Friday, December 31, 2010
Looking back at where I was last New Year's time, and where I am now, is really sort of mind boggling.

This time last year, when I had to sit down and name this blog, I knew that I was about to undergo a lot of change. So I decided to call it 'Third Time's the Charm.' Not, as a certain Crazy Ex of Future Husband's alleged, because I was giving him a third chance, but because this is the third time I've had a big, life altering change.

A lot of my past blogs (and before that, diaries) have complained about feeling stagnant or lost, not really knowing where I was going or why or who with. When I was 11 years old, my family's home burnt down on New Year's Day. Since then, it's always been a strange day for me. Not so much a holiday, but more like a day of remembrance. Like when a loved one passes away. When the house burned, we lost literally everything. There were a few things we were thankfully able to save; some of my cousins dug through the rubble and found my parents' wedding rings, the contents of my mother's cedar chest (her wedding dress included), and the family photos the firemen grabbed off the wall when they realized we weren't home. We lived in a hotel for a while, then bounced around with relatives until the insurance company got us an apartment. The people at our church donated clothes and toys for us, but really, all we had left from before was what we had when the house went up in flames; each other.

Eleven years later (and funnily enough, the fire marking the middle point in my life), my family fell into financial ruin. We'd tried to keep our heads above water, but my mother and I got laid off within two weeks of each other. Me one week before Christmas, and her one week after. Only a few weeks earlier, knowing we were living paycheck to paycheck and fed up with Phoenix's price and weather, we'd had a family meeting and decided to move to Tulsa. We'd been through the city before on a family road trip, and fallen in love with the area. The cost of living was less than half of Phoenix's, and the economy and job market better. So when Mom and I were both suddenly jobless, we decided that instead of moving to Tulsa in the Summer of '09, we'd go right then. So in early January (again), we decided that it we'd start over. Again.

The two years I spent in Tulsa were some of the happiest of my life. I made friends, I made and saved money. I paid for two vacations entirely by myself, as well as helping support my family. I had a job I loved and finally lived in city I liked. I felt like I had finally found a home. But as everything started falling into place for me financially and personally, I found myself thinking more and more of Future Husband. At that point in time, he was still The One Who Got Away. Or rather, to him I was The One Who Got Away Because I Was A Stupid Git. We hadn't spoken to each other since May of 2007. As more and more of 2008 passed by, I found myself missing his conversation and company, and remembering all the fun we'd had together, rather than the heartache and sleeplessness and weepy self loathing he had caused me. Believe me, there was plenty of that, but that's not what I found myself thinking of in quiet moments. I missed him. I hated myself for it, and looked for answers in the bottoms of bottles. Because of the internet and our circle of mutual friends, I was able to keep tabs on him from afar. So when I found out in October of 2008 that his band would be playing a show in Tulsa in December, I seized my opportunity. I thought I might get some sort of closure out of it, but all it did was rip the stitches out of a wound that was not yet healed.

The rest, as they say, is history. Nine months after that, we were a couple. And I was faced with another big decision- try and tackle this incredibly significant relationship long distance (as if we hadn't been over enough speedbumps), or move to Seattle? Future Husband had said he was willing to quit his band and move to Tulsa, but I knew that he wouldn't be happy, and that he, G and D would miss out on something great. (Now that I live with them, and vicariously reap the benefits of a functioning band, I kick myself for not trying harder when I was in a band as a teenager. We could have been good, too, and we weren't, because I never took it seriously enough. One of the few regrets I carry.) I desperately tried to think of a way that things would work if I stayed in Tulsa, but there was just no way. Future Husband had mentioned marriage only five days into our romantic relationship. It surprised me, but the idea felt right. (That was even more surprising.) So I decided to leave behind everything I had worked to build up over the last two years, and move to Seattle, leaving behind the job I loved, The Bestest, my home, and most importantly, my Family. All for love.

So now I've started over for a third time. I'm hoping that this is the last time I will have to change everything about my life and begin with nothing. It probably won't be, but I sure hope it is. I like the idea of building a life with Future Husband, and slowly accumulating and accomplishing all of the milestones that couples pass.

I love lists, so I'm going to make a list of all of the crazy/awesome things that have happened to me over the last year.

-I moved to Seattle, a city I probably would have always wanted to visit, but never would have.
-I went to (or through) 18 states that I had not been to before, leaving 18 continental states that I have yet to see. (I'd already been through 12 of them.)
-I visited New Orleans twice.
-I became formally engaged.
-I lived in a van for 7 months.
-I visited three foreign countries, and got my first stamps in my first Passport.
-I was a bridesmaid for the first (and probably only) time.
-I've made new friends all over the country (and one in France!). Seriously. My facebook list is awesome.

And as I've been reflecting over this for the past few days, thinking of what would go on that list, I've realized that though I worry about things; like planning the wedding, and money, and being able to tour next year, I don't feel stagnant or lost anymore. I don't worry about not ever doing anything with my life. I thought that I felt like myself in Oklahoma, and undoubtedly without those years I wouldn't be who or where I am now. For the first time I can remember in a long time (honestly, probably since my pre-fire childhood), I finally feel like myself. I feel completely comfortable in my own skin, in my own life. I don't find myself yearning for things I don't have (except money) and comforting myself with the idea of 'someday.'

All of my somedays are happening.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Okay, after trying to post a blog comment while drunk, and being thwarted by the captcha, I removed the captcha from mine. I kept my comment moderation on, just to filter out spam. However, after reading the hilariousness of these, I'm thinking of taking it off all together, just so everyone can enjoy them.

Part of me has to wonder if what follows is just someone trying to translate their language's idioms into English and it backfired horribly, or if it's just computer generated gibberish. If the first, perhaps I should learn to speak Korean, because it's obvious that they are lacking translators and tutors. If the second, it gave me a good laugh. And a few quotables.

'Making hold down after outside gears to consolidation in expenditure elementary distribute, idiolect included, there is a long-legged high-priority as a running to studying English communication in those parts of the essence story, where English is not a most top-level language. This conclusion leads us that there is brobdingnagian asseveration in do a tons on of English-speaking tutors, who are specializing in teaching English. South Korea is actual of most incontestable countries in terms of union burgeoning, which means teaching English in Korea would be lustily profitable.'

'Lustily profitable' has just got to enter my vocabulary. I'm still trying to figure out what a 'long-legged high-priority' is, but I think we can all agree that English is a most top-level language.

'All in all interminable signal to consolidation in well-grounded all things, vocabulary
included, there is a consequential of the utmost status on studying English blather in those parts of the compulsory set in motion story, where English is not a most eye-catching language. This conclusion leads us that there is brobdingnagian miss in search English-speaking tutors, who are specializing in teaching English. South Korea is fifty-fifty of most encouraging countries in terms of gonorrheic backlash all here the traces, which means teaching English in Korea would be incomparably profitable.'

Honestly, looking through some of my facebook friends list, I sometimes feel like I am studying English blather. I've often thought about becoming an English teacher, and since these spam comments apparently want me to become a tutor in South Korea... wait a minute, South Korea is 'most encouraging country in terms of gonorrheic backlash'!? WTF? Forget that, I'm staying in my cozy, gonorrhea free corner of America. Thanks. I don't care if it is lustily profitable.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Towards the end of the fall tour, G asked us if we would be down to do a small tour down to Arizona, just so he could be with his family for Christmas. We agreed, of course. And so here we are on Christmas Eve, at Future Husband's parents' house. It works out well, since we ended up spending Thanksgiving with my folks.

Today started off a little rocky. I'd gone to bed last night with a ridiculously sore throat for the first time in a week. I gargled salt water, took an Advil, and went to bed early. (And by early, I mean 4:30am instead of 6.) When my (almost) Mother-In-Law knocked on the door a few hours later to have Future Husband and I help with the Turkey and the various side dishes, I was surprised (but happy) to find that my sore throat had vanished. Hooray warm salt water!

So after giving the turkey a butter massage, and making sure it was thoroughly stuffed with oyster dressing, I settled onto the couch with a cup of coffee and a book. It didn't last long, though, before sleepiness set in, and Future Husband and I went back upstairs for a nap. There was another knock on our door four hours later from my (almost) Sister-In-Law told us a family friend was visiting. We got up and dressed, and went downstairs to visit for a while before it was time for our Christmas Eve dinner.

Once (almost) Father-In-Law got home from work, we started finishing up the last bit of dinner (gravy, mashing potatoes, adding the onions to the green bean casserole.) FH, FSiL and I ran to the only open grocery store for some last minute dinner rolls and a bottle of wine. Then we sat down for the big spread. It reminded me a lot of what I would have had at home with my folks; Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn and tomato casserole (something FH is always raving about), and of course... cranberry sauce. If you don't know me in real life, or haven't been reading my blog for a while, you should know that I freaking love cranberry sauce. You can read all about it here. (I only got made fun of once tonight for my cranberry sauce consumption.)

After dinner we all sat down and watched a movie together (Gentleman Broncos, "You stole my gnads, Dennis!") before getting on with the annual tradition of decorating gingerbread cookies. I made the cookies a few days earlier (in a mad baking marathon) and accidentally burned them. Resulting in darker than usual gingerbread men, and Future Husband making a racially insensitive gingerbread man.

I however, took the half man that was the leftover dough, and the cookie that got his head popped off. And made this;

It's all right, GingerZombie bit him twice before he tore his head off. He wouldn't have remained a normal Gingerbread Man for much longer.

Behold, a GingerZombie Cookie Attack. Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Here's the best picture I was able to get myself. It's kinda blurry, but it was the clearest I took. We're supposed to have some pictures taken with a friend later this week, so hopefully there'll be some better, non-self-portrait pics later.

And yes, I know I should clean that hair brush.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
For those of you that don't keep up with the news, or are not astronomical nerds like me, tonight was a ridiculously rare event. Tonight is Winter Solstice, a full moon, AND a total lunar eclipse. The last time this happened was in 1638, 372 years ago.

Here in Arizona, there's an Italian restaurant that Future Husband's been wanting to take me to, called Baci. It's kind of out in the middle of nowhere, but seems to be doing well, which tells me they probably have a seriously loyal customer base. For dinner tonight, FH took me out for dinner to celebrate the Solstice. We started the night with an amazing Antipasto Salad. It was like Caprese Salad, but on delicious, meaty steroids. We chose soup over salad; I had Meatball and Orzo, he had Tortellini. For dinner, he had Shrimp and Scallops Florentine, and I had Chicken and Artichoke Limone. And desert? We split a Cannoli, of course. It was an amazing (and painfully filling) meal. And even though I've lived in a van with him for seven of the last ten months (and we literally cannot escape each others company), I still enjoy alone time with Future Husband. Especially date nights. It's one of the traits of my secretly girly side.

We drove home for a little pit stop until it was time to go out to see the eclpise. We chose to go to one of the county parks far away from everything, even the suburbs, so it was nice and dark. After getting a little turned around, we found the park and pulled Future Mother-in-Law's truck onto a little dirt road. We spread out sleeping bags in the back of the truck, and got to moon watching. Or trying to, anyway. Thick cloud cover had rolled in a few hours earlier, though. So we cuddled up under the sleeping bags (on the chilly, 55 degree Arizona night), and eavesdropped on the two other groups out in the park with us. We heard what sounded like a group of four teenagers talking about the Zombie Apocalypse. It was sooo tempting to sneak over to try and scare them, but we didn't. With my luck, I would've stumbled across a snake or scorpion, anyway.

As the time for the total eclipse neared, we realized we weren't going to be able to see anything because of the cloud cover. (Honestly, we spent a good deal of the time kissing anyway, so we wouldn't have seen much.) During one of our snuggly moments, Future Husband turned his face towards mine, and did that uber romantic, so-hard-to-not-get-fluttery-feelings thing where he puts his palm on my cheek and his fingers in my hair. You know, that super cinematic, really whimsical move to pull my lips to his. He kissed me eagerly, and when he pulled away, told me he loved me. He dug his hand into his pocket, and pulled out a ring.

So even though we're 'Facebook Official', and we're already knee deep in wedding plans, we didn't have a ring yet. We'd meant to get one earlier, but we hadn't run across one we liked, and practical things like not being in the country or not having a paycheck had postponed its purchase.

I smiled, and slipped it on, and Future Husband kissed me again. I held my hand up to look at my ring and saw this;

So I'll post a picture of it soon, once I have some light and Future Husband isn't kissing my neck, wanting to drag me away from my laptop. ;-D
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I woke twice during the night with bad coughing fits. It woke Future Husband, but thankfully, not D or G. The real silver lining, I’ve discovered, is that being sick and coughing so much has made me drop all the weight I gained on the Cruise. (I’ll blog about that later. No really, I will this time.) It was definitely the worst of the nights since I’ve been sick, coughing wise. Luckily, I’ve stopped waking up with a snot encrusted face.

Our wake up call came at 11 (checkout was at noon), and we picked it up, and just held it to the room so everyone could hear it. We all laughed at the hokey recording, and then promptly fell back asleep. G woke the other three of us 55 minutes later. We all frantically gathered up our things and packed the van back up.

And then we went to Waffle House. Glorious, delightfully trashy Waffle House. The boys all got their hashbrowns with various toppings, and I got my precious Apple Butter. My love of Vitamin AB is an ongoing joke for friends and relatives of mine. Seriously, I put it on or in everything; waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, toast... sometimes I just eat a spoonful from the jar. I freakin' love Apple Butter.

After stuffing our stomachs with far too much grease and sodium for a balanced diet (cause we normally eat so well on tour), we hopped on the freeway and started for Albuquerque. I read for a while, and drew a cartoon of myself, or rather, the nickname Future Husband has given me.

Count Bronchula

After having worked in the food service industry for a few years, (and my history with the dreaded Upper Respiratory Infections,) I’ve developed a habit of coughing into my elbow, instead of into my hand, which is far more unsanitary. FH has teased me that whenever I do this, with my black hoodie on, it makes me look like Dracula. Thus, Count Bronchula was born.

My laptop’s battery was exhausted, and I knew I would be doing the Albuquerque-to-Phoenix drive, so I climbed into the very back bench and took a little cat nap. We put in a quick stop at a McDonald's to kill some time and grab a snack, but after the people watching became monotonous (which happens pretty quickly in New Mexico), we hit the road again. I was on the phone with my parents when we rolled into town, so I stayed in the van on the phone, while the boys unloaded and shot some pool to kill time.

I went in for the show, which was pretty fun for a Monday night. They didn’t make a lot of money, or sell a ton of merch, mostly because it was loyal fans in the area showing up. But I did reconnect with someone I met ten months ago on the first tour, and her husband offered the guys a show and a place to stay next time they came through town, with a very interesting payment method (free hours of tattoo work if they played a show at his shop.)

The bar closed early, since everyone was there to see them and it was a free show. The boys waited around for their bar payout, and then we hit the road. Well, first we hit Del Taco (oh, Inferno sauce) and then we hit the road.

I lasted for about 150 miles before I realized that I had severely overestimated my recovery. I started feeling feverish, and going into coughing fits. I asked Future Husband to take over for about a hundred miles or so, while I rested my eyes for a bit. I woke up briefly when he stopped for gas (about a hundred miles later) and then again at 7:00. AM. I asked him to drive for an hour and a half and he ended up doing the bulk of the drive. What a keeper! I switched at the first opportunity we got, and finished the 70 miles to his parents’ house, where G and D dropped us off.

Within about 20 minutes, we were upstairs and asleep. Sweet, precious sleep.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So the silver lining to my cough seems to have disappeared. I woke up Sunday morning by coughing myself awake. We camped out with my Denver GBF until absolutely time to go. We watched silly movies and drank Bloody Marys. (Well, the boys did. I drank my orange juice and shot zombies for a while.) Future Husband ordered my ring online (Yay!), so now we can fulfill the bling requirement of our engagement.

When we did finally take off in the afternoon, we dropped the DGBF off at work, and hopped on the freeway til Colorado Springs. It’s a pretty short drive, and we managed to miss both rush hours. We arrived at our friend’s new art gallery, and found brownies (the safe kind) and a keg waiting for us, and pizza on the way. Future Husband and I ran down to the Starbucks on the corner and got some hot tea for me, as I’m not quite beer savvy again.

The guy that opened was amazing. Probably one of my favorite musicians that we’ve played with on tour. He’s a 19 year old wunderkind with a steel guitar and a hollow box he stomps on while he plays. I liked him so much I spent the $10 my grandmother sent me for my birthday on a shirt of his. (I had been saving it for burritos in Arizona.)

I always like the art gallery shows in Colorado Springs, because it’s always just a couple of friends, bringing other friends, for an intimate, fun show. We hung out for a while afterwards, before our friend handed us money for a cheap hotel room. He had told us we could stay with him on Sunday night, but then his mother came into town, and he hosted her instead (obviously.) So he strong-armed us into getting a motel room so we wouldn’t have to sleep in the van. But he also gave us enough money for cheap beer for Future Husband and D, and pizza and wings.

We headed to the nearest Motel 6 and grabbed a room for the night. I ran FH and D out to a liquor store to pick up a few brewskies, and ordered from Domino’s when we got back to the room. Then it was just a leisurely night of Adult Swim and hot showers. Sweet, wonderful, much anticipated hot showers.

And of course, a pre-sleep 10 minute coughing fit that made me sure an internal organ or two would spring forth any moment.

Sunday, December 12, 2010
I woke up first, before any of the guys, in a coughing fit. After expelling what seemed like a metric ton of mucus, I wrote a little bit and then started shooting zombies and drinking orange juice. After about an hour of that, everyone woke up all at once, and we went about starting our day. Which, of course, including drinking lots and lots of coffee.

We watched the beginning of 'Galaxy Quest' while waiting to hear back from my Denver GBF, then started the short drive to Denver. At his house, we were treated to a mexican feast; chips and salsa, queso, shrimp cocktail and homemade enchiladas. It was amazing.

And then we just hung out. It was great! The guys were sipping Coronas and smoking hookah, and Denver GBF and I were laughing at old stories. After a while, though, we did have to go to the show.

The guys were playing at a new venue that they hadn't played at before, at a show set up by a new Friend Band. It was a great place, and even though there were five bands, the show went smoothly. None of the other bands painfully sucked, and everyone in them was nice. The guys played very well, and were the only band that the crowd cheered for an encore. It was another Hallmark Movie Montage sort of night. The crowd at least doubled in size while they played. We sold a lot of merch, and at the end of the night, the other bands gave my guys either some or all of their cut of the door money. So it was our most lucrative show yet.

After a celebratory round of jager shots with the bartender, I loaded my drunk little guys into the van, and we went to pick up Denver GBF from his night out. With a quick stop at a 24 hour Burger King, we made it home and hung out for another two hours before everyone crashed.

I had so much fun, it was easy to overlook the fact that a city pipe burst and Denver GBF had no running water. So no showering (and therefore no naked time for Future Husband and I.) But I had too much fun for that or my gross mucus situation to keep me down.
Saturday, December 11, 2010

The terrible combination of being ridiculously sick and away from internet access has kept me away from my blog. Sorry! (Believe me, I’m sure I enjoyed it far less than you did.)

Day 6
Tuesday morning came, and I woke feeling worse than I did Monday. This was not boding well for me. We hung out at our friend’s house with her and all three kids (everyone but dad had stayed home) until it was absolutely time to leave for Reno. Future Husband took the first half of the drive, and as we were about the leave Lassen Forest, I took over.

We made good time, considering how often us sickies stopped for coffee, and therefore, bathrooms. We pulled into the club in Reno and unloaded pretty soon after. The good friend we usually stay with in Reno is between housing situations (which I’ve found can be a problem with the type of people who take home an entire band from a bar), so we couldn’t stay with him. He was trying to find a friend that would let us crash, but we decided to just load up on coffee and start the 16 hour drive to Colorado.

The guys played pretty well, and we sold some merch. Which is good, considering there were only six people besides the people that worked there and me. In fact, a pair of guys who barely spoke English drove up from Carson City to see them. The show ended prematurely, however, when D broke the head on his snare drum.

We hung out with our friend for only a little while, and hit the road at midnight-ish. We stopped at a creepy little truck stop about 30 miles east of Reno for sandwiches, chips and soda. D started the night drive, while the rest of us climbed in the back to try and sleep.

Day 7, or The No Good, Terrible, Very Bad Day
Neither Future Husband nor I slept much on the drive, as both of our colds were keeping us up. Mine turned into a terrible sounding cough and a tremendously sore throat, and his was sinus pressure so bad, driving through the mountains and changing altitude was pushing it around and giving him a awful headache.

When we rolled into a gas station outside Salt Lake City (D was a coffee drinking and driving machine), we both had maybe three disjointed hours of sleep. I climbed out to use the bathroom and discovered that I had done something I’d managed to avoid not doing in the last eleven years. I ruined my favorite pair of jeans. Did I mention that in addition to being sick, it was my special Lady Time? Add to that the sleeplessness and the throat so sore and swollen that I could barely talk or swallow my own saliva, and you have a very grumpy Lori. So I climbed into the very back bench, put on my favorite comfy pants, got under a sleeping bag, and read about Ted Bundy. Strange, I know, but that’s what made me happy right then. After a little while, I was able to grab a few more hours of sleep. I woke up in Cheyenne, where Future Husband bought me a Frosty at the truck stop Wendy’s and I took over the 60 mile drive into Fort Collins.

We got to this friend’s house about 5 o’clock, and proceeded to sit like sick little lumps on her couch until we fell asleep about midnight. With the exception of a Walmart run to buy a gallon of orange juice.

Day 8
We had all day to kill before we had to drive to the venue, which was about five minutes from the house. The guys decided they wanted Pho (which if you don’t know, is a delicious Vietnamese beef and noodle soup and you should totally seek some out) and I figured a big bowl of hot broth could only benefit me. We loaded up the five of us in the van, and took off on our soupy adventure. Everyone had a runny nose by the time we left, either because the hot broth loosened everything, or because there was so much added Sriracha. Or both.

After our Pho adventure, we went back to the house and watched a lot of Logo before we went to the show. Like, a lot. That channel is fabulous.

By the time we got to the show, the little bit of good the pho had done me was wearing off. I felt miserable the entire time, and my ears had been aching since the afternoon. My throat was swelling up again, and the only available table to do merch at was right by the door, so I was shivering for a good portion of the night. Future Husband lent me his hoodie for a while, and I draped it over my legs.

The guys sounded great, and it was a good show, even though it was peppered with tiny mistakes. They were all sick, so it was to be expected, but they had fun, so the crowd had fun. Everyone won. We sold a lot of merch, and made a lot off the door, so we have a nice little gas fund now. The guys were feeling well enough to enjoy their three free pitchers of beer. I was not, but did partake in the free pizza. After eating, I felt better. A terrible predicament for someone with a sore throat; eat, and you’ll feel better, but eating is a torturous experience you have to force yourself to do.

After the show and the free pizza and beer, I loaded up the tipsies and the drunkies and drove them all back to the friend’s house. I was hoping since everyone was sick, and since she had dealt with a terrible stomach bug only a few days previously, everyone would want to crash. I was wrong.

More friends trickled in after we got back, and they all complained (very loudly and drunkenly) that there was no beer or liquor in the house. Until one of the roommates came out and reminded everyone that he had work at 8:30. Luckily for me, the party moved to the back room and the hot tub outside, so I stayed in the living room, right by the quiet roommate’s door. At 4 o’clock, I decided I couldn’t put it off anymore, and made up the sleeping bags on the floor, just as Future Husband came in from the hot tub. He dried off and changed into his comfy pants, and climbed into bag next to me with his book. I fell asleep after only two coughing fits. It was quite an improvement.

Day 9
I woke up feeling much better. I still had a snot encrusted face, but my throat felt so improved that it brightened my mood. After a trip to the bathroom to chip away the flaky sick on my face, I helped myself to a big glass of orange juice, and started shooting zombies on my computer. It was, after all, part of my prescription from Future Husband only a few days before.

We all took our time getting ready, lazily watching TV, taking long, hot showers, and running off to nearby establishments for food. G took D on a ‘mandate’ (and only complained once that he didn’t put out). FH and I ran over to grab a new headlight for the Ogre so he wouldn’t be a Cyclops anymore. (This is the second time we’ve done this.

We hit the road about 5 o’clock, so as to avoid as much rush hour as possible. It didn’t work that well in Fort Collins, but we missed almost all of Denver’s, so it was worth it. When we got to Colorado Springs, G and D headed into the club, while Future Husband and I walked next door to Dutch Brothers. MUCH preferred to Starbucks, but we probably can’t lounge around in a Dutch Bros. all day getting free refills and wi-fi. Oh, well.

The show was a pretty good one, though not as packed as it usually is. One of the friend bands (Friend Band- n. - a band made up of or including a friend or friends, that the guys usually play the show with.) was playing at the opening of a new art gallery in town, so a lot of the crowd that is usually at our show, was over there. The boys still got more free pitchers that are supposed to be allotted, we sold some merch, and were paid well off the bar. So it was still pretty good for a Friday night.

The show’s promoter offered to let us crash on his floor, saving us a drive up to Denver to stay with my other GBF. And to top the night off, we pulled through the only burrito joint not within 100 miles of the border that’s decent. Oh, carne asada, how I’ve missed you.

When we got to the Promoter’s apartment we made up our sleeping bags and watched ‘Bad Taste’, a completely ridiculous movie. Future Husband loves it because it’s so bad it’s good, and G was disturbed by how funny we found the campy, schlocky gore.

In spite of feeling better for most of the day (and my sore throat ever fading) I had a pretty nasty coughing fit during the movie, and right before I fell asleep. Thankfully, it doesn’t feel like it’s migrated south to my chest (which would fulfill my annual upper respiratory infection requirement), but has stayed pretty much in my throat. Silver lining, right?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
After the long relaxing day we had Sunday, Monday was a nice way to ease back into the tour routine. Kinda. We have a big drive on Tuesday, so that may be a bit of a downer.

When I woke up I made the guys breakfast burritos, even though I was feeling ten shades of terrible. Future Husband and D are sick as well, but they both felt better Sunday night, after a long day of eating, drinking coffee and playing video games, so FH demanded that I sit down and get to gaming. I complied of course, and spent the next few hours watching Nightmare Before Christmas, and then a Law & Order marathon, all while peacefully shooting zombies on my computer.

When it was time for the show, we crammed into the van (and our friends into theirs, since he was opening for the guys) and caravaned over to the bar. When we first got there, it seemed like it would be like their shows usually are there; under attended. That didn't stop us from having fun, though. And there were a handful of people there, including some friends who drove from out of town to see the guys play. She always bakes us delicious muffins with crazy names. This time they're "Cherry Bomb Bounce" and "Mucho Mango Madness."

Our friend opened, and we all sat and enjoyed him while the guys enjoyed their 40's of PBR that our muffin making friend bought them. I kept turning down shots, since I was feeling under the weather and had to drive. After our friend finished though, I accepted a shot of Jagermeister from him. Future Husband told me that in Germany, they use it like cough syrup, so why not? I felt better for about two minutes, went into a nasty coughing fit and coughed up what looked like key lime pie, and then felt better again. For a little while.

The guys played well, and again, people wandered in from outside. There are a few other bars right next to that one in downtown Medford, and it's literally right across the street from a college campus. By the end of the set there were about twice as many people as when they started, including a big group of girls that were just absolutely fawning over G. They ended up buying CDs, though, so fawn away little girls. Fawn away. It ended up being the most lucrative show the guys have had at this bar, even though it was a Monday.

One of our friend's co-workers completely flipped over the guys' music, and was so anxious to hang out with the guys after the show, that he offered to fill up the van's gas tank if we would give them a ride home and hang out with them. Even though D, FH and I were feeling so awful, we realized that we were basically getting paid a tank of gas for hanging out. So we all piled into the Ogre (through the front door, because the sliding side door is broken) and drove around Medford until we found an open gas station (because Oregon is one of two crazy states where you can't pump your own gas.) After that we made it to the guys house, where we snacked on an industrial sized tank of salted almonds (yum!) and mixed a few drinks. This time, I gave in and had a Captain and Pepsi. (Which I regretted about half an hour later, as it made my fever unbearable.)

After about an hour of hanging out, we made our goodbyes, thanked him profusely for the gas, and promised to let him know whenever there was a show in town. We made our way back to the house and tore into some crockpot beef stew. Everyone else tuckered out, and as usual, Future Husband and I were the last ones up. We read for a while in bed, before enjoying a feverish cuddle for a few minutes. It ended in both of us randomly going into coughing fits.

I can't wait to feel better. I hate being sick, especially on tour.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Today we had a day off. Great is an understatement.

The friends we're staying with in Medford have some football thingy with Direct TV, so G and D were super excited, as was the entire family. Future Husband and I really couldn't give two hoots. So FH busted out his PS3 and the new game my brothers surprised him with at Thanksgiving, and I did what I do; I cooked.

It sounds so Betty Crocker/Happy Homemaker of me, but I really do enjoy cooking. So last night I told our friends to not worry about cooking for us, to just sit back and relax and enjoy all of their football games. After sleeping in for quite a while this morning and afternoon, I dragged myself out of bed (a bed, not a couch!) and went to the nearby grocery store. I had a forty dollar budget, so loaded up on delicious things, and then went back to the house and made them into even more delicious things.

I first made finger foods; Barbecue and Pastrami Stuffed Mushrooms (I tweaked my mom's recipe by adding bacon, of course) and a Ham, Cheese and Broccoli Croissant Ring. It seems like there are far too many adjectives there to describe finger food. I would have taken pictures, but all the food disappeared pretty quickly, and I was prepping dinner. Which, no surprise here, was Carbonara. Over the last few months it's become my signature dish. Anytime someone wants me to cook for them for some occasion, they choose Carbonara. Future Husband and I have even decided to have Chicken and Spinach Carbonara as one of the dishes at our wedding. (We're going to save money and cater it ourselves.) Maybe someday I'll finally get my food blog up and running.

While I let everyone digest the h'ors doeuvres, I curled up with my book and killed a chapter. Then I went right back to the kitchen to start the Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara. Soooo yummy. Everyone (even the kids with their picky appetites) ate it. The teenage boys loved it especially. Then all of us (me and my guys, and our friends and their three kids) gathered in the living room and watched Anchorman together. After the movie we stuffed our faces with more food. This time Strawberry Shortcake.

The family headed to bed first, since Monday morning was approaching at an alarming rate, and left us nocturnal musician sorts to our own devices... which was more video games and late night comedy central. After FH and I watched the season finale of The Walking Dead (a bit of a disappointment, really) and a few more episodes of Modern Family before hitting the hay.

Days like today are one of my favorite things about tour; getting to spend time with various friends all over the country that I wouldn't have met otherwise.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Ashland, Oregon, is on the opposite side of the state from Portland. So we had a long drive ahead of us. After we left the cool bartender's house at 2:00pm, we hit the I-5 and stayed on it. Future Husband, still suffering through his nasty head cold, fell back asleep almost immediately. I read one of the books I brought along until the light outside ran out. (Even then, I finished the chapter by the light of my cell phone.) After a few rounds of Tetris on my phone, I gave in and took a nap.

We rolled into Medford (about 15 miles north of Ashland), and stopped at our friends' house. There, they had a crockpot full of ham and navy beans waiting for us, with cheesy garlic bread and cold soda and beer. Heaven. Especially since all I'd had thus far to eat was a Nutrigrain bar and an Emergen-C packet.

After loading up on delicious beans (which I would regret for about 24 hours) we piled into the van and hit the highway again. The venue the guys played was a semi-underground, small bar/restaurant. Twenty home brewed beers on tap, though. (Amazing!) Apparently, the day had been devoted to the 'Civil War Game', in which both Oregon state colleges played against each other. The bartender apologized before hand for the small crowd, as it seemed everyone was drinking at home or tailgating because of the game. The guys refer to it as their curse, as they so often hear, 'This place was packed last night!'

We could tell they were going to be loud. It was a small room, with plaster walls and a concrete floor. The bartender even mentioned that as they were setting up. After a snafu with the cords for the PA (i.e. - there weren't any) they were able to get set up and play. The boys weren't in a very good mood, as they were all sick, and could tell they were going to catch hell for the noise level. They almost didn't play. As the first song started, the bartender came up to me and told me they needed to turn down.

A few moments later, during the same song, an older guy that had been sitting at the bar walked up to the guys, and started yelling at them to turn down in the middle of their song. The bartender came up to me again, and I told her that they would turn down at the end of the song. When G finished, the bartender was up by the stage, and he tried to explain that they were turned as low as they could and still be heard over the drums. G, tired, sick and grumpy, said, "Thank you, goodnight!" into the mic, and unplugged. The bartender and the small group of people on the couches in the back half of the room all made a ruckus. They wanted them to keep playing, and shouted that they wanted the vocals louder. The bartender, after getting the small crowd to cheer and get them to convince the boys to keep playing, told me it was only one guy that had complained. I went to the bar, and offered him a pair of ear plugs (I usually sell them for $1.)

Then the jackass had the nerve to be rude. As he was taking free earplugs from me, he complained, "They are way too loud." (In a whiny tone that was completely unbecoming of a man his age.)

Always trying to be persuasive and point out the flaw in someone's logic (and therefore make myself feel superior), I calmly replied, "The room is practically designed to be loud. I mean, no carpet, low ceilings-"

He interrupted and snapped back, "Well, then they need to learn some adaptive management and be better at playing in the room they're in."

He said it with such a condescending snap to his voice that I filled with anger almost immediately. I usually don't care enough to get into an argument with a stranger, but this guy pissed me off. I mean, he didn't even say thank you for the ear plugs. It was the fact that he patronized me. I hate when people assume something based on my appearance, which is what obvious this guy did. What, because I have messy hair and black eyeliner and I'm with the band means I'm some sort of idiot groupie barfly? 'Adaptive Management?' He thinks he can bust out some three syllable nonsense and belittle me? That I'll be so confused and lowered that I'll turn the dials on the amps down myself?

I tried to not let any of my anger show in my voice as I responded, "Well, there's no way to control the volume on the drum set. And with the acoustics of this room, it would be hard to play at any level that you'd find acceptable."

I turned and walked away, back to my seat and my free beer by the merch. The guys (finally plugged back in and turned on again) started their second song. After only a few seconds, the old fart at the bar scooped up his paperwork and left. The group of people that had come to see the guys cheered as he walked out.

Seriously. Who goes to a bar on a Saturday night to do paperwork?

After he left, the boys played very well, and the tiny crowd loved them. They danced at the front of the room, by the stage. People wandered in from the streets and called their friends to join them. Writing it down makes it sound like some sort of Hallmark movie of the week montage. But that really does happen when they play. I love it. There was even a blind kid that showed up half way through the set, and was rocking out. It was amazing.

After they finished, the bartender explained that the cranky coot at the bar was an acquaintance of the owner's, and that's why she was trying to appease him by asking the boys to turn down. Once he left though, everything turned out great. We hung out at the bar until it closed, with the various people that had attended. We had to turn down invites to go out to other bars and to house parties, since everyone was sick and we were staying a few miles up the freeway.

A lot of time on tour, (it seems) what looks like a terrible show approaching will magically transform into a great show. Last night was one of those, and was pretty welcome after the first two Oregon shows.

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Seattle, United States
During this course of study, you will come to learn much about the strange eating, sleeping and mating habits of the Instrospective Lori under stress. We will observe as she moves halfway across the country to start a life with her own Captain Wentworth, takes a year off of work to pursue a writing career, and incessantly references Jane Austen.
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