There has been all kinds of stress and drama going on in my life the past few months. You'd think I would take the opportunity to blog more instead of less to work through every thing, but I just can't bring myself to "put it all out there".
Instead I'm trying to stay positive.
In the midst of all the drama and stress there have been some highlights, one of which was meeting a fellow blogger in November. Meg and her brand new husband J took their honeymoon in the Pacific Northwest. They started in Seattle, moved on to Canada, moved back through WA on their way to OR and eventually ending up in the bay area of CA. She's blogged about it with some wonderful pictures, please go check out!
They joined us for Thanksgiving dinner which was a huge treat for all of us. After they left to go back to their hotel Handy Man told me it was the best Thanksgiving he remembers in years. It was because of the company of Meg and J.
The next day Asthmagirl, her husband TOG, Meg, J, myself and Handy Man met for lunch at the Pub.
Asthmagirl, Meg and Myself enjoying beverages! (photo stolen from either AG or Meg, I can't remember, haha)
We all enjoyed each others company so much! I was sad and happy to see them leave. Sad because I knew it would be a very long time before I saw them again. Happy because I knew they were leaving for a honeymoon that would have new experiences and sites and that they were going to have a great time!
I've met a few bloggers in "real life" and every one of them has been wonderful and I call them all my friends!
I've been trying to write this post all week and it just hasn't been what I wanted it to be. Words kept failing me. I'm definitely not a poet or a writer of profound words. I'm just a person who feels strongly about things, event and experiences and tries to share the best I can.
Today I received a treasure in the mail. It was this book.
While reading the back jacket cover I found the words I was searching for written by the lead singer of my favorite band. And to think I was not going to buy this book, I was going to put it on my Christmas list. What was I thinking?! *shakes head*
"We set out to make music to satisfy ourselves. Something we would have not imagined is that people have made friendships, shared ideas and shared their humanity with each other through the music. They've become husbands and wives and best friends. That's all outside of us. All we did was play music. The fact that it has all happened is semi-overwhelming and humbling." - Eddie Vedder
I've talk many times about the great and lasting friendships I've made because of Pearl Jam. Friends who live all over the world. Friends who mean the world to me, even though I don't get to see them very often, some of whom I have never met in "real" life. Chris and I got to meet, in real life, one of those friends we've known online for 9 years at the PJ 20 celebration in WI!
The guy between Chris and I is Luis, he's from Portugal! It was so great to finally meet him after all these years of sharing the PJ love! The guy on the end next to me is Matt from Germany, Chris and I met him in real life a few years ago in Boston. We have met up with Matt at a few shows since and once he came to Seattle, after seeing PJ in California, and had dinner with me and Handy Man.
I'm grateful to Pearl Jam for 20 years of music and for the amazing friendships I've formed because of their music.
The waiting drove me mad... I'm finally here and I'm so glad! A couple months ago I made this post about how difficult it was to get tickets to this PJ gig. That was the hardest part of the whole trip. Once we were there it was smooth sailing.
We stayed at the Abbey Resort on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin.
The hotel was old, but well kept and really beautiful.
It was about 30 minutes to the venue from the hotel. Our travel package included transportation to and from the show. We met up with our great friends Mark and Chris, who were staying at the same hotel, and caught the bus to Alpine Valley.
From the bus we could see lightning in the distance and hoped that we would make it into the venue before it started raining.
We had arrived!
Thankfully we did make it in right as the rain started.
And it rained most of the day. There was a little break in the middle of the day and we ventured out to see Glen Hansard perform, always a treat!
The ticket package we purchased from the fan club included all kinds of goodies, including admittance into the "VIP" section. It was roomy, had clean bathrooms with no lines and free food!
At the top right of this photo you can see the VIP sign with stairs leading up to where we hung out most of the day.
We all had a great time talking music, telling stories and drinking beer!
Some of the best times I've had have been spent with my Pearl Jam friends. They are all so cool!
We had great seats and were pretty darn excited when the music started on the main stage! First up was a Seattle band called Mudhoney. They have been around longer than PJ and they rocked the house.
Next came Queens of the Stone Age, who also proved what an amazing rockin' band they are!
The surprise for me was The Strokes. I'm a super casual fan, only familiar with the radio hits. I loved their set and the lead singer reminded me of my son! Unfortunately the lighting for their set was really dark so I only got blurry pictures.
When The Strokes finished their set the anticipation of the crowd was incredible. We were all waiting for our favorite band.
Finally it was time for Pearl Jam. To say I had an emotional moment during the opening song, Release, would be an understatement. It's the first time I've almost cried at a concert. Not to get all mushy, but seriously the love and admiration coming from the crowd to their favorite band was palatable.
It was definitely a show for the fans. They played obscure favorites that a casual fan might have never heard before. I was in heaven.
What happened next would have been a shock if I hadn't already heard that these songs were soundchecked. Eddie introduced Chris Cornell to the stage. This meant there was going to be a Temple of the Dog reunion. Temple of the Dog was a one time band, who put out one album in honor of Andy Wood. Andy was the singer of Mother Love Bone and just as they were about to hit it big he died of a heroin overdose. This left Jeff and Stone looking to form a new band, which is how Pearl Jam was born. Eddie had just come to Seattle to start recording music with Jeff and Stone and walked right in to the studio where Temple of the Dog was recording. He sang back up on a few songs and did a duet with Chris Cornell called Hunger Strike. Here is what Hunger Strike sounded like on September 3, 2011!!
It was a day/night to remember and we still had another day/night to go!
Handy Man and I spent the long Labor Day weekend with friends in Wisconsin. We flew out Friday, got home Monday night at 8:30 and I went to work at 6:00 am on Tuesday. I have not caught up on sleep yet!
Our time in Wisconsin was so fun! It's always a treat to spend time with our friends.
Me and Chris
Handy Man and Mark (Chris's husband)
We don't get to see them often enough! We met people from all over the world coming together for one reason, Pearl Jam's 20th Birthday bash!
It was a memorable weekend!
More details to come later, I know there are one or two of you who are interested in hearing about it!
Next Saturday I will be celebrating Pearl Jam's 20th Anniversary with thousands of other PJ fans in Alpine Valley WI. I'm looking forward to seeing friends I haven't seen in years and a meeting some in "real" life for the first time!
In honor of that upcoming trip here is a Pearl Jam performance on MTV's Unplugged from 1992. Enjoy!
Go read Part 1 if you missed it. You can read Snooty's point of view, with different pictures, here and here.
After a great nights sleep we woke to have coffee and AG's famous sourdough start pancakes. Now I am not a pancake fan, at all. These pancakes were amazing. While AG tended to the meat, her dad tended to the pancakes.
This breakfast was going to give my newly gallbladder free body a workout! I ate bacon, sausage and four, yes count 'em, FOUR pancakes. Pretty good for someone who doesn't even like pancakes.
After we reluctantly said goodbye to our wonderful hosts we made the long trek to Des Moines where Snooty met the Brute Squad and made friends with Fiona, who doesn't take to new people very well. Snooty also made fast friends with AG's youngest daughter who joined us for dinner at Barnacles in Des Moines. Snooty might have had an oyster shooter or two! Three of us might have had cocktails!
The next morning we were scheduled to meet AG at the Pub for brunch but she wasn't feeling well. Handy Man, Drill Daughter and I ended up taking Snooty to Salty's on Alki for their award winning Sunday brunch. The restaurant is right on the water and has an amazing view of downtown Seattle. After we gorged were pleasantly full we took a walk along Alki Beach and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day and the water.
Some words about Snooty... She is exactly like you would picture her to be from her blog. She's funny, sweet, honest, generous and seriously pretty! Her child like wonder at all the new things she saw and experienced thrilled me. Seeing Seattle and the other parts of WA State through her eyes really made me appreciate what we have here in our little corner of the world.
I will welcome Snooty back to my house whenever she wants to visit!
Blog Fest West was renamed Fun with Snooty because, well, she's the only one who came! The Baroness was scheduled to come but she got sick, antibiotic type sick, so she did not make the trek down from Canada. Asthmagirl and I stuck to the plans we made when we were anticipating a larger crowd, picked up Snooty from the airport and headed to Burien.
The series of events went like this:
Trip to the Burien Farmer's Market
Lunch at the Pub
Dinner on my patio
Early to bed, late to rise before heading off to the Pike Place Market
Boarded a WA State ferry bound for Harstine Island via Bremerton
Arrived at one of the most beautiful places on earth!
For those who could not make the trip you really missed out on this part of our adventure! AG's dad and step mom (Opa and Oma) live in a little corner of paradise!
The view from the deck...
Seriously the view from almost every window in the house looks like this!
And we got to spend the night at that lovely place, how lucky were we?!
Both Oma and Opa are master gardeners and it's reflected in their gorgeous yard.
The next post will be about our fabulous breakfast on Harstine Island and some words about Snooty!
In mid-July my friends from MA, ID and OR came to visit me... Actually they mostly came to town to see the Eddie Vedder solo concert in Seattle at Beneroya Hall. The show was really incredible. One of the best shows I've been to. Between My Morning Jacket in June and Eddie Vedder in July I saw some incredible music being played this summer and I still have Pearl Jam in WI coming up in September!
Opening for Eddie was Glen Hansard from the bands The Frames and Swell Season. The only song I knew from him was Falling Slowly (a Swell Season song) which won an Academy Award in 2007. He completely blew me away and I've since added his music to my playlist!
During Eddie's set Glen came out and sang a couple songs with him. At one point Eddie and Glen stepped away from the microphones and sang Sleepless Nights from Eddie's Ukeulele Songs album. Here is that performance:
Truly an incredible goosebump moment while sitting in the crowd!