I find myself this year in less of a holiday mood than usual. As the years have passed and my boys have grown from sweet little guys into big, hulking, hairy men, Christmas has definitely lost some of its magic. I try not to feel that way, but it’s true that Christmas is more fun and way more magical through the eyes of a child. Being sick hasn’t improved my mood any.
As an adult, Thanksgiving was never really all that much fun. It was a lot of hard work. From my very first one as a wife when the turkey wasn’t defrosted and I stood at the sink, running a cold, dead, frozen turkey carcass under the hot water trying to thaw it out and gagging the entire time, and my Gramma, honest to a fault, declaring my very first from scratch pie crust to be “tough” and inedible (yes, and making me cry), it’s always been WORK. I always had my mother and grandmother over, and I rushed around and tried to make it all perfect like it had always been when I was little. After Gramma passed, I had my mother over and the stress there was always wondering if she’d stay or if her social anxiety would get to her and she’d ask to go home as soon as she’d arrived. I understood her issues. Hell, half the time, I shared them. When I’d worked so hard to make it nice for her, and she wouldn’t even sit down and eat with us I was so very hurt. I never told her because that just wasn’t done with my mom. She’d have gotten angry and the solution to her would have been no more visits ever. So I tried every year. I hoped she appreciated the effort. She’s been gone thirteen years so I’ll never know now.
Thanksgiving here this year was me sick as a dog.
I watched the parade on TV – one tradition kept. My hubby and boys were here. I believe my hubby made himself a Hormel microwave turkey and dressing meal.
I had chicken bouillon and toast and slept a lot. I’m not sure what my adult sons fixed themselves. There was no way I was touching food for anyone else to eat. I was nauseous, and I didn’t want to share the bacterial GI infection.
So now I look forward to Christmas. I know I should decorate inside the house (we always have a tree) and outside (I always put up lights). I drove to the grocery store last night. First time I’d driven since November 15 and my first lengthy outing (other than a doctor visit). I walked the entire store. I pushed the cart; my sons did all the fetching and carrying. I finish the antibiotic this Wednesday. I am supposed to return to work on Thursday if the blood work I go for Monday or Tuesday is clear and shows no infection/inflammation.
So, yeah, Christmas. Maybe our fake tree this year, but who cares about outside. Right? It’s the people inside who count. I’ll work on psyching myself up.
Vacation week has come and gone. It went by fast as vacations always do. I’ve been lazy (not posting) and I’ve been sick. Another round of antibiotics (actually DURING my vacation week), and now I’ve got a horrible head cold. I’ve also started guitar lessons with a real teacher! More on that some other post.
The vacation went great even though I didn’t feel 100%. We went to all of the concerts. I was determined to go even though the antibiotic gave me intestinal issues. Public toilets, especially at concert venues where people are drinking, smoking and toking, are nasty and unsanitary, and I’m glad to say I managed to avoid any extended stays in any of those nightmare spots.
I’m not sure my dear husband enjoyed the week off as much as I did. I was short-tempered at times because it was hot and humid, and I felt poorly. Metal music is also not his thing, but he was a trooper, and he soldiered through it all.
Monday night we were supposed to see Bad Wolves, Nothing More, Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin at Darien Lake. For this show on Labor Day, it was a family affair. I bought tickets for the whole family, and my two adult sons joined us.
The tickets said 7:00 p.m. We got there around 6:15, and the show had already started. We’d missed Bad Wolves, and Nothing More was just taking the stage. We’re not sure what happened there, but a big thunderstorm had rolled through before the concert, and Ivan Moody, Death Punch’s singer, did say they’d wanted to cancel the concert so we figured they must have started early to try to get the concert in since more rain was forecast for later. Nothing More was nothing memorable for me. They were just okay.
Death Punch was awesome. We’d gone to see them, and they put on a great show. They did most of their favorites, visually the lasers and lights were great, and they sounded incredible. My boys enjoyed the show as much as I did. I was on my feet, screaming, singing and dancing. We didn’t stay for Breaking Benjamin. We wanted to beat the crowd out of there, and we’re not fans of their music.
We lost my hubby on the way to the car because the crowd was so thick leaving. Of course his phone was dead so we couldn’t call him. That was a pain, but he eventually joined us at the car. I’m sure it didn’t make his experience that evening any better. My hubby is a gentler person than I am. He thinks metal music makes listeners angry and violent. It’s a release of sorts for me, and it makes me feel good, not angry. I can see the meaning behind the words. There’s anger at times, and there’s also pain, but there’s humor, lightness and love, too. I get jazzed up, not pissed off.
Wednesday evening hubby and I went to Darien Lake again to see Judas Priest and Deep Purple. He looks thrilled, doesn’t he? I wanted to see Priest again even though I’d seen them multiple times in the 80’s. One of the original guitarists KK Downing, has already left the band, and the second one, Glenn Tipton, was just forced to cut back to only occasional appearances because of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. I wanted to see them again before Rob Halford also had to quit because of age or infirmity.
Priest was awesome as usual. The music was great, Rob sounds just like he did thirty years ago, and Richie Faulkner has been an excellent addition as a guitarist. I found I missed the blazing guitar solos and duels that KK and Glenn provided, though. You could count on them to play back and forth and then together in each song. With Richie covering most of the complicated solos now on his own, it loses something. Andy Sneap is there as a second guitarist, but he only plays the rare, short solo bits. That’s a shame. I’m glad I saw them, but it wasn’t quite the same. Hard to explain.
We only stayed for a handful of Deep Purple songs. They closed the show. They sound pretty much the same to me, too. I used to follow them in the 70’s. Ian Gillan’s voice is still good. I do miss Richie Blackmore, and my hubby misses Jon Lord. Lord, sadly, passed away, and Blackmore took his ego and guitar and went elsewhere years ago. They had a complicated, multiple screen theater experience going on behind them which basically showed closeups of what was going on on the stage. That was nice for the folks in the nosebleed seats.
Thursday we drove six hours to York, PA. My hubby delivers all around there in his truck, so he got to show me most of the places he stops for deliveries and also where he sleeps most nights. We had a hotel room for two nights, and that was a nice break away for us.
The Cooper concert was Friday. This was the show I’d looked forward to the most. The only negative to the whole event was the International Parking Lot event where I was supposed to meet his guitarist. That didn’t work out. He was supposed to be at the merchandise stand only there was no stand anywhere. Turns out he was at the side of the stage, and I didn’t know that until afterwards.
The concert itself was great. Alice Cooper is 70. You’d never know it. He looks damned good for his age. Here’s a comparison for you. Death Punch sang 13 songs, Judas Priest sang 11 songs, and Alice Cooper did 21 songs. Alice had no opening act. It was all him. He doesn’t need an opening act. He played a long show, and he was incredible.
The crowd itself was disappointing. Maybe it was the venue (the York fairgrounds), or maybe it was just the Pennsylvania crowd. They sat on their hands. They didn’t clap. They didn’t stand or scream or dance or cheer. The people next to me came in late, sat like statues, and left halfway through. Why? Why didn’t they just stay home? I believe in getting into a show, and the crowd kind-of spoiled it for me. I get into music I like. I seat dance if I can’t stand and jump around. I felt so out of place there.
When asked afterwards which show he’d liked the best, my husband said Alice Cooper. He said he was the most polished. He certainly packed the most in to his show. He isn’t profane. Hell, he doesn’t even talk to the crowd in between songs. He just performs. The theatrics were all there – the straightjacket, the guillotine, his wife playing Nurse Sheryl (gotta love Sheryl Cooper).
In my opinion, Death Punch was the best at getting the crowd to participate. Priest was pure nostalgia for me. Alice was definitely the most entertaining and worth seeing. My vote for the best concert goes to Alice, too. I’m so glad I got the chance to see him. I’d go again if I had the chance.
My oldest son lost his job the day after Thanksgiving so black Friday had a different meaning for us this year. He ended up with no health insurance for a few months, and he’s a Type 1 (insulin-dependent) Diabetic. That made things a little scary around our house. I had to hang onto any extra cash I had (in case he needed financial help) so there were no gifts from Santa under our tree this year.
I try not to be materialistic, but having nothing to open Christmas morning really sucked. Much more than I thought it would. It was a depressing holiday.
I enjoyed the tree once we put it up (Hubby insisted we do so). It always looks pretty, and it’s covered with ornaments I made with my mother or that my boys made when they were small. It’s always a walk down memory lane, but yes, I was also glad to see it go this year. Ha! I just realized when I looked for a picture of this year’s tree that I don’t have one of it fully decorated. I took a picture when it was just covered with lights, and I was certain I was going to just leave it that way. It sat this way for several days before we put ornaments on. So here’s a picture of it unadorned with nothing but lights.
Things are starting to look up around here. My oldest son should be starting a new job soon. He’s just waiting to hear on whether or not he’s passed the physical exam. He’s also had several other interviews. He’s receiving unemployment, and he’s signed up for the Affordable Care health coverage. That was a huge relief off of Mom’s shoulders, let me tell you.
So we’ll let this holiday season slip by. They don’t have to all be stellar.