Haven't posted on here in forever, yadda yadda yadda. Haven't felt like it...
So last night, Mike and I grabbed dinner at Panera. Had a nice chat over our meal. Went back out to get into the car and drive home. I saw a bill on the ground and picked it up, thinking, "Ooh, a dollar... NICE!"
But it wasn't $1. It was a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL!
Shaking, bill still in my hand, I got into the driver's seat. Showed it to Mike. There was nobody else in the parking lot and the parking lot we were in was only for Panera, so it had to have been a Panera customer who dropped it.
"What should I do?" I asked Mike, already knowing the answer.
"You can't keep it," he said. "You should take it in and leave it with them in case somebody comes back for it."
I sat there for a moment, turning it over and over in my hand. Thinking about the things I could buy with it. But the money wasn't mine, and even though I found it, I didn't feel it was mine to keep. If it had been a $1 or a $10 bill, I would have kept it. But $100 is the amount of money somebody might come back for, so I had to take it back into the place and leave it in case they did.
I went back inside and asked for the manager. Not that I didn't trust the person behind the counter, but somehow a manager seemed most trustworthy to me, and if I was going to do the right thing and take the money back, I wanted it to be done right. I asked if they had a lost and found. The manager said no, why, did I lose something. I said, "No, I found something." And held up the $100 bill.
The place was practically empty as it was getting close to closing time, and a number of folks who worked there saw what was going on and started commenting. "You should keep it!" multiple people said to me.
"I can't. It's not mine to keep. Besides what if somebody comes back for it!"
The manager said he didn't really have any place to safely keep it. Did I want to put it in the donation box that is bolted to the counter near the cash registers that collects money for a hunger charity? That seemed like a logical thing to do if he couldn't keep the money in case the person who lost it came back. So that is what I did.
I left there feeling great for having done that, even though the folks in the place were still telling me I should have kept it. "Major karma points for me!" I said, laughing as I left.
So I made a nice deposit in the karma bank last night.
If you found $100 in a parking lot with nobody else around, what would you do? Honestly? Do you think I did the right thing? (I think I did, but am curious to hear what others think.)
In late May, I blogged about how getting on the scale was a huge mistake. I hereby eat those words. I've been regularly weighing myself since, and I've lost almost 15 pounds since that day. (I'm at 14 lost since then.) I ran into my next-door neighbor earlier, who noticed immediately and commented on it (I hadn't seen her in a while since they had been away for much of July). I can totally fit into all of my old clothes, even the smallest pants and jeans. The few pairs of pants that didn't fit back then do fit now. I haven't been this slim since 2003.
My goal these days is to maybe lose a few more pounds. If I don't, so be it.... my original goal was to get back into my skinniest jeans, and I reached that goal a few weeks ago. Now I'm just exercising to get into better shape, not to lose weight. I've been walking a lot lately (4-5 times a week for an hour or so per outing) and feeling pretty great. It took me a year to get to this point, but I feel better for not having caved in and done all kinds of fad diets. I have changed my eating habits long-term, which is what I had hoped to do.
Within the past few months, Mike and I have been eating a lot more organic foods and staying away from anything processed (in other words, shopping the perimeter of the store -- not the inside aisles). We've gotten into the habit of going to Whole Foods as much as possible and we love it. I get excited when we go there (it's about 20 minutes away from our house).
Perhaps the biggest change we made was one that was suggested to Mike by a friend of his: eating for our blood types. Without going into too much detail (you can read a lot about it at the link I just included), we've both been following the diet for a while now (me since early June, Mike since early May). We've both noticed huge differences in our overall health and energy levels, and we've both lost weight on the diet (I attribute the last 14 pounds that came off to that diet, although I didn't go on it to lose weight -- I went on it to help my overall health).
I lost that weight without counting calories... the only thing I pay attention to is what is on my beneficial list, what is on my neutral list, and what is on my avoid list. (Obviously, I don't eat crazy huge portions, but I don't walk around hungry ever.) I have cut out virtually of my "avoid" items (although there are a few things that I am finishing up that I had in the house -- wasn't going to throw away good food). I still have to decide how much meat I want to reintroduce into my diet (I've been primarily vegetarian for about 15 years now).
I cannot recommend this way of eating highly enough. As I said, both Mike and I have noticed huge improvements in how we feel (not that either of us felt bad when we started, but I have way more energy, I sleep better, my allergies have gotten MUCH better, etc.), and his brother and some friends of his also have noticed huge improvements as well. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it work for others and experienced it myself. If you are looking to lose weight and/or deal with health problems, this might be a really, really smart thing to try. I intend to keep eating like this for the rest of my life! This isn't a fad diet and you won't feel deprived of good things (even though a number of foods I liked were on the list of things I had to "avoid," the only thing I find myself missing actively is peanut butter). Consider it a lifestyle and health-style change!
If you try it, let me know how you like it and how it has worked for you. It's one of the best decisions I've made in a long time.
Beautiful blog of mine, why do I ignore you so? It's sad, really, how much I just put you off until another day. But life's been getting in the way lately, and as the old saying goes, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Been making lots of lemonade lately. It's been keeping me very busy. Squeezing lemons takes a lot of time.
Last night's stellar concert experience, though, not only begged to be chronicled here -- it demanded it. Screamed it at me, saying in no uncertain terms, "You must blog me." So here I am. It's gonna be a long one, so... so... there.
Before I get into the good stuff, let me start by saying that I'm not a die-hard Springsteen fan. I really like his music a lot, but even though I'm a Jersey girl now later in life, I wasn't one growing up. I wasn't raised here (although I have actually lived here longer than I've lived anywhere else in my life), and I think that that often (although not always, of course) accounts for some of the rabidness his fans in NJ possess... if you are from here and you like Bruce, you don't just like Bruce... you LOVE him.
But I like his music a great deal, have come to appreciate his prowess as a songwriter, as well as the E. Street Band's glory. Sure, I'd heard everything on the radio that everyone else in the country heard growing up, so I wasn't unschooled in the Boss entirely. However, I didn't experience Bruce live until I lived here, at which point it seemed it had to be done -- to see Bruce in his own backyard. I became a believer (but not a crazy rabid fan) after some stadium and arena shows, as well as some solo Bruce adventures live.
I mention all of this as background, to set the scene. I knew that I would be attending a concert with Giants Stadium packed to the gills with die-hard fans. Even the folks up in the rafters in the nosebleed seats REALLY wanted to be there with a desire that bordered on crazy. Going to a Springsteen show in New Jersey... I can't say I've ever had such concert experiences when I've seen other bands in their hometown areas when the situations have presented themselves, except for perhaps seeing The Tragically Hip up in Canada. There's this electricity, this palpable excitement, this conviviality and focus on the music, this rush... you can feel it. It's hard to explain, really, without going off into very elusive, indescribable territory. It gets into your gut. It feels better than good. Viscerally sublime. It is Bruce. In Jersey. Those goosebumps down your arms when the music starts? Yeah, you feel it too.
Among the folks who travel these highways and byways criss-crossing the Garden State, Bruce is considered by many to be a god. I hesitate to put any musicians on a pedestal such as that one, but others have done it for me by their sheer devotion to the man. There were a stadium full of believers, ready to worship, last night.
Traffic getting there was a nightmare. We left plenty of time, and we still walked into the venue late enough as to be too close for comfort (we thought). Perhaps Bruce heard of the overturned truck that closed the Turnpike up near the stadium and pushed the showtime back accordingly... I'm not sure. The concert-goers seemed oddly content to wait. And wait we did. Bruce and the band didn't hit the stage until 9:30. And there was no opener. There was a lot of waiting going on.
We ended up, with an insane fluke of Ticketmaster luck (never to be repeated if we tried our hardest), with 8th row seats on the floor. Facing the stage, we were off to the right, but on the left side of that section, so the angle wasn't too severe. In front of us was a standing-room VIP and general admission section that wasn't very wide and butted up against some lower-level catwalks that Bruce would traverse at different times throughout the night. We also happened to be on the side where the backstage entrance was, so we were in prime star-sighting land, which also passed the time while we waited for the show to start.
The first sighting was Gary Dell'Abate, producer of The Howard Stern Show. Mike knows him, but didn't go talk to him -- perhaps preferring to let him enjoy his family outing. Shouts of his nickname "Baba Booey" were hollered when people did see him, and some folks did go up and talk to him. Then I heard someone in front of us say "Weeds." Mike and I love that show. Yes, Mary Louise Parker was there, standing right in the VIP section with her "are they on again" dude, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who many folks around us mistakenly thought was Robert Downey, Jr., they do resemble each other a bit). Standing with them and chatting with them was Tim Robbins. Off to the other side was a former American Idol contestant, Constantine Maroulis (how Mike and I recognized him puzzled both of us because we have never watched an episode of that show EVER in our lives). I took some photos for proof (of everyone except Constantine and Baba Booey - LOL):
Here is Tim Robbins:
And here is Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Mary Louise Parker:
It was almost impossible to get a photo of Mary Louise Parker, simply because people were usually in the way and I refused to walk up there to take a picture. Taking it from far away seemed fine, but I wasn't going to walk closer like other people were doing. I don't roll that way, I guess. They're there to enjoy a concert. Getting in their face to take photos or whatnot just seemed intrusive and wrong to me (although one might argue that taking photos from far away is also intrusive in another way, but I still say it's less so).
After we'd amused ourselves watching some famous folks do nothing more exciting than chat with each other, we were finally graced by the presence of Bruce and band. It was 9:30 and the place was ready to party. I couldn't even tell you all of the songs they played -- I'm not one of those people who knows all of the song titles by a long shot, although I did recognize the vast majority of the tunes. I knew they were playing long sets, but we got, and I'm not kidding here, almost 3 hours and 30 minutes of concert. They were done playing at almost 1 a.m.! Now, usually venues of any size beyond like small clubs and bars have union rules for the workers which institutes a curfew. If the band plays later than a set curfew time, they incur overtime costs for said union workers. Makes sense. Well, obviously Bruce was ready to eat a pretty hefty overtime bill (I would guess the curfew there to be 11 or 11:30), or he's so revered in these parts that he got a free pass (the latter I sincerely doubt to be the case).
It was a blur of fist-pumping, booty-shaking, chills-inducing crowd singalong goodness. Bruce was all over the stage, sweating profusely in the very hot, humid summer night (it was in the 80s even when the sun went down). I know they played Born To Run, Rosalita (the final song), Jungleland, Bobby Jean, Cadillac Ranch, Blinded By The Light, The Rising, Badlands, Radio Nowhere... tons more that my still reeling brain is forgetting (a full set list follows, compliments of Backstreets.com):
July 31 / E. Rutherford, NJ / Giants Stadium
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Prove It All Night
The Promised Land
Spirit in the Night
Light of Day
Blinded by the Light
Because the Night
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
Incident on 57th Street
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
And as per usual, I played rock photographer. I took photos of both the action on stage and the huge video screen in front of us. Not my best work, but I didn't want to do more than set my ISO and have the shutter speed be the only thing I would tweak (if I got into full manual mode, I miss too much of the show trying to get my settings right). Setting the camera on auto at a nighttime outdoor show never works in my experience. I think I got some fun stuff... See what you think:
Ever seen Bruce? What was it like? Ever seen him in Jersey?
Yes, I've been remiss in posting here. I know that. Don't feel particularly guilty about it either, so you won't be seeing any public apologies here for said lapse, no sirree, Bob. (Who IS Bob in that last sentence? I have no idea where that saying comes from, but when one says "no sirree," "Bob" always seems to follow, right?)
Been so busy with work. Been actually using my free time to do things like relax, read a book, watch TV, etc. Once one gets into the habit of actually using one's free time (albeit pretty limited, but still) for endeavors such as those, well, blogging doesn't really even OCCUR to me. I don't get these little, "Hmmmm, you should be blogging thoughts." Which made me contemplate just letting my blog go away. This line of thinking lasted maybe a week tops. But then I realized I would miss it. So it's staying. Although I'm kinda thinking I may be the only one reading this since I haven't posted in so long... Not that there's anything wrong with that...
So... busy girl, busy girl. Saw some great shows (Rush, Petty/Winwood, Eddie Izzard) and have more coming (Ricky Gervais, Styx/Boston, Bruce Springsteen [7th row, bay-bee... still don't know how we lucked into those tickets on the evil Ticketmaster, either]), Mark Knopfler... Mostly just trying to keep my head above the day job water. And stuff...
Hello, hello! Am back home after a week away... visited my parents and worked from their house while Mike took some vacation time off. We also spent a day up in Toronto while we were out that way, and it was a rather whirlwind whoosh north of the border capped off by a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Which was actually really, really cool. I didn't even try to catch up with any digi pals up that way geographically because a) we were in town for like 24 hours, and b) said 24 hours were an early anniversary getaway and the time we were spending together was meant to be just the two of us. Maybe next time we'll be up there a wee bit longer!
Working from my parents' house does have its perks -- in between work tasks, I did manage to take a jaunt or two with mom to do some shopping... As my own boss, as long as I get the work done, I do allow myself the occasional fun and frivolity during the work day. Heck, I always work through lunch, so it all evens out in the wash. Also went to the cemetery to visit my grandparents and left them a lovely geranium plant. And I didn't cry this time. I felt sad, but there were no tears. Still miss them every single day, though, and it's hard to visit that neck of the woods without feeling their absence more profoundly/deeply.
Besides that, not much else is shaking around here. Mike and I are going to see Tom Petty and Steve Winwood tomorrow night -- feels like we bought those tickets EONS ago.
And I'm a busy bee house cleaning this week as my brother and his posse are visiting this weekend. Had to put away some of the fragile items in my living room. My nephews are respectful of things and if you tell them not to touch stuff they won't, but accidents can happen, so I put anything of sentimental value that was the least bit breakable in a box out in the garage... My house is officially nephew-proofed. Can't wait to see everyone!