Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Chemical Romance

So many requests for details about the MCR concert cannot be ignored! Here are all the gritty details and a couple of video clips from my crappy camera.

We arrived at Tempe Beach Park around 7:something Friday night. Todd & Bryce went to hang out in the VIP lounge (I'm going to pretty much leave them out of this part of the story, since obviously we didn't want to take the baby to front stage, even though he was wearing ear plugs). Allie & I positioned ourselves as close to the best spot (just slightly to the right of the catwalk at front stage) as we could. I scoped the crowd for centimeters of space that would help us move even closer, then schooled Allie on how to get up front without being rude or pushing.
We watched a bit of Billy Talent, then I felt guilty leaving Todd & Bryce, so I left Allie to watch alone for a bit (she was perfectly safe in a mass of squealing teen girls and a few moms and we both had our cell phones [i'm so glad we got those!]).
After visiting with T & B and watching a little of Puddle of Mudd, who followed Billy Talent, it was almost time for MCR to come on stage. Oh wait--funny story. While Allie and I were watching Billy Talent, Gerard Way (he's the singer of MCR for those of you who are not familiar) came to the side stage to watch some of the performance. Allie and I noticed him at the same time and looked at each other. Allie said, "I can't believe he's standing RIGHT THERE!" He looked delicious. I mean, edible. I mean...whatever. Insert an appropriate word, because I can't think of one!
Okay, so fast forward to the end of the Puddle of Mudd show. Once that ended, Dillard's put on a really lame dance show which I suffered through while trying to get back to Allie. In anticipation of MCR, the crowd had quadrupled in size and I couldn't see Allie anywhere.
MCR came on and opened with "I'm not okay," and I started crying because I couldn't find Allie and this being such a momentous occasion, I HAD to be with her and see the expression on her face and share this with her.
So, I wiggled my way to the spot I had previously left Allie and she wasn't there. Being 5'3", I couldn't see over most heads to get her location. I texted her phone and told her to put her hand up, but I still couldn't see her. Finally, I asked this big Indian guy to lift me up so I could find her. He did and I saw her--up and to the left--even closer to prime positioning. I was impressed. I then squirmed my way through the sweaty masses to get to her.
Allie was alight with energy and squealing and shrieking like I've never seen before. The hilight of her night was when Gerard threw a water bottle and spit a bunch of water into the crowd and some of it landed in her eye. She was absolutely thrilled that Gerard had spit in her eye. I silently hoped that he had brushed thoroughly that day.
The only annoying thing about the show was that every single person in the crowd sang every single word to every single song as loudly as he/she could. I could hardly hear Gerard singing. Okay, so I was singing, too, but still. Now on to the juicy goodness....
Okay, in this first video, Gerard smacks his butt. Hehe.

And in this one, he says, "Arizona," and walks right up next to us! You can hear Allie screaming, too.

And the final video I will put on here (for now) is my favorite song, "I don't love you."

I've been to so many shows in my life that I don't think I could even count them all. From the time I got my driver's license and my first job, bagging groceries at Safeway, I have been a concert-goer. I think my first was Modern English, and The Alarm opened for them. Anyway, none of them could possibly be as special to me as this MCR show because I got to see it with Allie. Thanks, Al! You rock my socks!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Holding Madeline in the Light

I am speechless right now. I'm angry. I'm sad. No, sad doesn't even begin to touch the way my heart is hurting right now. The little girl in the picture below died Sunday of diabetic ketoacidosis from undiagnosed type-1 diabetes. Her death could easily have been prevented, but her parents chose NOT to get medical attention for their daughter.

Hearing this story took me back to the day my daughter, Allie, was diagnosed with type 1 (which is an unpreventable, uncurable but TREATABLE auto-immune disease that causes the beta cells, which produce insulin in the pancreas, to die). It was October 18, 2006; she was 12--just one year older than Madeline. We have certainly had our ups and downs on the diabetes trail, and had some close calls, but Allie is alive and I am so very very grateful for that. Please say a prayer for Madeline. I wish I could ask you to pray for her parents, but I can't. I know I have to, but I just can't. Not yet.

WESTON — An 11-year-old Weston girl died Sunday from a treatable form of diabetes after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical treatment, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said this afternoon.

Vergin said the girl’s parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, attributed the death of their daughter, Madeline Neumann, to the belief they didn’t have enough faith.The child’s aunt from California called police and asked them to go to the home to check on her niece, Vergin said.
Madeline Neumann then was taken by ambulance to Saint Claire’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.Vergin said the cause of death was diabetic ketoacidosis, which develops when a person has too little insulin in their body. Left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis might cause a person to lose consciousness and die, according the Mayo Clinic Web site.
“It is our understanding that instead of seeking medical help, they chose to pray over her and their faith would heal her,” Vergin said. He said the family has no ties to a specific church or religion.Police will investigate Neumann’s death and forward their findings to the Marathon County district attorney’s office to determine whether a crime was committed, Vergin said.
Kathy Ziembo, an advanced practice registered nurse for Aspirus Wausau Hospital, said diabetic ketoacidosis is a treatable condition that the hospital helps patients with several times a week.Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and fatigue, are among the condition’s symptoms, which is fatal if left untreated, she said.
“You know if there is something wrong,” Ziembo said.Vergin said the girl had not seen a doctor since she was 3. Police have not had contact with the Neumann family in the past. A shortage of insulin causes the body to break down fat which produces toxic acids known as ketones, Ziembo said. Treatment generally takes a few days in the hospital as patients are given insulin intravenously and fluids are replaced, she said. People with Type 1 diabetes are at the highest risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Type 1 diabetes in children typically develops as a genetic condition that requires insulin treatments.
Type 2 diabetes patients are able to generate some insulin, but not enough. Type 2 typically develops as the result of a health issue and is often preventable, according to doctors.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Leica M8; help me think, people!

isn't she lovely? the first time i saw a Leica rangefinder in person was when i met Bill Allard (yes, the National Geographic Magazine staff photographer!!!!!) at a gallery showing in Charlotesville, VA; he was wearing it (Mr. Allard actually asked my opinion of a particular photograph and he agreed with me; i nearly passed out). i have a thing for German cameras. actually, i have a closet full of Contax SLR film cameras and Zeiss lenses that i won't use often because they're...well, film cameras. it's painful to shoot with film and not know if i've got the shot or not and then have the expense of film and processing when i could be shooting digital. okay, i have an embarrassing little point and shoot, which is okay for taking snapshots, but how do you put filters on a point and shoot? how do you manually adjust your aperture on a point and shoot (okay, yes, i know, you can use the cute little pictures on the dial to adjust it somewhat, but you can't get that custom fine tuning you get with fully manual control). how do i shoot macro (my favorite thing to do in the world just for me, by the way) on a point and shoot?!? okay, the little fake macro function is so not working for me!

okay, so the Leica M8 is $5K just for the body. add a couple of lenses and...well, let's suffice it to say that it would take me about 10 years to save up enough money for this camera.

so i had this brilliant idea (you should know that i have a long and winding history of really bad ideas for business ventures) that i would start an on-line camera store, specializing in professional cameras as well as day-to-day cameras so i can get it at cost. that would bring my saving-up time down to maybe 5 years...even less if i actually earned money selling cameras, right?! okay, i realize this is probably a bad idea. and i'm sure that your brain is way more functioning than mine, so send me your ideas! just look at her...she's also lovely in silver...!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Asafoetida Woes

okay, i'm loving the Indian cooking, really I am, but seriously--does this stuff have to smell so bad? i could smell it when i walked within two feet of the cabinet where it lives (and sometimes i really do think it's some sort of living, mutating entity). so, in an attempt to salvage what's left of my olfactory nerves, i have put the bottle of asafoetida in a bag and sealed it until i need it.

By the way, have you ever thought about how we're able to smell things? Go find out!

Monday, March 17, 2008

We Met Sophiya!

Yesterday our friends April and Jason came by with their two boys and the little girl they just adopted from Ukraine. Her name is Sophiya and she is SOOOO CUTE! She fits in so perfectly with their family, it's like she'd spent the past four years waiting patiently in Ukraine for her family to come get her. I could only speak a couple of phrases to her in Ukrainian. I spoke some Russian to her as well, but I don't think she understood it. Sophiya ran around with her brother and my kids and seemed to have fun. She's just so adorable and I can tell she's a real character! I can't wait to get to know her better.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


DISCLAIMER: photos taken on cheap, crappy !#$%* camera with no filters, so excuse the technical difficulties. not that photos can capture the allure of Monterey anyway.... click on most photos to enlarge. enjoy!

i can't believe it; we finally went on vacation (it's been three looooong years)! ever since i met Todd, I've wanted to take him to the Monterey Peninsula where i was stationed in the USAF 18 years ago. when i was 19 and impressionable, this area really had an impact on me. i have to say, it's effect on me hasn't changed or lessened over the years. the beauty of the Monterey area can't be adequately described in words. when i sit and watch the waves pound over ancient, worn rock or splash up onto the banks to spray mist on the ice plants, there is just simply not a thought in my head. it's more of a feeling. i think part of my attachment to the area is that i experience it through feeling and emotion instead of processing any sort of thought or intellectual notion about it. i completely lose myself in the feeling of the place. the best part is that Todd gets it, too. i think he understands now why Arizona is killing me slowly, or at least part of why. i cried when we drove into Monterey toward the sea, but i bawled when we left. Todd, with a perplexed look on his face, pondered why people would build a $10 million house in the dirt (Arizona) when they could live in Monterey?! we've officially decided to retire to the Peninsula (probably Pacific Grove). better start mad saving!!!

Pfeiffer Beach:

my favorite beach is in Big Sur; it's called Pfeiffer Beach. it's removed from the more mainstream (if you can really even call them "mainstream") areas of the central California coast. it has beautiful purple sand, steep hills, jutting rocks, and bright ice plants. what's not to love? in the picture above are Todd, Zane and Bryce. Zane's in the purple sand! here's Allie standing in a cove:

and of course, the ice plants, with flowers the size of the palm of my hand:

something you really should experience at least once in your lifetime is watching the sun set on Carmel Beach. the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea is quaint, expensive and surreal. here are some pix from Carmel:

the lollipop gang:

my peeps kickin' it at Point Lobos:

and more of Pfeiffer Beach:

napping on Pebble Beach:

the happiest baby ever! playing near the old "peace sign" in Pacific Grove:

two cute brothers playing in the sand on Pfeiffer Beach:

Allie was totally intent on touching an anemone in a tide pool:

Allie, after further exploring the tide pools in Pacific Grove, approached me with a mischievous grin on her face and asked me if i wanted to meet "Bartholomew." she then pulled a starfish out from her pocket! nutball! i made her put it back in the water, even though she insisted it was dead. cool, but ewwwww! i wish i had taken a picture of it, but she completely caught me off guard with that one!

driving along hwy 1 between Monterey and Carmel, the grass grows tall and sways gently in the ocean breezes. wildflowers grow wherever you look; i wish i had stopped to take pictures along the roadways. i miss green. here's a picture of the valley southeast of Monterey (excuse the windshield glare!):

see the hillside sprayed with wildflowers in yellow, purple and orange? ahhhhhhhhhh...

Monday, March 3, 2008

losing weight. huh.

well, since we've incorporated Indian food into our regular meal repertoire, i've actually lost 4 lbs. huh. i'm not suggesting that Indian food is "diet" food in any way, but i love it so much that i actually eat IT rather than just handfuls of chocolate chips for breakfast, lunch and snacks. sweet!