JBJ is always there

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You say you’ve cried a thousand riversJBJ2008
And now you’re swimming for the shore

I was thinking about this video on the way to work this morning as I sang along to I’ll Be There For You. I taped it from MTV and watched it over and over and over … when it comes to Bon Jovi videos, this one is tops for me. Probably because Jon looks so fine in the brown leather pants, the shirt unbuttoned to his navel, and that hair, oh, that glorious hair, and because I wanted someone to feel that way about me:

I’ll be the water when you get thirsty, baby
When you get drunk I’ll be the wine

Those are some of my favorite song lyrics. Even as a teetotaling 17-year-old, I loved the imagery. Someone loving you so much that he gets a high just from being with you? Back then I understood “getting drunk” as acting silly, giddy, and having fun while nursing a wine cooler. (As an adult, I’d learn more than I’d ever want to know about what it really meant. I’ll expand on that in a later post.) “Getting drunk” was something college kids and grown-ups did, not something high school me did. I just loved the metaphor. And still do.

Twenty-four years later, I could still watch the video on repeat, only now I can see Jon and his leather pants in high-def on my 42-inch flat screen. YouTube through a Blu-Ray player is an awesome invention. <clicks play>

Touchdowns and touchups

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Roll Tide A final swipe of Crimson Joy lipstick and I’m ready. I’ve been looking forward to this all week. The anticipation is killing me. I hope things turn out like I want them to. Just 10 minutes more and … Roll Tide, baby!

Watching Alabama play football is an event at my house, even if I’m watching alone. While most women get fixed up for a Saturday of shopping, I get done up for a Saturday of Alabama football. After showering, shampooing, shaving and doing my hair and makeup, I slip into my jeans and an old Bama T-shirt. Bring on the Hogs or the Vols or the Tigers. I’m ready.

(Editor’s note, this column is from 2006. A LOT has changed …)

Last Saturday I took it up a notch because my daughter’s fifth birthday party was going on during the Bama-Ole Miss game. I added eyeliner and a push-up bra to my routine. I looked good serving cake and ice cream and yelling at the TV in my crimson-and-black-striped tunic top, crop pants and flip-flops.

Most Saturdays at my house are planned around the Crimson Tide. A typical Saturday goes like this: Get up, get ready for my daughter’s soccer game, watch the 5-year-olds try to keep the ball in-bounds, grab some lunch, head home, watch a little Noggin with my girl, jump in the shower, then get my game face on for the 2:30 kickoff.

If it’s a late game, we might hit Walmart or the bookstore. If it’s an 11:30 kickoff, we skip lunch and head straight home after soccer. No matter what, we’re home in time for the game.

When my team is on TV, I’m on the couch. Distractions are few; not even a special on Jon Bon Jovi or a sale at Target can get my attention. At least, not until the game is over.

Feel free to call me during the game, but only if you’re going to keep it short–very short. Otherwise, you’ll just think I’m rude because my attention will be on the game not on our conversation. If you call to rub it in after a loss, expect the same in return when your team goes down. Turnabout is fair play, right?

Lately my daughter has joined me for the first half, shaking her crimson pom-poms and yelling “Roll Tide!” It doesn’t take long, though, before she gets bored and heads to her room to play with her dollhouse or to the bedroom to watch Animal Planet or cartoons. Maybe next year she’ll be ready to watch the whole game and ask questions like, “Mommy, why don’t we ever throw the ball on first down?”

My parents have joined me for a couple of games, but mostly it’s just me and my TV, which is fine. That way I don’t embarrass myself when I get too caught up in the game. Yes, I yell at the refs, the players and the announcers. When Bama scores I dance a little jig, and when the team makes a bad play I stomp around, muttering under my breath. What fun is it to just sit and stare at the TV? Getting all worked up is part of the game for me.

And when the game is over, a quick touch-up of Loreal’s Crimson Joy and I’m ready to hit the town, or maybe Target.

Justin Bieber is cute. My girl watching JB? Cute overload!

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Last night, Riley’s BFF’s mom and I took the girls (and BFF’s little brother) to see Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never 3D. I went into it expecting your typical cheesy Disney/Nick platitudes and overprocessed pop, and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t any of that.

It was good, and I came out a Justin Bieber fan. Seriously. The kid can sing and he seems to be a good boy. He exudes happiness on the stage, and he appears grateful for his opportunities. I particularly loved Justin’s grandparents, who helped his mom raise him. His grandfather tears up when describing the day his daughter and grandson left Ontario for the U.S. It’s touching.

The best thing about the whole night? Watching my daughter and her friend freak out over this cute little pop star. “Ohmygosh, we can touch him! Ahhhh!” they said when we got to our seats in the theater. The two of them, nodding their heads to the beat, wearing their 3D glasses was a priceless sight.

It reminded me so much of myself in my early days of discovering musicians and music. For me, it was Shaun Cassidy, then Bon Jovi and New Kids on the Block in high school up through today and Amos Lee and Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights.

My friend McLovin said it best via Twitter: Musicians. They start stealing our hearts early and never give it back. They just get new faces.

She is so right.

Rock on, baby girl! Never lose your love for the beat. 🙂

Bon Jovi 45 and other treasures

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When it comes to divorce, it’s about more than a marriage ending. It’s also about splitting up all your stuff! While we’ve taken care of everything in the house, we still need to dig through the boxes of past lives in the attic. So that’s what I was doing when I found this:

Yes. That is a 45 rpm. A record. A vinyl disc with a hole in the middle. You play it on a record player. It cost me $1.63 plus tax at Walmart, probably in 1986.

“Living on a Prayer” was in a box with two old diaries (one from high school, one from junior college), three New Kids on the Block t-shirts (two concert, one fan club), old cassette tapes and VHS videos, old letters (sadly, none about love), high school and college transcripts and other memorabilia.

One of the aforementioned cassette tapes contained some rare gems mined from Top 40 radio back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Like this:

And this:

And my theme song:

I’ve been rocking like it’s 1992 in my truck (the location of the only cassette player I have) on the way to and from work every day. Man, I love these songs … and the memories they bring … before I got serious about a boy, before responsibilities, when the possibilities of life were endless …

Then the tape stops and I’m snapped back to reality. But only until it flips to the other side and I hear this (Dude? Cornrows? Really? SMH):

And this:

Peace out, y’all!

Hard times, good tunes

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Everyone has hard times. And when they come, music can help you feel the pain and then find a way through it.

Today I’m doing Breakup Songs. What are your picks? Next, I’ll do Get Over It Songs, then maybe Makeup Songs.

Happy Birthday to Jon Bon Jovi

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JBJ as seen through my 12x optical zoom lens and the big screen.

Today is my rock star fantasy’s birthday: JBJ is 48 and still rockin’.

Here’s a bit about how this love affair started:

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My journey into infatuation started in the mid-1980s. I was about 14 and just getting into MTV. Long hair, tight leather pants and ripped shirts were all the rage. And I’m not talking about the ladies.

One band surpassed all others in every way…music, looks, number of cans of Aqua Net … Bon Jovi was the baddest, the coolest and the hottest. To use the slang of the day, lead singer Jon was fine. And I was hooked.

As a teenager, I didn’t have the means to buy the albums or go to the concerts. I started my collection by obsessively listening to the Top 40 countdown shows on the radio, tape recorder at the ready. “Casey, would you stop talking over the intro!” I wore those cassettes out, playing “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Bad Medicine” over and over and over.

I taped their videos, their appearances, anything I saw. I have no idea where those tapes are now, but I wish I could find them.

Yes, I changed the words to “I was born to your baby, you were born to be my man.” Yes, I imagined getting backstage and meeting Jon. (Get your minds out of the gutter – he was always a perfect gentleman. And back then I wasn’t as well educated as the kids are now.) Yes, I begged my mom to let me go to their concert in Huntsville just before I turned 16 … no dice.

Fifteen years later, just as I was about to turn 30, part of my fantasy was fulfilled. I was in the same building as Jon. Oh, my gosh … finally I got to see my Jersey boys in all their glory! And I was not disappointed.

It was like going back to high school…I felt like a schoolgirl, screaming and dancing and singing every song. Even my husband enjoyed the show. Or maybe he just enjoyed seeing me so happy.

**************
I’ve seen Bon Jovi twice more since then, and unless I hit the jackpot, I doubt I’ll see them in April in Nashville. Ticket prices continue to climb, and I can’t justify $150 for a ticket stuck in the middle of an arena, where I can barely even see Jon, where my camera batteries will die five minutes into the show because I’m so far back I have to use the flash, where my photos will come out grainy because I have to shoot the big screen in order to even see Jon’s face, plus finding someone who can afford to go with me … and so on.

They’re pricing fans out of their shows, and it’s unfortunate. Even being a fan club member got me no perks … unless you consider $1,500 for a front-row ticket a perk. Sure it’d be a priceless experience, but sometimes the price is just too high.

The ever-increasing cost of seeing my favorite band live tends to dampen my love a bit. It’s disappointing that longtime fans have to spend so much money just to get decent seats. Meanwhile, bands and brokers and promoters are raking in the dough. It’s frustrating and unfair.

At least I’ll always have my fantasies. 🙂

Bon Jovi in Nashville, 2008.

Music from an ’80s girls perspective …

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I’m sitting here watching the AMAs. Right now, Eminem is performing, but I don’t know what he’s talking about. Lots of words being bleeped. So far I’m pretty unimpressed with the whole show. Oh, look it’s 50 Cent in a puffy vest and toboggan. Most of his words are being bleeped, too.

I like Kelly Clarkson and Mary J. Blige, and I was pleasantly surprised that Whitney Houston actually sang. Which is more than can be said for Jennifer Lopez, who didn’t sing but did fall on her bodacious booty. As one Twitterer said, “She fell and the springs in her booty bounced her back up.” I like JLo, but it was still funny.

Also, why can’t they just call Green Day rock? It’s not alternative … it’s rock ‘n’ roll. This subcategorization is getting a little crazy. But I really liked Green Day’s “21 Guns”!

And why don’t these millionaire singers and actors dress better? Lady Gaga I get. That’s her thing. But Fergie? Alicia Keyes? Rihanna? They are beautiful women, but they wear ugly clothes.

Look! There’s Chris Daughtry! He sounded good early in the show, and so did Joey, his drummer. I also enjoyed Keith Urban’s performance.

Maybe I’m just old. I don’t care. I like what I like. And don’t like what I don’t like.

Surprise, surprise. Jay-Z won rap/hip-hop. He’s a smart businessman. “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t,” he said.

Apparently, Adam Lambert’s performance is the be-all, end-all show closer. I can’t believe how popular he is … I don’t like or dislike him. We’ll see if that changes in the next few minutes.

We just put Riley to bed because we’re not exactly sure what this last performance will be like!

Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift.

Adam did nothing for me. Gratuitous bisexual posing, groping, kissing and lots of screaming. It was like he was trying really hard to prove he’s gay and “if you don’t like it, too bad.” I didn’t catch the song for all the “performing.” Oh, and he fell down, too, so JLo is not alone in falling down on the job.

I miss ’80s acts like Bon Jovi, Poison, New Edition, Culture Club …

What did you think?

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

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Whoever said it lied! Ryan, Riley and I are back home with my parents. Which means our house finally sold! Hooray!

Never fear, we’re just here until we find another house. We probably won’t be here past the first of the year. It’s not bad–we have two rooms to ourselves; unfortunately, neither is a bathroom. 🙂 We’ve learned to take turns.

During our 2-block move, Riley had tonsillitis, a sinus infection and a bit of bronchitis, which meant 2 antibiotics, an oral steroid and cough syrup. She was a trouper, though. Ryan’s mom was also here for Riley’s 4th birthday. It was a big slumber party. Everyone enjoyed the cozy atmosphere.

Riley went back to school today for the first time in 2 weeks, and she wasn’t happy when I left. However, the traveling pumpkin patch came to school, so she brightened up when she found out she could paint a pumpkin.

My days are brightened by the fact that I have my tickets to Bon Jovi’s Nashville show in February. Woohoo! Talk about a fun girls night out. I have two girlfriends ready to go…Ryan is on standby if No. 3 can’t make it. But who’d want to miss it??!

Speaking of Bon Jovi, check out the new album “Have a Nice Day.” My post title is also the title of one of the band’s new songs. Fitting, huh? Another that fits our situation is “Welcome to Wherever You Are” with the line “Right here, right now, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

Later…

100 Things

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Updated Nov. 15, 2007

1. I’m a writer in a copy editor’s job.
2. I have a widow’s peak.
3. I never thought I’d get married.
4. I did.
5. We celebrated 10 years June 17. (12 years in 2007)
6. I have a wonderful 3-year-old daughter. (She’s now 6!)
7. I married a smart jock.
8. I have had several nicknames–Amazon, Manute, Long Tall Sally …
9. I’m 5’9.
10. I have scarred knees–sports, car wreck.
11. I like my freckles.
12. I majored in Journalism. Univ. of North Alabama
13. I was voted Best School Spirit as senior in high school.
14. I introduced myself to my husband.
15. I like it hot.
16. The weather, that is.
17. Fave meal: pinto beans, cornbread, fried taters, sweet tea.
18. I’m proud to be from the South.
19. I’m not proud of a lot of its past.
20. I thought I’d be a semi-famous writer living in NYC.
21. Well, at least I visited. Saw “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, and Hulk Hogan at Hard Rock.
22. My hometown has less than 2000 people.
23. Richard Marx was my first concert.
24. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers was most recent. Update: Daughtry and Velcro Pygmies were my last.
25. I wish I’d sneaked out to go to a Bon Jovi concert when I was 15.
26. I finally got to see them 15 years later. It’s My Life
27. I’ve won a couple journalism awards.
28. I love ’80s music.
29. And oldies.
30. And Harry Connick Jr.
31. And some of today’s artists … Gavin DeGraw, Daughtry, The Killers.
32. I wish I’d kept writing. (I’m writing again … and getting paid to do it.)
33. I’m a Body for Lifer. BFL
34. I wish I could sing.
35. Or play guitar.
36. I love to dance.
37. And sing in my car.
38. Fave movies: “Grease,” “Dirty Dancing,” “The Outsiders.”
39. Disney movies: “Mulan,” “Pocahontas.”
40. I wanted to be a rock star…See # 34.
41. I have 2 crooked toes.
42. I win at Pictionary and Trival Pursuit.
43. I suck at Scrabble.
44. I love Bon Jovi.
45. And Elvis.
46. Fave books: “Traveling Mercies” (Anne Lamott), “I Don’t Know How She Does It” (Allison Pearson), “If You Want to Write (Brenda Ueland)
47. First book I read for pleasure: “Chad and the Elephant Engine” (gift from 2nd-grade teacher)
48. Longest book: “Gone with the Wind,” 1024 pages, Christmas break in sophomore year of high school.
49. Most recent books: “Same Sweet Girls,” “gods in Alabama.” Faster Than Kudzu “2nd Chance” by James Patterson, “Writer Mama” by Christina Katz, “The Department of the Lost and Found” by Allison Winn Scotch.
50. First car: 1987 Honda Accord stick shift
51. First car I ever drove: orange 1964 Ford Falcon
52. Car wrecks: 2; Me Driving: 1; My fault: 0
53. I like to take pictures.
54. I was MVP of my high school volleyball team.
55. And valedictorian of the Class of 1990.
56. I regret not taking that scholarship to UA.
57. But I enjoyed playing softball in junior college.
58. Because it was 2 years’ of free education.
59. Brett Favre is my favorite athlete.
60. I’ve read the whole Bible.
61. I’ve never broken a bone–knock on wood.
62. I loved Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves when I was growing up.
63. I wish we lived at the beach.
64. My daughter is deaf.
65. But she can hear with her cochlear implants. She got her second in April 2007.
66. We go to auditory-verbal therapy once a week.
67. We do at-home therapy every day.
68. Hearing her say “Mommy” and “Papa” and “love you” for the first time was overwhelming.
69. New words are coming every day.
70. She’s fearless.
71. I love flip-flops.
72. I hate sticker grass…ouch!
73. I tried out for cheerleader in high school.
74. Didn’t make it.
75. Thank God!
76. My first beer was in college: Natural Light
77. My most recent was three weeks ago … Corona. (Still most recent.)
78. I had a hangover after just two.
79. My daughter loves Dora.
80. I like “Backyardigans.”
81. Hubby likes “Recess.”
82. Worst movie: “Rocky V.”
83. I’m contemplating a tattoo.
84. So is my mom.
85. My hubby and my brother have two.
86. My dad got his while in the Army.
87. My mom is the kindest person I know.
88. And one of my best friends.
89. Juco English Comp teacher gave me confidence in my writing.
90. I’ve misplaced it, though. (Now, I’ve found it again.)
91. Farthest North I’ve ever been: NYC
92. Farthest South: Captiva Island, Florida
93. Farthest East: NYC
94. Farthest West: Hutchinson, Kansas
95. I have shot a gun. Once. Scary.
96. I’m big on family gatherings.
97. I love Jack’s hamburgers & fries, chocolate ice cream, Hershey bars, Milky Ways.
98. I’m just a small-town girl.
99. I like who I am now, but …
100. It’s never too late to be what I might have been.