go to the block party again, but not to the big headliner…I remember now why I don’t go to many concerts anymore!

Looking back, I think I maybe have been suffering from “short woman syndrome” all my life and that extra 6 inch cement platform I was standing on made me feel so tall and my inner badass came out in full force! At one point I was wishing Kerri could get up by us, because she is short but has been a badass all along!  Then it became clear that if she had made her way up by us….Asia Security would have been dragging us out! She was getting pissed off on Friday night at Matt Nathanson because 1/2 the people were watching the show through their phone either video taping or photographing it.  If that 20 year old girl had done “talk to the hand” thing to Kerri, she would have broken that hand! Love you Kerri! 🙂

On Sunday morning, on our drive back to St. Joe, we were flipping through radio stations…we left it on Jack FM “playing what we want.”  A Loverboy song came on…followed by Police’s ROXANNE…I started having flashbacks of my friends and me going to all kinds of concerts when we were in high school.  This included a Loverboy and .38 Special outdoor concert.  I am sure I was never as rude as those kids at Matchbox 20….but I think some of my friends may have been!  PAYBACK!!