St. Pat’s Adventure

March 19, 2007

Last year for St. Patrick’s day, I took my then 11 year old cousin Steve to see if we could vicariously experience the Flogging Molly concert at the Mesa Ampitheatre.We planned to sit on the grass and listen and be chased around by secuirty guards. Instead we ended up watching Flogging Molly perform from the top of the conference center for the hotel, after being snuck in by some strange guy and his buddies.
This year (and not on St. Pat’s, but Sunday night, as Staurday turned out to be insanely crowded at the concert), as I am 8 months pregnant, we decided to take Luke’s truck, some blankets and a picnic dinner and listen to the concert from the parking lot – slightly closer to the action and with the added benefit of being public parking so we couldn’t be chased off!
Steve and I were bummed that Luke wasn’t feeling well and didn’t come with us but we loaded up the truck and headed to the concert. It was much less crowded (adding credence to Steve and my mad skills regarding concert attendance guestimates) and we found a spot close enough to hear the music, enjoy the sunset, and eat out dinner.
Saturday when we attempted to crash the concert, Steve had bothered some security gaurds to sneak him in. Much to his chagrin they refused and he was left to skateboard on the outskirts. Last night, after finishing dinner, he grabbed his board and said:
“I’m going to see if those security guys remember me and let me in”
Feeling secure in my knowledge (no security guard ever let ME in when I was trying to sneak into concerts in junior high!) I told him to go ahead and settled back for a nice concert.
About 10 minutes later he comes running back: “THe security guy said he’d let me in if I left my skateboard here!”
“What? no he didn’t”
“he did! I’m gettin’ in!”
“Steve if you get fucked up in there your mother will kill me, don’t even”
“I’ll be fine” This last bit was yelled over his shoulder as he sped off.
Still feeling secure (if irritated that a security guard would mess around with a little kid) I didn’t yell for him to come back. Iย  was sure that he would come stomping back, fumung after a jerk security guy told him he was kidding around.
10 minutes passed.
I realized that he hadn’t returned. My jaw fell open.
He actually got in.
Feeling slightly panicked I called his sister first: “um, your mom is going to kill me. I let Steve go into the concert by himself. I didn’t think it would actually work. Call me back”
I called Luke: “I don’t think I should be raising a child. I just sent a 12 year old into a punk show by himself. It’s very possible he’ll be killed.” (Luke found this all wildly amusing by the way)
I called whomever I thought would be in town to help me figure out a way to track him down inside the concert. Paul didn’t answer. Mollie didn’t answer. My cousin Ben didn’t answer.
Steve’s sister Natalie called me back: “He actually got in by himself! Holy crap!”
“Natty! Your mom is RIGHT THERE! She’s not supposed to know!”
“ooops”
“Okay, whatever, just come down here and help me figure out how to retrieve him”
“we’re on our way!”
Mostly I wanted to track him down because 12 years old isn’t the ideal age to attend a punk show by yourself, he had no cell phone and no money and there were upwards of 3000 people at the Ampitheatre. It was alightly alarming.
Natalie and her mom arrived, both cool as cucumbers, Natty was certain she could get us into the concert without having to buy a ticket. I was sure we’d have to wait it out by the truck and just wait for him to come back after it was over.
We had no idea if he’d ACTUALLY gotten in or was just canvassing any security gaurd he could find around the perimeter.
So Natty and I went to work. We chatted with security gaurds, asked at will call and racked our brains. We found out that indeed a little kid HAD gotten into the concert although it “was not authorized”and so were reassured that he was in the midst of all the folks.
As I talked to my aunt on the phone again, Natalie had the brilliant idea of asking the guys at the Edge booth for tickets. She told them our predicament and asked if there was anything to do. Once again I rolled my eyes, sure. they’ll just hand you the free tickets for this huge show.
And what do you know they did. Out of their bag came two tickets. General admission.
And once again my jaw dropped open.
I called Luke: “um, babe, I’m going into the concert. We got tickets from the radio station.”
“Have fun!” he was still wildly amused.
So the pregnant lady and the absolutely opposite of punk looking 18 year old walked up to the security gates to get into the concert to look for the errant 12 year old.
When we got in I was struck by how much I didn’t actually want to be there. Any other time I would have been thrilled but being pregnant at a punk show is not the best of situations. I didn’t want to be around the cigartte smoke, I didn’t want to get a contact high from the thick layer of weed smoke, I couldn’t sit on the grass for very long without my insufficiently padded rear getting sore, I was worried that the deafeningly loud music would somehow make my wee child retarded.
Although, all of that aside, it was pretty cool to get in. And Authority Zero was fabulous. As was Flogging Molly. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Natty and I wove our way through the crowds of people, we sang along with the band, and generally kept our eyes peeled. I knew if we didn’t find him by the time Flogging Molly started we would just have to enjoy the free concert and meet him at the truck later.
As the last band finished, we split up and began asking folks in the pit if they’d seen a 12 year old galivanting. Natty gave out her phone number to half of Mesa and a whole bevy of girls asked to touch my belly, being tickled to see a pregnant lady at a show.
Just before FLogging Molly took the stage my phone rang: “I found him! I found him. I found him!”
“Don’t move. Don’ t move a muscle. I’m coming to you. Marco”
“Polo”
“Marco”
“polo…I see you! Look up!”
Turns out the security gaurd told Steve to hide out up at the top of the Ampitheatre and stay out of sight. Much to Steve’s credit he did as he was told and only gazed longingly at the pit where giant men crashed into one another to the dulcet tones of Authority Zero. He stayed put at the top of the ampitheatre and enjoyed seeing the show.
After calling my aunt and assuring her he was intact, we decided to stay and enjoy the concert.
We left early because I’m a party pooper but got to hear at least one of their big songs. I took some pictures on my cell phone (T-Mobile hates me currently and I can’t send them to my Flickr account but I’ll upload them later), I let Steve venture to the edge of the craziness with his sister (she hung on to the back of his shirt and he jumped around like a loony), and wished very much that I could knock back beer.
The show was great, a little loud (does that mean I’m to old? Or just that my sensitive pregnancy hearing was on overdrive?), and I could have done without the copious amounts of smoke but I sang along with the songs I knew and danced on the grass with everyone else.
Overall, it was another fabulous random St. Patricks Day adventure (albeit one day late) and it has set the stage for tradition. As long as Flogging Molly plays the Ampitheatre for St. Pat’s, Steve and I will be there seeing the show for free somehow. Maybe next year we’ll even manage to get backstage. You should come, Steve and I have mad random adventure skilz.
๐Ÿ˜‰

Collide

February 23, 2007

Today is my birthday. One of my favorite days of the year…
Today I have been ruminating on a lot of things, having been up since 7:30 or so (cut me some slack, since I started my 9-5 I can’t sleep past 8:30 usually, birthday or no)
mostly the ups and downs of my life over the last 25 years. The important things I’ve learned:

-Trust your gut.
-Always make sure people know how amazing you think they are
-Take risks
-Find one thing every day to be joyful about
-Learn to cook well
-Be flexible
-Take nothing for granted
-Nothing is what it seems, or what you plan, or sometimes even what you hope…

This last one the most simultaneously painful and joyful lesson I have ever learned. The essence of it is that elements of our lives are whizzing by us at an incredible rate and every so often we get lucky enough for 2 or 3 things to collide at just the right moment and create something astoundingly beautiful. Sometimes these collisions result in a life changing, painful, blinding explosion but if we try and control that process, we might end up mising the best thing to ever happen to us.

So today, this day of my birth, I am taking the whole day to be grateful for all those little collisions that led me here. And for all the people who helped me survive through them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times.

"The dawn is breaking

A light shining through

You're barely waking

And I'm tangled up in you

YeahI'm open, you're closed

Where I follow, you'll go

I worry I won't see your face

Light up again

Even the best fall down sometimes

Even the wrong words seem to rhyme

Out of the doubt that fills my mind

I somehow find

You and I collide

I'm quiet you know

You make a first impression

I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to ryhme
Out of the doubt that fills your mind
You finally find
You and I collide You finally find You and I collide You finally find" -Howie Day, Collide.

History

January 15, 2007

My mother handed me a piece of paper.

On it, in a familiar hand, that I hadn’t seen in a while was a prayer in Spanish.

It was the prayer my Nana said over me the day I turned 15.

I grew up inย a household divided. My mother being fiercely Mexican and my father looking so very white. I inherited my fathers skin tone and my mothers eyes. I learned how to make tortillas and menudo when I was 10. I understood Spanish from childhood. My mothers cousins children called my “El Casper”…

When I was 14 my parents asked if I wanted to have a Quinceanera. I decided that it was something I wanted and we planned a day that mixed Mexican tradition with my feminist upbringing. My grandmother and my Nana said prayers over me both invoking the Virgin. It was a great party. ๐Ÿ™‚

4 years ago my Nana had a severe stroke that left her unable to communicate, unable to write, it limited her movement and she wasn’t able to stay by herself. Every Friday night (when I wasn’t doing a show) for 3 years from 5:30 until 9:30 I was at her house, making her dinner, talking with her in her limited vocabulary (mostly a mix of nonsense and Spanglish), watching romantic comedies with her.

She died in April. I was in her kitchen. She looked at the statue of La Virgen as she stopped breathing.

I sat there, weeping,ย  as I read the prayer that she wrote for me. A prayer about family and faith. She ended it the way Catholics have done for centuries “en el nombre del padre, del hijo y del espiritu santo…” but then she took my face in her hands and said “y que la virgen maria te acompane siempre…Amen”

I don’t miss being a Catholic. I miss my Nana so tangibly that it is hard to breathe sometimes. But today something transcended those feelings….

I wish I had words for it. But it’s been a bit of a mixed bag today. I’ll let you know when I figure it out…